A Community News Organ

In Memoriam: Lawrence W. Crane

In Culture Bluffs, Historic Elberta, On and off the Apron, Sunset on September 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm

The man was one of the most important figures in the history of Elberta, and Andrew Bolander was unable to find an obit for him aside from a half paragraph in the Free Press and a mention of his passing in the Benzie Banner. So, on the anniversary of his death, Bolander thought it would be nice to give Lawrence W. Crane an obituary fitting his influence on the area. 

Lawrence W. Crane died on the 18th of September, 1899. Mr. Crane was a strong and occasionally abrasive presence in the early development of Benzie County. He was an impressive lumberman who came from modest beginnings—a poor youth in Chicago. The stories of his fights and supposed acts of arson strengthen the lore of the lumbermen of Northern Michigan. Mr. Crane could look at the exterior of a log and discern its interior arrangement.

He was born in County Wexford, Ireland, in 1841. He immigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old and settled in Chicago. Mr. Crane then crossed paths with Harrison Averill, of Herring Creek, and went to work in Mr. Averill’s mill in 1855. He then moved to Muskegon and Manistee where he honed his skills as a sawyer. Mr. Crane then moved to Frankfort under the employ of George S. Frost and the Frankfort Land Co. in 1868. Mr. Crane cleared the Betsie River of logs and obstructions and straightened sections of the river to make drives more manageable. He also was the head sawyer at the Land Company’s mill.

In 1870 Mr. Crane entered the lumber business on his own account and in partnership with Ramiro Evans built his first mill on the south side of Lake Betsie in 1873. Mr. Crane bought out Mr. Evans’s interests in 1881 and built a shingle mill and a planing mill in addition to his original sawmill. Lawrence W. Crane married Miss Annette Rawlinson on November 21, 1886. Mr. Crane was survived by his widow and eight children. It is said that Lawrence W. Crane’s knowledge of the woods of Benzie County was second only to that of Joseph Oliver. Mr. Crane was 62 years of age.

Crane's Island Mill, 1900. Allen Blacklock Collection

Crane’s Island Mill, 1900. Allen Blacklock Collection

Crane Lumber Crew 1895

Crane Lumber Crew 1895


Signs of the Times: July Council Meeting Report

In Elberta Farmers' Market, Elberta Solstice Festival, Gilmore Township, Gov't Watch, Law & Order, Meeting Minutes and Recordings, Open Season, Politics, Village Money Situation on July 18, 2015 at 12:28 am


July 16, 2015 • 7 PM

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July 16, 2015 • 7 PM

The Village of Elberta Board of Trustees held a regular meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at the Community Building, 401 First Street, Elberta, Michigan.

The meeting was called to order by Diane Jenks at 7:04 p.m.

Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance

Present:         Jenks, O’Dwyer, Soper, Holmes, Gatrell

Absent:           None

Public: Mary Link, Ron McPherson, Andrew Bolander, Gary Sauer, Ken Bonney, Emily Votruba

Approval of Minutes

Motion by O’Dwyer seconded by Gatrell to approve the June 18 meeting minutes as presented. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Approval of Agenda

Motion by Soper, seconded by O’Dwyer to approve the agenda with the following additions: Ag9: Community Building. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Agenda Conflicts

None stated

Public Input 7:10 pm

Ron McPherson: During work on 363 Crapo, Kirby Excavation hit McPherson’s foundation twice. Washer and dryer and pictures were askew. McPherson asked to be shown where line was. Ken Bonney said line had to be 10 ft from structure and that the line was installed along driveway of 363. McPherson talked to Kirby and was told the line could not legally be closer than 10 ft. McPherson dug down and saw that line went across his property and came out a foot from house. No one contacted McPherson for permission. McPherson considers this a trespass. Wants an apology and assurance that it won’t happen again. KB said the dispute is between McPherson and the landowner of 363; the village did not order the work done; KB is not sure who owns 363, the apartments back in the woods. Boring process hit the foundation. McPherson isn’t sure there’s damage. Wants to be asked for property access. A dispute ensued concerning an unrelated issue, McPherson’s fence. Jenks said she would talk to Kirby and the property owner.

