By Jessica Mathews /

Some agreements related to restaurant relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been approved by the Lyon Township Board.

The board met virtually Monday night and unanimously approved a resolution authorizing execution of the Restaurant Relief Program Interlocal Agreement between Oakland County and Lyon Township. It was stated during the meeting that the County took $3 (m) million from the general fund to create the two-phase program, which focuses on restaurants that have been greatly impacted due to reduced capacity or a complete closure among other things. The program will be administered in Lyon Township through the Downtown Development Authority.

DDA/Economic Development Coordinator Tina Archer commented they weren’t quite sure how everything would work initially and there was a lot of uncertainty with the first phase. She said the township went ahead and secured two greenhouses, six heaters, two electro-static cleaners and propane tanks and is also participating in a refill propane program. Under the program the township owns the equipment and then lends it out. Archer added that new items can be acquired or expensed in phase two such as picnic tables, hand sanitizer units, or other things businesses need to acquire for outdoor winterization.

Separately, the board approved a revocable license for any equipment obtained through the Restaurant Relief Program. Some municipalities have been entering into lease agreements with restaurants but the township attorney recommended using a revocable license, which allows for more control.

While he supports the program, board member Sean O’Neil expressed broad frustration and thinks the township and businesses are being put in an awkward spot after the fact with a lot of strings attached. He commented that communities were urged to get everything out with no agreement and then complete paperwork after-the-fact. O’Neil said he’s not trying to be critical of the county as every community is faced with this but feels like this will be a disaster with the township responsible for loaning things out and storing them.

The program was said to be a work in progress and the township will move forward as best it can and play things by ear. Some members felt the program is helpful and perhaps some of the equipment could be used for future festivals or events downtown. They could also be donated or sold if not adequately stored or businesses could even keep them.

Lyon Township was said to have $34,000 to spread out over 6 or 8 restaurants. It was noted that not all communities in the county are participating, thus those funds can be reallocated and the township could receive additional monies to work with. The application deadline is February 4th.