Salted with Sharks

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

||| AUDIO |||

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.


  1. Thank You!

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