Fayette village council 2012.08.01

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Frustration with spending by Fayette’s park board was discussed by council members at the July 25 meeting.

Questions were asked about whether fees charged for summer ball participation are covering costs, and whether fund-raising efforts by the park board are sufficient.

Village administrator Steve Blue said he spoke with park director Nick Ramos and told him that the board needed to cut back.

“Cut back?” asked councilor Julia Ruger.

With $42,000 spent, she suggested that it was a little late to be cutting back.

Village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver said she can almost guarantee the board will not bring in enough revenue this year to cover expenses.

Zuver wondered if the director only reports to park board or if council approval is needed. She suggested that maybe the board has too much authority.

Village solicitor Tom Thompson said the park budget should be established by council and the decision about how to spend the money is up to the board.

Zuver wondered how closely the board looks at the budget and who it reports to.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt asked Zuver to prepare a report on where the park board budget currently stands. Board members can examine the document at their next meeting.

“They need to realize that we’re not just saying there’s no money,” Marlatt said. “They knew when they were making those expenditures that things were tight. We need to make them aware of the fact that they’ve gone beyond ‘tight’.”

Zuver encouraged council members to look through the finance report and see where money was spent to have their questions answered.

“They need to know we’re concerned,” Marlatt said.

TAX—Blue noted in his report that income tax collections are more than $60,000 behind last year’s amount at this time of the year, although the second quarter report is not yet complete.

Similarly, utility collections are running $13,000 behind for the second quarter. Delinquent payments to the village total $43,700 or 18 percent of billings. That number is far too high, Blue said, and he aims to make a stronger effort to collect.

“After talking with Lisa [Zuver],” he said, “it’s apparent our collection efforts are not sufficient.”

GRANT—Blue said that council should learn before Oct. 25 whether or not the village will receive a $600,000 grant to contribute to the sewer project. When the outcome is known, bids can be sought.

METERS—The grant for water meter replacement is for $22,000 and requires $3,000 from the village. Many questions remain about the grant, such as whether the village can buy new meters and install them as needed rather than tackle the entire village at once, which would cost more than $200,000. 

The village has a large inventory of old meters and Blue will find out whether they can still be used, despite containing some pieces with lead. Only lead-free meters will be available in the future.

EMERGENCY—Council appointed police chief Jason Simon as its representative to a county-wide emergency management board meeting to discuss various issues such as new radios. The board was established when the county began using the 911 emergency system, but it’s been inactive.

CAR WASH—Eagle Car Wash is back in operation, but Blue said he denied a request for the owners to dig their own well but still use the village sewer system.

Council’s Public Works committee recommended denying the request.

AUDIT—The semiannual village audit turned up five findings that Blue described as minor. Zuver made corrections to satisfy the auditors.

TREE CUTTING—Only Knisel offered a bid for Phase 5 of the tree removal plan. The bid was for $3,200, but the Finance committee wants to review the trees scheduled for cutting before make a recommendation to council. The cutting might be delayed for a year.

RANGE—The Public Safety committee discussed public use of the shooting range and suggested that no further action is needed.

PAY—Effective July 23, maintenance supervisor Tom Clemensen’s pay rate is $14.45 an hour.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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