Andrew Bolander: The Greenwood signs need to come down. They are not factual and provide no benefit to the Village. Dolores Schmitt/council did not get facts from the history books. As a new resident/homeowner on Furnace Ave., Bolander does not want to live on Greenwood Parkway. Holmes: Greenwoods established this whole area. Bolander: They had a great farm and contributed to Benzie County but not particularly to Elberta. Holmes: That’s not true. Bolander: Information coincides with other historical information from other sources. Jenks: It’s between Schmitt and MDOT. We supported her decision. Bolander: It makes a difference because I live here. It’s factually incorrect and it’s embarrassing. Holmes: It’s the best history we have. It’s just your opinion that it’s not true. Bolander: I consulted 17 references in which the Greenwoods are not cited as the first settlers. The library has many books and Dolores Schmitt apparently did not look at any of them.


  • Letter from DEQ regarding water tank
  • Letter of resignation from Cathy Anderson from Budget, Finance & Audit Committee
  • FOIA changes in allowable fees. A webinar. Mary Kalbach will be taking it and council members should let Diane know if they would also like to participate. Possibly will be recorded.

Workman’s comp fund information from MML will also be available.


None received. Jenks signed checks this week.


Items of note: None. Regular bills were paid.

Old Business

  • FEAA Contract: Jenks not comfortable signing it as is. Holmes: Have done it for 100 years. Jenks: can’t afford to mow once a week as FEAA specifies in contract. We need to take the keys away from the Community Building bathrooms because of damage. O’Dwyer: Should let them use it and have Ken Bonney’s helper clean it once a week. Jenks: They’re loud during meetings, and women’s room sink was broken off. If we give them $500 they should use it to rent a PortaJohn. This contract requires us to mow twice a week. Consensus is to support FEAA for benefit of local kids.

 Motion by Soper, seconded by Gatrell, to give $500 to FEAA with stipulation that they get a PortaJohn and not use the Community Building restrooms. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

O’Dwyer still wants the DPW assistant to sweep through the Community Building once per week.

AGENDA 1: Code Enforcement Officer

Jenks had found there is a Michigan Association of Code Enforcement Officers (a nonprofit). The association has rules, bylaws, and a training program. Can’t just appoint someone. Must go through process. Need to create an application. O’Dwyer said Cathy Anderson said Crystal Lake Twp. had posted a notice in the paper for such an officer. More research is required.

AGENDA 2: Fire Ordinance Outdoor Burning Stoves

O’Dwyer hasn’t checked to see if any new outdoor boilers have been installed. At present there are none. Amendment would regulate any stoves installed prior to July 16. Jenks: Every 5 years, as discussed in PPIC meeting, we need to review our ordinances to check for things that are outdated or to reflect changes in society/local law. Suggests adding a section 14 to proposed ordinance saying that in the event of any county state or federal law changes the ordinance would automatically adjust to conform to those changes. Jenks said she didn’t know whether local municipal law superseded county/state/federal law.

Motion by Holmes, seconded by O’Dwyer to accept the fire ordinance as amended. Ayes: Gatrell, Holmes, O’Dywer, Jenks. Nay: Soper. Motion carried.

AGENDA 3: Village Water Storage Project

Need to install surveillance cameras, electric fence, improve access the road, install a gate, decommission one tank. The 150K tank is adequate storage currently per DEQ. Can add on if necessary to make taller. Costs too much to repair the other tank. O’Dwyer: Is the current tank big enough. Cathy Anderson talked to Gourdie Fraser about it. Odwyer: The village is not currently growing in population. KB: If [the Waterfront Park] condos come in, they’ll have to contribute to the water tank expansion. Needs fencing around it. Combine and reapply for loans. Prepare the loan development application, contract with Gordie Fraser to write the grant and do the work. Expect interest savings on loan. KB: Some of the money can come as a grant.

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Soper to contract with Gourdie Fraser to prepare the loan application for water storage improvement. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

AGENDA 4: Village Sanitary Sewer Project

Sanitary sewer collection system. A condition of the loan is improvement of system by 51%. We have to borrow more money than we owe in order to get this price. Lincoln Ave is bad. That’s where improvements would begin. Sewer system required $29K extra (over budget) in repairs last year. KB: clay tile pipes falling apart and full of roots. Both pumps in Waterfront Park now broken; currently jerry-rigged.

