Salted with Sharks

“Do We Want to Remain a Village? I Think It’s Worth It”—Diane Jenks

In Elberta Farmers' Market, Gov't Watch, Meeting Minutes and Recordings, Open Season, Politics, Village Money Situation on November 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm


—DRAFT Minutes—

November 20, 2014 • 7 PM

||| AUDIO |||

The newly elected Village of Elberta Board of Trustees held its first regular meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2014, at the Community Building, 401 First Street, Elberta, Michigan.

The meeting was called to order by president Diane Jenks at 7:08 p.m.

Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance

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

Absent:           Joyce Gatrell, Jean Sikes

Public: Lois Schram, Cathy Anderson, Richard Jenkins, Bob and Bonnie Ness

Approval of Minutes Tabled. Minutes were received late.

Approval of Agenda Motion by Soper, seconded by O’Dwyer, to approve the agenda as presented. All ayes. Motion passed.

Agenda Conflict: None stated.

Public Input 7:10: None.


Letter from Village attorney regarding renewed litigation from Loy Putney. Letter from Parks&Rec Commission regarding reservation of the LSS for Solstice, formation of committee to examine whether to have Solstice or not this year (see attached). Jenks said LSS is already reserved for Solstice and council would be willing to hold that reservation until January.


MML dues: $531. Record-Patriot Subscription: 35.40. DEQ drinking water and municipal assistance: $767.50. MML CDL Drivers Consortium fee: $70. BLUA: $495.64. BenCo Road Commission salt: $1,734.91. Benzie Chamber of Commerce membership: $135. Total: $3,769.45

Motion by Holmes, seconded by O’Dwyer, to pay these bills. All ayes. Motion passed.

Old Business: Benzie Bus Stop

Jenks: Not sure who will pay for the shelter. Wanted to discuss location of stop with Ken Bonney but Bonney not present this evening. O’Dwyer: If there’s a shelter, should block winds from the north if the stop is located at the Penfold Park. Holmes: Wondered if a stop would interfere with the Farmers’ Mkt. Will have to keep it plowed in winter. Suggests location between Conundrum and Mix’s Barbershop on one-way Sheridan Street. Jenks: Invite Chad Hollenbeck back for another meeting and get more specifics on what they need.

Old Business: Pump House Files

Holmes has taken most of the files to Ken Bonney’s office in garage, to be stored in an overhead storage area. Consulted the village attorney and was told that anything having to do with past lawsuits has to be kept forever.

Old Business: Vacating Acre Street

Jenkins said a delay in the Acre Street vacating because Village couldn’t combine that payment with his notary-application payment. Holmes: Need to complete the vacating before taxes are calculated in the spring.

AGENDA 1: New Council

O’Dwyer and Soper introduce themselves. Jean Sikes had a prior commitment so couldn’t make it to this first meeting. Jenks: Eric Cline and Roxanne Nicholas (Treasury) and Chris Olson (consultant on DEP and internal controls) want to have a meeting to bring new council members up to speed. Jenkins is assembling materials for new council: Robert’s Rules cheatsheet (Jenkins created), new General Law handbook, Planning Commission and Parks&Recreation bylaws, contact sheet for all members. Mary Charles is usual contact person at MML; MML website helpful information. Council is still short one member (total 7) because of Wilkins’s resignation.

AGENDA 2: Goals of Council

Jenks asked members to voice their short term and long term goals.

Soper: Short-term, need to address the DEP, make concrete steps toward eliminating the debt. Seems like we’ve been backsliding. Also upgrade and improve the website to make it more navigable and with more information. Long-term: reduce the deficit and develop a surplus. Enlist volunteers to make improvements.

Holmes: Get rid of the debt in two years no matter how much it hurts. It’s already hurt some. Would hate to see the tax rate go up, Village already taxed to the limit. Long term: Take care of the problem on the beach and make docks operational at the Mini Pond. Water table is coming up right now, making boat docks viable again.

O’Dwyer: Get finances under control. Increase the tax base by encouraging building. Some new development may be scared off by the financial situation. Long-term: Would like to see a campground and/or mini cabins for rent.

Jenks: Glad everyone agrees finances are number one priority. Would like a DNR trust fund grant to improve the beach. Village is property rich and tax poor. Villagers value our assets, even small ones. Make these pay for themselves. Possibly lease some of them. Lots of possibilities for EDNA.

Holmes: The Indians need to clean up their property so people can see the bay. Have had no response from them.

