Welcome to the electronic newsletter from
Grand Haven Charter Township!

Stay informed on what is happening in the township. This newsletter will deliver up-to-date information including upcoming meetings, development news, township services and more!

You can always find more information on our website or Facebook.
Board Scheduled Parks Bond Election
The Township Board approved a Parks Bond election for Tuesday, May 9th.  

The proposed $6.14 million bond will be used for (1) the development of the proposed Schmidt Heritage Park – including pickleball courts, sports fields, restroom facilities and parking (i.e., $5.16 million); (2) $575k for a Township match of a state grant for the development of the Witteveen Farm property along 168th Avenue; (3) $85k for a Township match of a state grant for the acquisition of the Bethig property along Groesbeck Street; and, (4) $180k match of a federal grant for the restoration of the Pottawattomie Park waterfront.
In addition, $750k of designated General Fund monies (i.e., monies that the Township Board has reserved for Park projects) will be used to address any cost overages and/or change orders that the Board determines appropriate. 

The annual estimated principal and interest for a $6.14 million bond at an interest rate of about 2.75% for a 20-year term would start at $335k per year. This equates to about 0.4 mills at the beginning of the bond with an average of 0.36 mills over the term of the bond (i.e., 36 cents per $1,000 of Taxable Value).

Bottom Line – even with voter approval of the proposed Parks′ bond, the Township’s financial position will remain “strong” with the Township′s total general obligation debt being only $10.18 million at the end of 2021 (i.e., $6.14 million for parks and $4.04 million for pathways). This is merely 8.5% of the $120+ million in general obligation debt that the Township is authorized to issue under the State constitution.

If approved by the voters, the park projects and improvements would be constructed in fiscal year 2022.
Christmas Tree Drop Off
The drop-off program for Christmas trees will continue through January 24th. 
Remote Work and COVID-19 Precautions
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because of an Emergency Rule from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) regarding remote work (i.e., the employer shall create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that the work activities can feasibly be completed remotely), the Township implemented certain workplace modifications that are intended to (1) limit physical contact with the public; (2) curtail physical contact among staff; and, (3) comply with the directive from MIOSHA.

More specifically, in order to reduce the potential for community spread of COVID-19, the following changes have been implemented by the Township:

  • The Township Lobby is closed to the public with all payments, permits and other activities completed remotely (e.g., mail, drop box, electronic payments, etc.).
  • Fourteen (14) employees in the Township Administrative Building are working remotely – at least on a partial basis.
  • The Public Services Department implemented stricter COVID-19 procedures – including no longer going into residential homes, except for emergency situations.
  • The Fire/Rescue Department re-evaluated their COVID-19 procedures and added additional precautions and measures.

The Township is still completing all normal tasks – such as building inspections, answering phone calls and emails, tax collections and receipts, grave openings, water system testing, emergency medical responses, etc. – but, all activities are being done in a fashion that reduces the risk of Township workers being exposed to or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

The MIOSHA rules are valid until mid-April.
Remote Meetings to Continue
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services, Grand Haven Charter Township will continue to have remote, electronic meetings – at least through January.  

All of the material for Township Board meetings may be viewed at:

This material is the same information provided to the elected officials – except any legal opinions that might be discussed in closed sessions. In addition, the agendas (and OMA postings) will contain information on how the public can participate in these Zoom meetings. 
Fire/Rescue Numbers for 2020
The Fire/Rescue department had its first decline↓ in emergency responses since 2008, dropping from 1,398 emergency runs to 1,359 emergency runs (i.e., about a 3% decrease). This is mainly attributable to the COVID-19 shut-down that occurred – reflecting the economic slowdown.  
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs)
The Fire/Rescue Department is collaborating with eight (8) other Ottawa County fire departments on a regional grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program to purchase standardized SCBAs (i.e., a device to provide compressed, breathable air). SCBA’s have a 10-year lifespan per NFPA standards, and most area departments have reached the end-of-life for their SCBA equipment.

Should this be a successful grant application, it will provide a substantial cost savings to all the departments involved.
E-Commerce Exchange Zone
Need a location to complete a sale or exchange child custody? You can consider the parking lot between the Township Fire/Rescue department and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Township field office at 13300 168th Avenue.

This is an area has security cameras that record activities and has a strong public safety presence.
Winter Property Taxes Due February 16th
Winter property taxes are due on Tuesday, February 16th.  

For residents that do not wish to use the drop boxes, mail, or on-line options to pay their winter taxes, the Township will allow in-person payment on February 16th.  

You may schedule an appointment to pay your taxes by calling: 616.604.6306.
Only one taxpayer may be in the lobby at a time. You will be let into the lobby at your appointment time.  

Masks are required.
VerBerkmoes Announces Retirement
Public Services Director Mark VerBerkmoes announced his retirement – effective at the end of business on Friday, February 5th. 

Mark began his career with the Township working as a part-time fire fighter in 1978 and began to work part-time in 1985 for the Public Services Department.
However, Mark started as a full-time employee with the Public Services Department in 1987 and was appointed as the Director of Public Services in 1992 – a key position that administers a majority of the Township’s budget covering everything from cemeteries to water.

Mark is a huge asset to the Township – giving unselfishly of his time and talent – overseeing many significant accomplishments and helping to manage the significant population growth of the past few decades.

Much of the Township’s success is found in the dedication and passion of department directors and staff – and Mark was especially integral.
Township Questions?
If you have specific questions about Township operations, please send an email to bcargo@ght.org .
(616) 842-5988  | info@ght.org | www.ght.org