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Soper, to apply for a USDA loan. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

AGENDA 5: Park and Rec Member

Motion by Soper, seconded by D’Dwyer to accept Andrew Bolander’s application to be a member of the Parks & Recreation Commission. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

 AGENDA 6: Trash in Village

Jenks: A lot of problems with out-of-towner household rubbish in Village trash containers. Village should not be paying for trash haul out in front of Conundrum Café. O’Dwyer: The businesses should install their own trash receptacles. Holmes: Those [Village’s] are expensive containers. Jenks: When they get full they [Conundrum business owners] take them out and put them next to the container. Holmes: People from all over throw personal trash in those containers in the winter time. Looks like crap to see trash bags. Jenks: Almost every day see trash overflowing. Not our job to pick them up. Holmes: If they’re not there it’ll be on the street. Jenks No it won’t. Holmes: How is Waterfront Park trash different from the Duck’s Head trash? Soper: [Duck’s Head trash cans are] on village property and they’re village trash cans. KB: She [Michele Cannaert] usually takes care of them once or twice a week. She keeps an eye on them and puts new bags in them. When [DPW] comes through we pick it up. Holmes: What are we offering to people in this town right now? Gatrell: Agree with Holmes. KB: people were dumping big bags of their household trash in Waterfront Park. O’Dwyer: DPW should just keep a closer eye on it and pick it up. KB: She [Cannaert] empties it and ties it up. She checks it every day.

 AGENDA 7: Public Area in front of Conundrum

Jenks: “The girls” have planted flowers. Have had a lot of complaints about signs and bicycles being in the way. KB: MDOT will be shutting down the street Monday and Tuesday (July 20 and 21) from 168 to the post office to repair the curb. Kirby is doing the work for the county with state money. County has patched it for the last five years but did a terrible job.

 AGENDA 8: Port-a-Johns in Market Park

People are dumping trash in the Port-a-Johns. PJs need to be pumped the day before market, not day of, because of health concerns. Contract specifies they be pumped once a week. They should do it Wednesday rather than Thursday. KB: They are doing it Wednesday. Called them the day it was full and pumper came on Wednesday. It was pumped on Wednesday and needed it again the next day. Also, planted some trees in Penfold Park and the next day someone had half dug them up. 2 PJs at Waterfront Park and 1 at Penfold. Having an Elberta Methodist Church service in Penfold this week. We have an excellent market and we want to support it.

AGENDA 9: Community Building

Addressed earlier.

Committee/Department Reports (All reports are to be in writing and a matter of public record)

Commissioner: Gary Sauer County has received 13 applications for administrator’s job. Preliminary interviews will be held July 30. That session will be open to the public; not sure but thinks it’s at 4:30. New manager Matt Steels at County Road Commission; starts on July 20. No engineer currently. 3 positions are up on county planning commission. Need applications. Need more representation from around the county. It was in the paper. Write a letter to apply. Sauer provided hard copies of surveys being done mostly online by the county planning commission.

DPW: MML insurance rep did not have well no. 1 and its building on his record, so that was added. Redid the lift station at Waterfront Park. Need budget adjusted to pay for the new pumps, about $7,000. Will require amendment to sewer maintenance budget. Need invoices still for Lincoln Ave. sewer repairs and pumps. Already way over budget; will try to flush current issue with fire hose.

How much for sidewalks: One will cost $7,500–$8,000. Must be done or we lose our Act 51 money. Did nothing last year (did not fulfill Act 51 requirement as regards yearly spending). Will put sidewalk work out for bids (next Wednesday). Do a whole block at a time. Taking the sidewalk out and replace it. Cut roots in trees. Need to put in the piece of sidewalk in front of former Lannin property. Can bill the new property owners. But to get stamped sidewalk (like other new sidewalk on Furnace) will cost more than a whole block of regular sidewalk. Jenks: We’ll do it and put it on their taxes. Previous owner blocked it so they couldn’t do the survey. MDOT said do it and bill the property owner. Need to OK lowest bid now so we can have it done by Labor Day—Lincoln from Pearson. Jenks: How will that correspond with sewer repairs. KB: Sewer in that stretch is already done and sidewalks are missing there. That’s why he picked it. KB will put out bids for one block. Holmes: Most of our sidewalks are not nice to walk on or ride a bike on. KB: Sidewalks will be 4 inches thick and where they cross a driveway they will be 6 inches thick, and 6 inches with mesh where a truck would cross.

