By Pat Maurer
April 16 officially became Larry Acton Day at the Clare Commission meeting Monday evening.
Acton, a Clare resident for more than forty years, died March 20. City Manager Ken Hibl said in his agenda report, “Larry was a respected community member who was enthusiastically involved in a multitude of community activities vital to making Clare a great place to live.”’
He was a scout master, a 30-year member of the National Ski Patrol and was president of the Clare Jaycees and Michigan vice-president of the Jaycees of America.
The board voted unanimously to recognize his life and service. His family: wife Laurene and sons Darren and Larry L. were presented with the resolution at the city meeting.
Clare Football Coach Kelly Luplow was also honored at the city meeting with a special unanimous resolution and Mayor’s Key of Excellence. In March, Luplow, who has been Clare’s varsity coach for 32 years, was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Hibl said in his agenda report, “During that time period, he has earned a phenomenal reputation and an enviable record of 183 wins, 17 play-off appearances, and four district championship titles.”
Near the end of the meeting, Commissioner Bob Bonham asked the Commission to consider special assessment to pave a portion of Brookwood Street, specifically the area from Vinewood to Briarwood. “That road is so bad,” he said, “in terrible shape and it is heavily traveled. My personal opinion is that the people that own the property there are already getting a break [on taxes]. Now they should ‘bite the bullet’ and pay to get that road paved.”
Hibl said he would find out what the costs would be to pave that portion of the road.
Hibl also told the board that four letters were issued recently to property owners regarding blight issues with copies to the city attorney. There was some discussion about the Bolle property on Fourth Street where demolition debris is being stored. “That is a landfill issue and is not allowed in the city,” Hibl said. He added that the city would consider an extension for the property cleanup deadline, but couldn’t allow “grinding” of the material on that site as planned.
Other business at the city meeting Monday included:
*approval of a one-year lease on the new soccer field property to Rawson Farms and three year leases on 15.7 acres just south of the Industrial Park plus three years additional farming lease on the City’s airport property.
*approval of resolution for two payments related to the ongoing Wastewater Treatment Capitol Improvement Project: $130,699.76 to J. R. Heineman and $12,903.66 to J. Ranck Electric. Inc. Hibl reported that the project should be complete in June with final payments by September.
*approval of the annual PILOT [Payment in Lieu of Taxes] properties in the city. All four parcels are four percent PILOTS, Hibl reported
*re-appointed Dawn Thomas for another three-year term on the Clare Downtown Development Authority and the Clare Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
*approval to extend the contract with the Teamsters for another month while negotiations continue.
*discussed the Treasurer’s Report presented by Treasurer Steven Kingsbury, who said, “We are right on target [with the budget]. Revenues are higher and expenses lower than we projected.”
*discussed the budgeting process for the next year’s budget. Committee members Jean McConnell and Tom Koch lauded department heads for their hard work. “We’ve met with department heads, and there’s been a huge effort to cut costs where ever possible,” she said. Koch agreed, saying, “They have shown good management skills. I was really impressed.” Kingsbury added, “We have been fortunate to have that rainy day fund. My goal is to get it built up again.”
*during his report, City Manager Ken Hibl said two excursion trains will stop in Clare in the next year, the first during the Amish Auction next month and the second, a steam train, during next year’s Irish Festival. He said the trains would bring up to 600 visitors to the community.
*Hibl also said Clare Pride Day would be April 23.