BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – A Special Meeting was convened on Friday, April 19th, in Paris, Michigan, at 2:30 p.m. On the agenda for Green Charter Township was the discussion of the water agreement with the City of Big Rapids. This agreement holds significant importance as it involves a water supply crucial for the operations of the China-linked Gotion Inc. EV battery plant, which is planned to be developed near Big Rapids.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting was called to order with Supervisor Kruse addressing the members about the previously disclosed agenda item concerning the “consideration and potential action of the water franchise ordinance with the City of Big Rapids.”

Special meeting called to discuss revoking previous water franchise agreement with City of Big Rapids.

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Township Supervisor Jason Kruse said, “I called this special meeting for the board to review and take possible action on the franchise agreement with the city of Big Rapids. We have the opportunity to revoke this franchise agreement.”

He went on to say, “I had our attorneys look this over and found that we can revoke this thing. I instructed our attorneys to bring this before the board for a vote to revoke the franchise agreement and step away from that agreement with the city of Big Rapids. What this will do is stop the expansion of water into the township from the city.”

What did the previous ordinance say?

Ordinance No. 16-52000, adopted on May 17, 2000 by the previous township board, had established a thirty-year non-exclusive franchise to the City of Big Rapids to utilize rights-of-way through the Charter Township of Green for the purpose of the City of Big Rapids’ water system.

It granted the City of Big Rapids a franchise to lay, maintain and operate water mains, pipes and services on, along, across and under the highways, streets, alleys and other public places, and to conduct a public water utilities business in the Charter Township of Green in Mecosta County for 30 years.

Gotion project needs 715,000 gallons of water a day.

A key provision of the Development Agreement between the township and Gotion required the Township to pass a resolution supporting Gotion’s proposal to connect its facility with the Big Rapids water system. The amount of water needed for the project,

according to Gotion North America Vice President Chuck Thelen, is roughly 715,000 gallons per day.

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In December of last year, the new township board voted 4-3 to rescind a resolution approving plans for the city to extend water services to Gotion Inc. This time, they took it a step further and voted unanimously to adopt an Emergency Ordinance deemed “Ordinance No. 02-2024” which repeals Ordinance No. 16-52000, immediately revoking the water agreement ordinance.

Voting to repeal the ordinance were Trustees Jason Kruse, Corri Riebow, Rob Henderson, Kelly Cushway, Jeff Thorne, Sarah Rasmussen and Dan Hoe. Trustees Sarah Rasmussen and Dan Hoeh were absent.

Township takes back control of development decisions.

Trustee Thorne said about the decision, “This is a way of giving our township more control,” Thorne said. “We have not had that control for the people in this township for many years and this is a step to give it back.”

In the new ordinance, the Township says that they find the franchise to be revocable at will according to the state Constitution and Michigan law and added that the electors of the township had not designated that the franchise established by the 2000 ordinance was irrevocable and explicitly says “the franchise granted by this ordinance shall be revocable at the will of the Township.”

Township: “Best interests” to revoke previous ordinance.

The Township also found that it is “in the best interests of the Township to revoke Ordinance No. 16-52000 in order to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the Township.” The Township board repealed the ordinance in its entirety and stated, “All ordinance or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.”

The water issue is also embedded in a legal dispute between the township and Gotion Inc., currently in litigation in federal court. Gotion Inc. has petitioned the court for a preliminary injunction, urging the judge to compel the Green Township board to honor contractual commitments made by the previous administration including the water agreement.

What opponents of Gotion facility have to say.

Michigan News Source contacted former Ambassadors Peter Hoekstra and Joseph Cella, who jointly lead the Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group (MCESRG), for their perspective on the matter. Here’s what they had to say: “With last week’s special meeting and new ordinance, Green Charter Township through its elected

officials reclaimed its sovereignty on behalf of its citizens on very important matters that was recklessly handed over by their predecessors a generation ago. This is another key step of the governed in Green Township reclaiming their Constitutional consent which was ruptured in the corrupted ‘deal’ with PRC-based and CCP-tied Gotion.”

Their statement went on to say, “Green Township citizens began reestablishing its civil order by holding the former board of trustees to account for their rogue actions, and recalled them last November. This is precisely by the design of our Founding Fathers. With this latest development, the Gotion ‘deal’ continues to flounder. Significant questions are swirling around whether the ‘deal’ can even go forward.”

They continued, “The ‘deal’ with Gotion led by Governor Whitmer, the MEDC CEO, Quentin Messer, Jr., Randy Thelen of The Right Place, President Bill Pink of Ferris State University, and some in the Michigan Legislature, has been concocted and corrupted by government and business elites moving fast and in secret. Every day people are rejecting their behavior and decisions. Zero due diligence was done, binding and punitive non-disclosure agreements and a silly secret code name shrouded it, and nothing was built into this ‘deal’ to ensure transparency, integrity, and accountability, all contrary to the direction of our national security and intelligence agencies, on account of the national security threat Gotion presents. These are basic things citizens expect of their elected to provide for their common defense, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but were denied.”

Michigan News Source reached out to the Gotion spokesperson for a reaction to the newly voted on ordinance but they did not return our request for comment.