President’s Report: Jenks talked to Gourdie Fraser. Flies and Vandenbrink did sewer work. KB: Contractor hired a different contractor and wanted the village to pay extra. Discussion of various companies that have worked on Village water and sewer

BLUA: Check will come from BLUA for $22K. Glen’s leachate was more than what they budgeted so Village and Frankfort got a one time rebate. Elberta had 31% stake and Frankfort had the rest.

Fire & Safety: Holmes: Frustrated because the Fire board hasn’t had a meeting all year. Jenks: Ask Josh and Fire Dept. that they be more visible in the Village for these new fire permits. No one in village knows they need a permit. Charlie Thompson (fire chief) needs to be going around checking they’re safe. It’s not Ken Bonney’s job. Fire chief talked to guy in yellow house twice for burning illegal stuff. He was doing it late at night. Warned twice. Charlie said he will be fined. Someone had cleaned up fireworks debris from beach and collected in bags. KB went and hauled it. KB: should consider an ordinance to regulate fireworks; outlaw them or set limits on mortar size. Should be a time period limitation as well. Stuff comes down hot. Not a single lot in Elberta that’s big enough to be shooting off large mortars. KH: Worst thing is the parachutes with the lights in them. Jenks asks Holmes to look into the Village noise ordinance.

Parks & Rec Commission: Soper: KB, please throw some paint on the LSS. A sewer pipe is broken off. Did not have a quorum for the meeting the previous Thursday, so spent the time installing required NRT grant signs in the Waterfront Park.

Employee Relations: Gatrell: Did not have a meeting. Probably won’t have one next month either.

Budget, Finance & Audit: O’Dwyer: Cathy resigned. She did 97% of the work so we’re in trouble. Need to get someone else to help. Also need to advertise for a new clerk.

Policies, Procedures & Internal Controls: Have been going over stuff by email, dealing with office procedure. Cathy Anderson and Terry McGregor have implemented some helpful policies.

Public Input 9:05 p.m.

Emily Votruba: Need a local ordinance limiting or eliminating fireworks in the village limits. Sheriff Dept. won’t do anything unless there’s a local ordinance. Recent fireworks were a fire hazard and a severe noise nuisance.

Gary Sauer: Impressed with the local units. It’s all done at the local level. The higher up you go the worse it gets. I commend you all for volunteering.

Jenks: Chad [Hollenbeck] did not come tonight to promote the Benzie Bus millage renewal, but all agree they’re doing a great job. Would like to see some smaller vehicles. Holmes: Impressed with ridership numbers.


Motion by Soper, seconded by O’Ddwyer, to adjourn the meeting at 9:11 p.m. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Emily Votruba compiled these minutes and submitted them to Elberta Village clerk Mary Kalbach on July 18, 2015.


Burn After Reading: June Council Meeting

In Elberta Farmers' Market, Elberta Solstice Festival, Gilmore Township, Gov't Watch, Law & Order, Meeting Minutes and Recordings, Open Season, Politics, Village Money Situation on July 12, 2015 at 6:59 am


June 18, 2015 • 7 PM

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The Village of Elberta Board of Trustees held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at the Community Building, 401 First Street, Elberta, Michigan.

The meeting was called to order by Diane Jenks at 7:02 p.m.

Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance

Present:         Joyce Gatrell, Ken Holmes, Diane Jenks, Holly O’Dwyer, Bill Soper

Absent:          none

Public: Gary Sauer (county commissioner), Ken Bonney (DPW), Rosemary Tanner, Lois Schram, Cathy Anderson, Emily Votruba, Dolores Schmitt, Art Melendez, Christine Walkons, Mac McClelland

Approval of Minutes

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Soper, to approve the May 21 meeting minutes with the following changes: Under Correspondence, p. 1, letter was from Village attorney, not auditor’s attorney; p. 2 line 10, add “bills still in arrears by June 1”; p. 3, line 3, add “worker” to “Ken and seasonal”; p. 3, line 5 name is “Hospenthal.” 

All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Approval of Agenda

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Holmes, to approve the agenda with the following changes: Make No. 5 Change Order; add No. 7, Designate Penfold Park as Water Trail Access Point; add No. 8, Code Enforcement Officer 

All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Agenda Conflicts

None stated.

