Handy Township has approved the necessary measures to pay off a debt they’ve had since it began to accumulate in 2007.

Until recently, township officials thought they owed over $2 million in chargebacks on 200 acres of property at Grand River and Nicholson Road. The property became delinquent when owner Mitch Harris couldn’t make payments on an allocated millage, roads, administrative and sewer fees. The township was reimbursed by turning the chargebacks over to the Livingston County Treasurer through 2011, but couldn’t make the payments on the growing five-year debt when the money came due.

Township Clerk Laura Eisele says the municipality found itself in such a steep debt because of a lawsuit filed against the township by Mitch Harris in 2008. Eisele says the lawsuit halted everything. There was no money coming in, yet the township was still taking on chargebacks and turning them over to the county treasurer.

The property went to tax sale last year, but didn’t sell so it was offered back to the township by the state. However the tax sale still proved to be beneficial, as a pool of funds was created from participating counties in the consortium. Livingston County ended up with a surplus, which was used to pay back some of the chargeback debt. Township Supervisor Ed Alverson says officials still expected to owe over $2 million, but were shocked when they received word from the Treasurer’s Office that their final bill was $66,281.97.

The township’s Board of Trustees met Wednesday and Eisele was excited to make a motion to pay off that remaining debt. The motion passed with a unanimous vote. Alverson says the township is "so fortunate" and "blessed". (DK)