Dorr Township receives $415,000 in ARPA funds

Dorr Township has received $415,000 in American Rescue Plan Act federal funds, and now the task ahead will be how to spend the money.

Township Treasurer Myrna Marr said the amount received is slightly under half the total amount Dorr will receive over the next two years, in the Biden Administration’s attempt to help local municipalities deal with budget shortfalls because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amanda Winters, a member of the Dorr Township Parks and Recreation Commission, told Township Board members they have an idea about how the funds could be spent — on a new volleyball and basketball court at North  Park on 142nd Avenue.

Winters also said some investment in the River 2 River trails project might be beneficial because it could be tied somehow to state grants. She pointed out that non-motorized trails could be connected north-south from Traverse City to the southern border with Indiana, but Allegan County remains as the “biggest gap” for connecting such public arteries in Michigan.

Winters said a Christmas in the Park celebration will get under way at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at North Park.

She also noted the Parks Board is looking for another member because John Riley resigned. Current members are herself, Linda Stephan, Terri Rios and Michael Grafton,

In other business Thursday evening, the Township Board:

• Rejected a last-minute proposal from Trustee John Tuinstra to add an agenda item on the continuing issue of a budget shortfall that appears to have been the result of someone hacking the township’s bank account.

Local police are investigating the matter, in which about $8,250 was found missing in bank statements, but no progress has been made yet in determining who did the hack. The matter was brought up a couple of months ago by Trustee Chandler Stanton, who was critical of the treasurer’s office for not catching the discrepancy. The amount has been reduced to around $4,000 because United Bank picked up some of the loss.

But the issue apparently remains, as Clerk Debbie Sewers spearheaded a requirement that Treasurer Myrna Marr provide cash reconciliation information to the board each month before its meetings. Marr told colleagues she is scheduled to meet with the auditor Nov. 29.

• Agreed to meet at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month except November throughout 2022.

• Learned from Fire Chief Gary Fordham that the department already has responded to 52 more calls than the record-setting year of 2020. He said volunteer public safety departments are suffering catastrophic staffing issues in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Fordham also announced that he is stepping down as a Dorr Township representative on the Wayland Area Emergency Services Board, leaving only Penny Post.

Supervisor Jeff Miling suggested making the job more attractive by offering a $50 per meeting stipend.

• Approved a pay raise for maintenance employee Jay Ellen, from $14 to $15.25 per hour.

• Noted Dorr and Leighton Township will share the cost of a new 2021 Ford Interceptor police car, which cost $37,016.

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