Public Input 7:11 pm



  • DEQ water quality report for the Village
  • Email from Bill Schuette re: FOIA request re: Library testing results. He had no info. Jenks is still looking into it
  • Postcard from a Realtor who wants to market the Library


Council reviewed revenue and expenses. Nonroutine bills were included with budget. Jenks once again praised volunteer Cathy Anderson’s efforts on the treasurer’s report and budget, coding bills in the general ledger, etc. Thanks also to Village treasurer/deputy clerk Mary Kalbach. The report is available in the Village Office.

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Gatrell, to accept the treasurer’s report as presented. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Motion by O’Dwyer, seconded by Holmes, to approve payment of bills. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Old Business

  • Council reduction to 5 trustees: As of May 30, the Village has a five member council: 4 trustees and a president. No petitions were filed during the comment period.
  • Fire ordinance and permits: Fire pit permits are available at the Village Office. Residents required to get a signed permit for compliant outdoor burning. Can be signed by Charlie Thompson (231-651-0045), Ray Miehlke (231-631-4775) or Mark Ketz (231-383-1354). Don’t call Ken Bonney, call one of those fire officials. Complaints should also be addressed to them.

AGENDA 1: Budget Amendment

(a) Resolution reorganizing Village Park Fund accounts associated with the Life Saving Station, Waterfront Park, and Penfold Park into General Fund 101. The Village parks and general fund have always been paid from the same bank account, and reported thus on audits and financial statements so there is no effective change. Fund 208 would remain but would be exclusively for Parks & Recreation Commission revenues and expenses. This amendment is as per recommendation of the Village auditor and endorsed by the Parks & Recreation Commission financial secretary. Upon approval of the Seton bill for signs, establish a sign account within the Village Park expense account Department 751 and set a budget of $650 for the account. Upon approval of the Ganbridge and Co. POC bill for auditing services, increase the budget for auditing services 1985080600 [101?] by $2,500.

Motion by Soper, seconded by O’Dwyer, to adopt the proposed budget amendments 1, 2, and 3. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

(b) Proposed resolution to create a sewer fund reserve. The Village of Elberta maintains State Savings Bank account no. 3572 with a dollar amount in excess of $54K. It’s been understood by the Village Office and Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee that this money was designated as a sewer fund reserve against the existing USDA loan for the sewer system. During the recent audit it was noted that prior audits had shown the account to be part of the major and local street fund. The origin of the money in the above bank account is unclear and it is believed that the purpose of the money was misstated during past audits. The resolution will clarify the Village’s position with respect to the money going forward by designating the money in the State Savings Bank account no. 3572 as “Sewer Reserve.” This is important as the Village is required to maintain a reserve account against the sewer loans to address emergent issues with the sewer system. The sewer fund bank accounts are insufficient to fulfill that purpose. The major and local street bank account has sufficient balance to support all planned and many emergent issues in streets and does not need the money maintained in 3572. Furthermore it has been a source of confusion for the Budget Finance and Audit members and others when reviewing the Village’s fund systems why and how streets fund has such disproportionately high cash balances. This resolution is recommended by the Village auditor and supported by the Budget Finance and Audit Committee. The resolution supports the Village’s compliance with the Michigan Budget Act, proper accounting procedure and USDA loan requirements. Note that the USDA loans for the sewer infrastructure are Village of Elberta debt and are separate and distinct from BLUA wastewater treatment plant money. Resolution: Whereas the Village of Elberta recognizes that it is in  noncompliance with the terms of USDA sewer loans and desires to conform to the terms of the loan, therefore, be it resolved that the Village of Elberta designates the money held in State Savings Bank account no. 3572 as sewer reserve.

