Oscoda Township Supervisor Aaron Weed, right, and Clerk John Nordeen are seen here during a recent board meeting where a myriad of topics were discussed, including policy revisions.

OSCODA – A recent meeting of the Oscoda Township Board of Trustees had officials diving into the topic of policies, among other business.

They first addressed the township’s Policy Standards Policy, which has been revised by Clerk John Nordeen and other members of the policy subcommittee. As outlined in the document, the intent is to address the process for developing, issuing and maintaining all township policies.

Further, it is designed to ensure that officials, staff and citizens have ready access to well-developed and understandable policies. An official “Policies” section will also be maintained on the township website, at https://oscodatwpmi.documents-on-demand.com, with the most current approved version of all policies.

Superintendent Dave Schaeffer said the Policy Standards Policy is the result of the first two policy subcommittee meetings thus far, and requires township board approval. This was granted by officials at their Oct. 14 meeting.

In related matters, they also approved a proposal from Miller Canfield to rewrite the township’s personnel policy manual/employee handbook, in an amount not to exceed $3,500.

Eight law firms were solicited to provide quotes, with the township only receiving pricing back from Miller Canfield.

Schaeffer pointed out that the concept of redoing these documents is another product of the policy subcommittee. 

In separate action, trustees voted to pay $2,525 to Northern Truck Repair of Oscoda, for work on the township’s vactor truck. The cost of the tank repair will be paid for via the sewer fund.

Schaeffer noted that an all-day, on site vactor truck training session had been scheduled the following day, for both township Department of Public Works (DPW) staff, and those from Fleis & VandenBrink (F&V).

“The fact that there’s a training day for the DPW and F&V – should I pick up from that that there was some misuse of the vactor truck that led to these repairs?” asked Trustee Jim Baier.

Schaeffer said he thinks there was a difference in the concept of the appropriate use in certain situations, with varying thoughts on how much water to utilize.

He said staff wants to be able to bring somebody in who provides this training professionally, and both the DPW and F&V will be able to hear it at the same time, as far as what to do and when.

Schaeffer said this will also be followed up by standard operating procedures into the future.

“This truck has cost us quite a bit in repairs, hasn’t it?” Baier observed.

“Consistently,” Schaeffer agreed. “Anything with hydraulics.”

Supervisor Aaron Weed added that, with the number of motors and components involved in such a vehicle, it is common for vactor trucks to have maintenance issues.

Baier said he heard the latest repairs may be the result of someone using the truck when he or she didn’t know what they were doing.

Weed said this is what the training is supposed to accomplish, so that everybody is on the same page with exactly how to use the vehicle in particular situations.

Baier then asked who uses the vactor truck, beyond the DPW and F&V, saying he gathers that it moves around.

“So the main user is F&V, to do both water and sewer,” Schaeffer said. “I am not aware of other municipalities using the vactor truck, but I believe we have historically helped out, say, AuSable Township, if there was an emergency.”

“And we would operate it?” Baier asked.

“AuSable Township would,” Schaeffer said.

Baier asked if AuSable representatives, then, were invited to the vactor truck training, which Schaeffer answered they were not.

Baier questioned why, also asking about the frequency with which the vehicle is used by AuSable Township.

“I am not aware of them using it since I’ve been here,” said Schaeffer.

Trustee Timothy Cummings said that, considering what officials are learning from this experience, maybe the township shouldn’t loan the truck out to people who aren’t trained. If emergency assistance is needed in another community, his opinion is that someone from Oscoda, who is trained, should operate the truck.

Baier said the township needs the vehicle, so he moved that trustees pay the $2,525 invoice, which they approved.

In separate business, they also approved partial payment No. 2 to John Henry Excavating, in the amount of $21,750. This is for the water hook-ups completed as part of Phase I of the township’s water main extension project.

Nordeen asked if Phase I was considered complete, to which Weed said, “With the exception of Rose Lane.”

“I would just like to comment what a nice job John Henry did on this, and in a timely manner,” said Trustee William Palmer.

He shared that he drove by the project site recently, and couldn’t even tell there had been any construction there. “They did a very nice job. All the residents are very happy.”

In other action, officials approved a $3,500 expenditure to bring Bonfire Software to Old Orchard Park (OOP).

According to Schaeffer, the software will increase operational efficiency at OOP by getting the reservations system to the point of online capability. It can be customized by OOP staff on the township’s network, so it can be implemented once the Internet connection is established by ATI.

He explained that OOP will be able to take credit card payments via tablets at individual campsites, instead of all campers coming into the office to make payments.

Cummings said he is happy to see this purchase finally happening, because OOP is one of the few campgrounds in the state which doesn’t yet have an online reservation system.

In separate business, trustees approved a land division application, as submitted by Central Michigan Railway Company. The vacant parcel is being sold to the adjacent property owners at 201 Ottawa St.

“And the purpose of this division is to sell a .25-acre parcel to the owner of Lot 19, Hull Island Subdivision,” Schaeffer said. “And, as usual, this application has been reviewed and signed by township representatives in the zoning, water and sewer, treasurer and assessing offices.”