Salted with Sharks

Council Meeting Report: July 21, 2011

In On and off the Apron, Open Season, Politics on August 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This report is an amended version of the Issue 6 print version. Amendments are shown in brackets.

MATT STAPLETON again proposed beginning the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. “I’d just love to see us say the Pledge, since it’s a public meeting, a government meeting.” The matter will be added to the agenda for a vote at the next meeting. [Council members generally agreed during the meeting to incorporate the Pledge of Allegiance into future meetings; the matter will not be on the agenda or come up for a vote.]

County commissioner Marcia Stobie said the county finance committee has recommended MSU Extension funding be eliminated from the county budget and that funding be drawn from a millage; 25 to 30 members of the public attended the last commissioners’ meeting to describe how MSU Extension benefits kids, farmers, and zoning and planning. Inquiries into Ms. Rider-Novak’s concerns about the Maples adminstration continue. The Building Department will raise permit fees, and six applicants have been interviewed for the county administrator position. The August 16 meeting will see a selection from 3 applicants; the preliminary coumty budget will also be presented.

Michele Cannaert said artist Greg Kulak of River Rd. will lend one of his sculptures to the plaza in front of the Conundrum Café. [The cheerful sculpture, Yellow Leg, can be seen in the plaza now!] She proposed a baby’s breath dig-up again this year; long-blade spades are necessary to get the whole root. She suggested that a “Historic M-168” sign be installed when the Village takes over the road.

The June bills were approved. Receipts were $35,662.90; expenses were $26,564.56 for accounts payable, $11,414.20 for payroll; total expenses were $37,978.76.

Ken Bonney made his first official DPW report. Ken made more space in the beach lot for parking and for two Porta-Johns. White St., George McManus, Pearson St. and Lincoln Ave. require repairs and resurfacing. At Pearson by the Post Office a lip will be put in on Washington to redirect water to the street rather than into the PO’s gravel lot, which now looks like the Grand Canyon. The estimated cost of $28K will be drawn from the local and major streets funds. At Matt Stapleton’s urging, the council voted to put the job out for bid, with selection to be made at the next meeting.

The Village spends $25 per Porta-John per extra cleaning (one cleaning per week is included in the $83  monthly fee). About 3 cleanings (meaning two extra) are now needed per week. Council discussed [adding]  two units at the Park [for a total of 4] and two on the beach [for a total of 4 there] to save money on extra cleanings. Apparently people have been going in the bushes. Ken Bonney has put another garbage can down at the beach. Reg mentioned that so far this year no major trash washups have occurred.

Ken Holmes said BLUA will put an ad out for a CE licensed worker.

Linda Manville, Park and Rec liaison, touted the content on the Elberta Farmers Market website (elbertafarmersmarket.com), including recipes, a list of what’s in season, and profiles of vendors (Elberta Market does farm checks to ensure products are truly local; Cindy Lannin says Frankfort will implement this next year). The website was built at a reasonable rate by Jordan Bates. The Solstice Committee wrapup meeting thoroughly examined this year’s event, and planning has begun for 2012. All the expenses for Solstice are accounted with for receipts. Reg thanked  Bill and Connie for their work all year long on Solstice, the most important event of the year.

Linda asked whether pay for office staff would be shifted percentagewise to draw more out of the Parks and Rec fund. Reg said the staff will be paid as usual out of Village funds. Linda said some members of Park and Rec learned of the transfer of the Commission’s books for the first time at their last meeting and were confused and surprised. Connie Manke said P&R felt concerns about finances should have been addressed last year. Reg said council meeting minutes would show that he (as P&R liaison) brought the problem before the council twice and nothing was done. Ken Holmes said in the past council never knew what was going on with P&R. Laura said she offered to help with the P&R books twice last year but got no response.

Bill Soper discussed new bases for the propellers in the Marina Park, as they seem to be sinking, along with a new paint job for them and the anchor memorial. The flagpole is askew. Ken Holmes said the props’ installation required large machinery and was an ordeal. Bill said it was possible to simply prop up the cement bases.

Manistee YouthBuild cleaned up 110 lbs. of garbage after July 4. Someone tipped over a Porta-John and busted a soap dispenser. Security cameras may be installed to monitor the area.

No decision was made on the proposal to combine the zoning administrator position with that of DPW.

Reg was to sign the purchase agreement for the dunes property on the 22nd.

Linda (Budget Committee) was concerned that two funds have been closed (the Marina docominiums sold to Kris Mills; the EDC fund), [and those closures account for much of the deficit reduction; since these fund closures represent a one-time savings, we need to be looking for other ways to close the gap]. [According to Laura Manville, Council disbanded the EDC fund in August of 2010 because there had been no activity on it for years. The funds were reappropriated toward renovations on the Lifesaving Station, including new doors.] Our deficit [now stands at] $539,726, [down from $808,119]. [Linda pointed out what she thought was a discrepancy that indicated a further deficit increase of some $26K; in fact, this was an excess in expenditures over revenues that occurred in 2009, not 2010, when we actually went positive in revenues over expenditures by $21,474. Without a copy of the audit at the meeting, it was not possible to clear up this simple confusion.] The five-year plan has been submitted to the state and approved.

Council approved the new P&R bylaws and budget amendments; the principal named office shall be changed to “the village office,” since Sharyn Bower will be entering checks. P&R budget is $3,250; Solstice is $19,900.

Emily Votruba, a member of Friends of Betsie Bay, and Vickie Smith, of Wetland and Wildlife Solutions, presented on the invasive phragmites in the bay and inlet. DEQ advises using an aquatic herbicide. The project is estimated to take 3 years. The herbicide’s effect on wildlife and fish was discussed; no ill effects have been reported in other areas, such as Onekama, that have undertaken eradication.Council voted to grant FoBB permission to eradicate the weed on Village property. FoBB will contact other waterfront property owners for  permission for other areas. The project will be paid for by grants and donations.

Award certificates reviving the tradition of recognizing retiring council members (the Certificate of Appreciation) and the Elberta Star, were submitted by Art Melendez and approved by the council.

 

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