Motion by Soper, seconded by Holmes, to adopt the resolution regarding the sewer fund reserve. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

AGENDA 2: Fire Ordinance Outdoor Burning Stoves

O’Dwyer composed proposed ordinance using language from State of Michigan sample ordinance guidelines. Outdoor boilers tend to put out significantly more harmful particulate matter/pollution than indoor woodstoves and there have been many complaints about the one existing such unit in the Village, which had recently been removed. The proposed amendment would regulate any such stoves installed before the amendment’s passage and ban installation of any new outdoor wood fired boilers stoves. In researching the issue O’Dwyer discovered that the county does not regulate or handle complaints about these appliances, nor does the EPA, and regulation must occur by local ordinance. In the course of discussion at the meeting it was discovered that since this is an amendment to an existing ordinance (no. 17), the proposed new language needed to be worked into the existing ordinance (numbers adjusted, etc.), and no one had the existing ordinance with them. Some discussion of materials to be considered permissable for burning, what constitutes “processed” wood vs. lumber, which the DNR does not permit to be burned. According to Ken Bonney, state law forbids the burning of even untreated boards—anything that’s gone through a sawmill. Jenks said they had neglected to publicize the hearing at this meeting. Holmes’s opinion was that amendments to existing ordinances didn’t require a public hearing. A hearing on the proposed ordinance amendment will be held ahead of the July meeting.

AGENDA 3: Dolores Schmitt Petition to Add “First Settlers” Names to Village Limits Signs

Schmitt had a petition signed by many community members including some members of council, requesting that MDOT have signs under the Village limits signs, “First Settlers 1855 John and Caroline Greenwood” and she would like it approved ASAP. Jenks asked if there was proof that they were the first settlers. Holmes said they were in Blacklock’s History of Elberta. Jenks asked if their mention in Blacklock made it legal. Holmes mentioned some other families from around the same time, including the Martins. Holmes said the Greenwoods were the first settlers and John Greenwood was the first postmaster. O’Dwyer pointed out that Blacklock lists 1851 in three places as the Greenwoods’ arrival time. Schmitt said it should be 1855. She said MDOT would give a price and then “we would make a decision.” Jenks asked who would pay for the sign. Schmitt said she would handle fundraising. Schmitt said MDOT told her to OK it with the Village council and send the motion of approval back to MDOT. O’Dwyer asked if there were any other books claiming the Greenwoods as the first settlers in Elberta. Holmes said John Howard’s history. Schmitt said there “isn’t any doubt.” Holmes referred to Greenwood Landing (a former name of “Short” Grace Road). Holmes mentioned the plaque in the cemetery citing Joseph Oliver as Benzie County’s first settler, 1847. Jenks asked for Schmitt’s source for the 1855. Schmitt said she went to the courthouse and they don’t have any information on it. She said the 1855 date seemed to be true based on “other things that were going on.” Schmitt said she had been to a Benzie Area Genealogical Society meeting. Jenks said she would be comfortable approving the sign if “between now and then” there was confirmation of the date. Schmitt’s husband said the 1851 date may refer to their Nova Scotia landing. Schmitt said 1851 was OK with her. Jenks said she would get Schmitt a copy of the motion Wednesday after 1 pm.

Motion by Holmes, seconded by Gatrell, to support the sign John and Caroline Greenwood First Settlers in 1851. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

Schmitt went on to say that M-168, now decommissioned by the State and reverted to Village ownership, should be renamed Greenwood Parkway. Jenks said the Village would probably have a contest to rename the road. Schmitt cited a past meeting of the Village council during which it was decided by contest that the Village, when it changed its name from South Frankfort, would be called Elberta, after the peach grown here. Someone else had suggested Greenwood Village, and she felt that should have been the name chosen. Jenks thanked Schmitt for all her work on the matter.

Note on Auditor Fee

Jenks said the auditor fee had been more than double the usual cost and thanked Mary Kalbach for her efforts to argue for a reduction in the fee by half to $2,750. This bill has been paid.

AGENDA 4: Frankfort–Elberta Athletic Association

O’Dwyer said FEAA maintains the Frankfort field and the Elberta field; Frankfort’s Lockhart Field is much bigger and more active. Asked what Frankfort pays FEAA. Discussion of how much Elberta pays to maintain the ball field, mowing, etc. The FEAA membership fee is $500 per year. FEAA maintains the actual diamond. FEAA had called the Village office asking for the restroom to be cleaned more regularly and for more paper towels. Jenks said because the Community Building is being used for meetings and is rented out, it should not be open to the public. There had been some damage to the restroom (broken sink, inordinate mess etc.), lights and heat had been left on. The keys had been taken away but someone had apparently given FEAA keys again. Discussion of changing locks. The $500 had regularly been paid in the past but was not budgeted. Money would come out of deficit reduction. Requires a budget amendment, which must be an agenda item. Issue tabled.