Jenks: Think their land division dissolved. Don’t have current contact info. Should rent the pavilions and the Community Building. Had 11 LSS rentals last year, already have 22 for next year. Kristi Mills’s contract says she’ll fundraise for LSS improvements, and she’s set up a vendor referral program that will bring in some money. Floors need to be commercially cleaned. April 4 will be a Bridal Expo, proceeds go to LSS improvements.

Holmes: Maybe have more special meetings so we’re not here for three hours for council meetings.

Jenks: Could hold workshop meetings on particular topics and invite members of the public. Would not be compulsory for council, but give oppty to explore topics and be better informed before meetings. First will be meeting with DEP with state reps.

O’Dwyer: Could have workshop meetings at other more casual locations such as the Mayfair or outdoors. Potuck.

Jenks: We should tour Village assets, assess what we have, get Kenny to lead the way.

Holmes: Need a map of our parks.

Jenks: Need signs. Penfold sign is done, not up yet.

Holmes: No one knows where the Dune Park is.

Jenks: Suggest each council member choose a committee to be on. Budget Finance and Audit committee is the most important one right now and need interested, committed members. According to Cline/Olson, can accept non-council members. Open committee membership up to the public, with councilperson as chair. Come up with application and descriptions for each committee. Holmes create description for BLUA/Fire Safety. Policies, Procedures and Internal Controls is another important committee. Still need to create an employee handbook.

Holmes: Renaissance is coming to Graceland, will increase tax revenue for Township

Jenks: People don’t realize we really could lose this village. We don’t automatically go to Frankfort; we get absorbed by the township. Do we want to remain a village? I’m willing to work for it.

AGENDA 3: Library Building

Jenks: Would like a letter of intent from township regarding desire to purchase the building. Not a given that we’ll sell to township. Sign needs to go back in window. Need to make sure sale price covers cost of appraisal, survey. Holmes: Suggest going to a twp meeting. Bell tower will also have to be moved if it’s sold to another party. O’Dwyer: is note about sale on Village website? No, and not sure what to say if someone calls. Jenks: Need clear answers about sale for Harlan (of Treasury). Holmes: Cld invite twp to our meeting but no sense asking during hunting season. Jenks will call Carl.

AGENDA 4: Penfold Park Sale

Jenks: Not sure we even have a clear deed. Park sale will require a referendum. If we do it as a request for proposals we’ll have more control over what goes there. Set up a minimum price, put it out for bids and proposals. A committee can choose. Property has to recover $45K per year in order to make up for not selling for $170K. Dredging could help make it generate revenue. Long term, it will make much more than $170K. Must have acceptable plan of action to show state. Holmes: It’s a navigable waterway. Can’t sell it anyway. Jenks: Please bring written proof of that for us to show state.

Committee/Department Reports

DPW: No report submitted by Ken Bonney and Bonney not at this meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: Easier to read nowadays. (Available in Village office)

Parks & Rec: 4th year of Xmas tree sale, at Penfold Park Pavilion. 30 trees, blue spruce and Fraser fir, $30 each. Fri, Sat, Sun only. First Friday 1-7 pm, 1-5 Sat and Sun, and 5-7 on Fridays after that. Warming station, cocoa and Solstice/Park&Rec merchandise for sale. Emily Votruba: “I promise it will be warm.” Jenks: Decorating contest this year. Town done up like Whoville. $10 entry fee, winner take all. Cathy Anderson: Materials in your packets include: P&R Treasurer’s Report: Farmers’ Mkt Annual Report (available in Village office and on website); EDNA 2015 Management Plan. Andy Bolander appointed project manager of EDNA. Solstice did make money this year.

Public Input open 8:15

Votruba: Happy to hear Jenks’s ideas on Penfold Park. It’s my favorite park, lots of potential. Offers help. Moved Xmas tree sale to that park in order to generate more traffic, interest in that park. Thanks to Cathy for tremendous work clarifying and clearing things up for Park&Rec. Sue Oseland has great ideas for Farmers’ Mkt outlined in the annual report. Farmers’ Mkt known all over the state, one of the best in the state. Well-run, perfect layout.

Cathy: Thanks to new council members for stepping up and to Jenks and Holmes for their continued service.

Motion by Jenks, seconded by Soper, to adjourn the meeting at 8:15. All ayes. Motion passed.

Parks & Recreation 2015 Solstice Festival Letter of Intent

Farmers Market Year End Report for 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: