2012-07-26 / Local News

Bingham raises rates on hall rentals, deposits

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

It will cost a little more to use the historic Bingham Schoolhouse for special events following action last week by the Bingham Township Board.

Constructed in 1877 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building on the corner of Bingham Road and Center Highway has served for decades as the Bingham Township Hall. In addition to being the site of many local governmental meetings, the building has been rented out as a venue for hundreds of private parties, weddings, family reunions and other special events.

One renter recently failed to clean up after their event, and another’s check bounced. That prompted the township board last week to take another look at the rental fee schedule and make some changes.

Rentals will increase from $25 per day to $35 per day for events at which no food is served; and from $35 per day to $50 per day for events at which food is served. The Bingham Township Hall is equipped with a kitchen.

More significantly, a bigger deposit will be required from all renters, increasing from $50 to $150 per event. The money will be refunded after the event if no additional cleanup or repairs are required, however.

In addition, the township board decided that checks must be submitted three weeks in advance of the event. If three weeks is too far ahead, then cash may be used for the rental fee and deposit.

“It’s too bad we had to raise the fees and deposits just to protect ourselves from the 2 percent of those who can’t be trusted,” said township supervisor Ross Ard.

The township voted 5-0 on motions to raise the fees and deposit.

Township clerk Peggy Core noted that two groups that had already reserved use of the hall this month before the change was made will be “grandfathered” and won’t need to pay the higher rates.

In other business at its regular monthly meeting on July 16, the Bingham Township Board:

 Learned from Ard that he is still hoping to receive a cost estimate from the Leelanau County Road Commission on a project to improve the east end of Bingham Road near the township park on West Grand Traverse Bay. In the meantime, Ard added, the Road Commission has offered to chip a pile of brush cleaned up at the park recently by volunteer workers from the township’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

 Agreed to expend $980 to upgrade a copy machine in the township office for use as a computer scanner with email capability, on the recommendation of treasurer Sandra Grant. She said the alternative was to spend $1,700 on new “reconditioned” piece of hardware to replace the copier which still seems to be in very good shape.

 Learned from Core that she was working with the Leelanau County Clerk’s office to correct the county’s errors on absentee ballots. Core said that some 275 incorrect absentee ballots were mailed out from Bingham Township, but the county was expected to reimburse Bingham Township for the additional expense of postage and materials to fix the situation.

 Heard from zoning administrator Steve Patmore that some complaints had been received recently about fireworks noise and danger, and some residents would like the township to consider enacting regulations. A new state law this year legalized the sale, possession and use of a wider range of fireworks than were not allowed in previous years.

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