AGENDA 5: Change Order for Grant for Apron Dock Removal

Mac McClelland explained that $735K grant the Village received for the Waterfront project. Initial demoltion of  Koch plant and Mitchell building and portions of the roundhouse cost $476K. About $259K was left over. Original contract with Luedtke to remove ferry docks was $188K. New costs bring it up to $230K, leaving a balance of about $29K. Grant ends June 30. New costs: Superstructure underneath both aprons, strapped together pilings. Requires investigation by divers over two days and additional time by Luedtke. State has approved the change order. Item two: discovery of underground scale house vault with fulcrum arm reinforced with railroad ties for weighing rail cars. Removal of that also approved by the State. Holmes mentioned that someone has the original scale in their garage.

Motion by Soper, seconded by Holmes, to approve change order for car ferry dock demolition. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

AGENDA 5: Designate Penfold Park as Waterways Trailhead Access Point

Resolution: Whereas the existing boat launch in Elberta’s Penfold Park provides access to Betsie Lake and Betsie River and Lake Michigan, and whereas the Village of Elberta recognizes the recreational and economic value of designated water trails, be it resolved that the Village of Elberta designated the boat launch an Penfold Park aka Mini Pond a Trailhead and Access Site for the Lake Michigan Water Trail and future Betsie River water trail.

Discussion: Does not exclude motorized boats. Opens grant opportunities and puts Elberta on a water trail map.

Motion by Soper, seconded by Holmes, to designate Elberta a Water Trail access site. All ayes. No nays. Motion carried.

AGENDA 6: Code Enforcement Officer

Jenks concerned about lack of enforcement of cleanup ordinances. Proposes hiring/creating said officer, someone not from the Village. Many communities have them. Ken Bonney doesn’t have time. Perhaps a retired police officer. Six foot pile of wood on Lincoln, sawdust, and crooked signs. Council members asked to research possible candidates.

Committee/Department Reports (unless otherwise noted, Committees submitted written reports)

County Commissioner’s Report (Gary Sauer): Thompsonville just hired a code enforcement officer. Searching for a county administrator. Karl Sparks is retiring. Maples roof code compliance/conflict situation. Architect needs to be held accountable. Losing a lot of money. Conflicting state and federal codes. Workshop on changes to FOIA request procedure will be held at Government Center.

DPW: Water reports available at Village Office and in post office. Had met with Scott Conradson and Cathy Anderson to discuss water infrastructure. A resident who had their water shut off due to non payment of bills had turned their water back on. Sheriff was called and meter was pulled. Some people including kids trespassing in Roundhouse inside fence. Structure is not stable and no one should trespass beyond fence. Gatrell asked whether ELHC’s plans to develop shops in that area would come to fruition.

BLUA: Holmes said savings on interest amounts to about $7,000. Rates will not be lowered. We will pay the debt off sooner. Anderson asked if BLUA’s council decided to keep payments the same. She said audit can’t close until there’s paper documentation as to why we’re still getting charged for the old bond and not for the new bond. Holmes added that increased revenue will result in a check for the Village from BLUA.

Parks & Recreation: Soper reminds everyone about Solstice. Emily Votruba asks that Andy Bolander’s request to join Parks & Recreation on the July agenda.

Employee Relations: Didn’t have a meeting.

President’s Report: Planning Commission working on capitalization improvement plan and the zoning ordinance. Permits and licenses for Solstice are in place and have a crew of volunteers. Would like to have a sitdown with Sheriff Schendel about Village concerns, clarification on when Village has authority to enforce. Distinction between zoning ordinance violations, ordinance violations vs. civil infractions (vandalism, beach driving), will Sheriff pick up where Village doesn’t have means to enforce. Hospenthal is doing a good job mowing.

Public Input 8:50 p.m.

Rosemary Tanner: Pleased that the trailer is gone. But other vehicles remain road right of way or sidewalks

Art Melendez: Skeptical that the Village will find a volunteer code enforcement officer.


Motion by Soper, seconded by Holmes, to adjourn the meeting at 9:52 p.m. All ayes. Motion carried.

Emily Votruba compiled these minutes and submitted them to Elberta Village acting clerk Mary Kalbach 7/12/15.


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