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Posted: 04/02/14

Oakland Township to put its ordinances online

Observer Special Writer
      Oakland Township is making sure its residents have easy access to its ordinances by codifying them and putting them on its website.
       The Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved a contract with General Code to codify their ordinances at their meeting March 11.
       The Rochester, New York based company specializes in organizing written laws by subject matter.
       General Code's Michigan Sales Representative Suzanne Owens did a presentation for the board explaining how codifying works and what they could offer.
       "It's organizing; it's systemizing your legislation, putting it in a form and a fashion that your constituents can get to very easily and very readily. It is a municipality's obligation to do that, by law. It will also help on the legal issues that can potentially occur because your ordinances or your legislation is not up to date," she said to the board.
       The township has 104 ordinances. The ordinances would be organized by chapter, section and article, and then the township would sign off and codify it. The process takes approximately 12 to 18 months to make sure all investigative work is done, and that the ordinances meet state statutes.
       "Oakland Township has never, in our history, codified ordinances," said Township Supervisor Terry Gonser. "Codification will group, for example, land use ordinances.  . . . It's going to be a lot easier for residents to actually find all the ordinances that pertain to the issue that they choose to investigate. I think it's time we do it. We've had excellent results with General Code with putting all the ordinances online."
       The township's website provides information via General Code's ecode360 software. Since its inception, it has already had over 28,000 hits.
       "That's only going to increase as more and more people become familiar with it and especially after it becomes easier to access and find (ordinances)," said Gonser. "Another big advantage is after they're codified, we keep them online, and now you know you have the latest. Once it's published in a book, it's probably obsolete by the time the ink's dry. So as long as it's online, you always know you have the latest codes and ordinances from the township."
       The board voted 3 to 2 in favor of the contract, with Township Treasurer Jeanne Langlois and Township Trustee Robin Buxar voting against it. Township Trustee Sharon McKay and Township Clerk Karen Reilly were absent. Langlois wanted to look at other companies that do codifying and Buxar wanted to further investigate General Code's proposal.
       The board also voted in favor of a budget amendment for the refurbishment of an ambulance. The issue was brought up at the previous meeting on Feb. 25, but was put on hold to investigate budget numbers.
       "Alpha One (the ambulance) is down and out and does not have a great prognosis for future health," said Gonser. "I think it's jeopardizing the township's ability to respond to EMS calls, and that's why it's back on the agenda this week."
       The chassis will be removed from the ambulance, and be replaced with a new chassis, saving the township between $40,000 and $50,000. The cost is $109,000, and the funds are coming from the general fund.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       • Announced the deadline for filing nominating petitions to place one's name on the August primary election ballot for the open Board of Trustee position is Tuesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. Packets may be picked up at the Clerk's Office at the Township Hall during regular business hours.
       • Approved a motion to allow the Parks and Recreation Commission to continue to manage the Land Preservation Millage.
       • Appointed Eugene Beres as the alternate to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
       • Approved a $600 contribution to the Greater Rochester Area Veterans Memorial Parade.
       • Approved a contract renewal with Parks Services for landscaping services in Oakland Township.
       • Approved a request to send all original documents, contracts and other official records to the Township Clerk's office for proper recording and maintenance.

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