By Amy Joles
CARO — Although it took a substantial amount of legal consultation to get the job done, the city of Caro and Indianfields Township have reached an understanding.
At their most recent council meeting, the city council voted to approve a consent judgment in the division of assets and liabilities.
Both Indianfields and Almer Township lost portions of land when the village became a home-rule city in 2009, resulting in a loss of some of their tax base.
Legally, the townships and city were then required to divvy up some of their assets and liabilities.
Almer resolved their division of assets soon after Caro became a city. Indianfields resolved some minor issues, but the bulk of divisions was not completed after several meetings between the two parties, along with their attorneys.
Indianfields eventually filed for a declaratory judgment. The settlement has now been approved by both the township and the city.
“We controlled our own destiny here because a judge is not going to rule from the bench,” said Mayor Dick Pouliot. “With this action, the matter is closed, resolved.”
Under the agreement, the township will pay the city $211,000 from their sewer enterprise fund that must be used for improvements or maintenance to the city sewer system.
The township must also find a new location, since their offices are currently located in a city building, 111 Joy Ave. According to the agreement, the township has five years to do so.
In terms of cemetery use, Pouliot said the city could not reach a adequate agreement with the township on burial rates.
“Doesn’t matter,” he told the council. “We have an agreement with Almer.”
Almer Township agreed to allow city residents to use their cemetery for 10 years at the same rate that township residents pay. The township also agreed to keep Darbee Farm Park rates the same for everyone.
A cash settlement of $14,500 was also paid by the township back in 2009 from their fund balance at the time.
Almer Township also agreed to give the City of Caro one of their two voting machines as part of the agreement.
** Editor’s Note: Indianfields Township Clerk William Campbell wished to point out that the $211,000 paid to the city shall be held, expended and administered by the defendant (City of Caro) pursuant to and subject to the same restrictions as existed on the bonded indebtedness of the plaintiff (Indianfields). The city of Caro shall use the funds for improvements or maintenance of the sewer system located in the township or common and general system improvements of the sewer system administered by the city.