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PT receives grant for sewer work

April 14, 2009

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP - Portage Township has received a 75 percent U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to install a sewer line in Dakota Heights, Supervisor Bill Bingham announced at the board meeting Monday night.

"The money will be available in 90 days, then you have up to a year to use the funds," he said.

After the meeting, Bingham said the project will cost approximately $1 million, with the grant covering $724,000.

"There's the possibility it could start this fall," he said. "It won't be a long project, we're probably talking eight to 10 blocks of sewer line."

During the meeting, the board also approved posting a job for a maintenance supervisor/lead worker on the bulletin board at the township office and in The Daily Mining Gazette, pending review of the job description by board members. Currently, the three-member maintenance department does not have a supervisor. The board hopes to find someone that can manage people and has experience working with engineering firms, the public, heavy equipment and water lines, Bingham said.

Bingham said with upcoming township projects, the position could be helpful.

"We're looking down the road in the future basically and just looking for a lead person to coordinate all those activities and report to the supervisor," he said this morning. "It's not a concrete thing, we're just looking what's available out there."

At the meeting, the board also approved formalizing an offer to purchase a lot near the Hurontown Fire Hall for $30,500 and splitting the closing costs evenly with the landowner. The township plans to use the land for parking during voting and fire emergencies.

Bingham also told the board that it was recently brought to light that Kmart owns 6.44 acres of land near the Copper Country Mall that includes 50 to 60 feet of the former Kmart store (most recently Steve and Barry's), part of the back parking lot and some wooded area.

"That is going up for sale," Bingham said.

Bingham said the area is landlocked and the only way to access it is either through the mall parking lot or by making a road through Portage Township's parking lot. He said Developers Diversified Realty Corporation in Ohio, which owns the mall, does not want to buy the property. He said the situation will be "be a can of worms" and that he was not sure how it came to be.

"Kmart probably thought they were going to be there forever," he said.

In other action, the board:

denied a request from a student's mother to postpone payment of two $25 December parking tickets. The mother hoped her son could pay the tickets with earnings from a summer job.

set a flat rate for the supervisor's mileage at $150 a month, with mileage submitted every two months and to be reviewed at the end of December and recalculated for 2010.

made the IRS mileage guidelines the going rate for township mileage payment effective April 1. Currently the IRS rate is 55 cents a mile.

heard from Bingham that a water line leak in Dakota Heights is being fixed today. It is leaking 60,000 gallons a day. A similar-sized leak on Green Acres Road was recently fixed as well, he said.

Layla Aslani can be reached at laslani



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