Letters to the Editor

Reasons for raises don’t ring true for reader 

Dear Editor,
The Independence Township Board’s recent decision to give themselves pay raises clearly shows taxpayers where their priorities are, with themselves.
The treasurer and the clerk admitted that much when voting for their own salary increases at the April 5 board meeting. Unfortunately no one is running against any of those who will benefit from this salary increase.
Only in government can a person do their own “job evaluation” and then vote to increase their salary based upon their self “evaluation.”
Even though doing so was made “legal” by the very politicians who benefit from a policy that allows them to vote pay raises for themselves, real public servants would be bothered by the ethics of doing so. Not in Independence Township.
Nope, not a single officer that benefited from this salary increase vote thought twice about voting for their own pay increase, they were all just happy to be “fixing” what they claimed “has been broken for a long time.”
It’s laughable to hear the Independence Township clerk and the treasurer claiming “we’re not increasing our salaries” and “if we don’t run next year and don’t have protocol in place to protect these positions, then we’re not doing our jobs.” All said while they know that only they are “running next year” because they are running unopposed. So much for “doing this for the next person elected,” eh? Just who do they think they’ve fooled? Certainly not these taxpayers!
And lest we forget these salary increases are coming from the same elected officers who supported the recent 81 percent library tax increase proposal they claimed the library “had to have or they would be forced to close.”
They conveniently forgot to mention before that vote that they “had to have” their salaries “fixed” to save the township from incompetent individuals being attracted to their low paying jobs. The Independence Township board has proven when someone else’s money is involved, it doesn’t take long for a “public servant” to turn into a “politician.”
Michael and Lori Powell
Independence Township


Reader says pipeline plan insufficient for Encore

Dear Editor,
A 57-year-old petroleum pipeline owned by Buckeye Partners, L.P. runs through Independence Township where significant mass grading and site development work has just been approved by the Independence Township Board by a 4-2 vote to accommodate 92 rental units, Encore at Deerhill Villas (“Fourth time’s a charm for Deerhill project,” March 2).
Clearcutting and mass grading will start soon on this 26-acre site at the northeast corner of Dixie Highway and Deerhill Drive. A group of concerned citizens have continued to voice our concerns about it.
The fourth consent judgment representing the contract between Independence Township and developer Deerhill Properties, LLC, is woefully lacking in any protection for the Clarkston community should a catastrophic failure occur to the Buckeye Pipeline as the direct or consequential result of development of this 26-acre site. We understand Buckeye has approved the developer’s plans for this site but what is missing or woefully insufficient in the content of the fourth consent judgement as it pertains to the environmental and safety risks associated with developing this site is:
• Liability insurance in the aggregate amount of $7 million general liability and $3 million in pollution liability the fourth consent judgement would require from the developer appears to us to be woefully insufficient, at least when you consider that the cleanup expense from the Enbridge spill near Marshall Michigan is at or over $1 billion dollars and after three years is still climbing.
Should a breach of this pipeline occur during, or as a consequence of, the construction phase of this project, it is most certain that costs to address the environmental impact alone would exceed the liability insurance cap required by Independence Township officials who voted to approve this project. Since Buckeye Partners, L.P. would not be the liable party, the likely scenario would then be the developer walking away from the project leaving the cost for cleanup, long term mitigation and remediation of environmental damage as an Independence Township and Oakland County expense, or leaving the expense to us.
• Then, we see no Catastrophic Response Plan outlined in the fourth consent judgment as to how the developer, township or Buckeye intend to manage a breach in the Buckeye Pipeline, if it should occur, in order to minimize the almost certain and devastating safety and environmental impact to Deer Lake and our surrounding area.
It is obvious to us that only the two Independence Township Board members who voted “no” with respect to approving the fourth consent judgment and the final site plans for the Encore At Deerhill Villas development really listened to and took into consideration this Buckeye Pipeline concern. The other legitimate concerns represented by the voice of those Independence Township residents and constituents who have been in front of the Township Board many times over the past two years providing constructive input.
Robert White
Independence Township

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