City employees granted 3% raise

March 7, 2019

By Pat Maurer

Following a closed session at the Clare Commission meeting Monday evening, the board approved two new contracts for the Teamsters Union – both for

DPW employee and Building and Grounds Supervisor Gary Bauer was honored for ten years of employment at the meeting Monday.

DPW employee and Building and Grounds Supervisor Gary Bauer was honored for ten years of employment at the meeting Monday.

employees of the Department of Public Works and Water Treatment Facility.

The new three-year contracts, ratified by both the union and City, will give an overall three percent increase each year beginning July 1st to members; includes a slight increase in on-call pay for hourly employees; a $50 increase in the boot allowance for both unions; a cell phone reimbursement for all full-time employees; and longevity related to paid time off for part-time hourly employees.

In another matter, the completion of the 2.3 mile gap in the 85 mile rail trail from Midland to Baldwin, the only break on the trail, may be one step closer to completion.

At the Clare City meeting, the Commission voted 3-0 to approve the application for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant application for $300K. Then the Michigan Department of Transportation will be able to reapply for a $2.5 million TAP (Transportation Alternative Program) grant to complete the trail. That grant was approved last year, but reapplying is necessary because the Trust Fund grant application was not approved.

If the two grants, totaling $2.8 million to close the “Clare gap” are approved this year, the proposed route to complete the rail trail will change slightly.

City Manager Ken Hibl said although the route for the “Clare gap” of the rail trail through the City is determined up to Maple Road, they have been unable to reach an agreement with the Great Lakes Central Railroad to use the retired railway property west of the City and east of the Clare Moose Lodge. A right-of-way lease from MDOT moving the trail to the south side of M-115 will solve that problem. Trail users would reconnect with the rail trail west of the Moose Lodge.

The use of the trestle bridge near the Moose Lodge has also been secured for the rail trail through a ten-year lease with the bridge owners, the Department of Natural Resources which was also approved Monday. The lease will come up for renewal every five years after the initial ten years.

The lease with MDOT would allow trail users to safely travel along M-115 to connect with the trail on the west side of the Moose Lodge
Another approval by the City Commission Monday evening will allow the rehabilitation of two iron removal filters at the City’s Water Treatment Facility, a project that will cost nearly $300,000.

Hibl reported that the City uses two of the four filters, numbers 3 and 4, and the “media in those filters is deteriorating and needs replacement. He said, “We feel certain the filters are nearing impending failure as we have started receiving customer complaints regarding poor water quality.”

The City has four filters, with only numbers 3 and 4 in use for as long as City officials remember. Filters 1 and 2, unused for many years, are in good enough condition to be rehabilitated for use until numbers 3 and 4 can be replaced, a project that will cost much more, according to a recent Peerless Midwest inspection.

The rehabilitation of the two iron removal filters will cost $296,133, Hibl reported, but said, “Steve (Kingsbury, City Treasurer) has coordinated with our bonding attorney to confirm that the City may expend those funds now and then reimburse itself from bond proceeds for the pending Water System Improvement Project later this year.”

The rehabilitation project will take approximately six weeks, Hibl said.

The Commission also reviewed the history of the City’s ownership of Shamrock Lake in preparation for their March 18 meeting when they will determine whether or not to dissolve the Lake Board. The meeting will be held at the Pere Marquette District Library in Room A.

During his City Manager’s Report, Hibl said the City has applied for a Consumers Energy grant to provide funds for entrance signage to Clare Art Alley.

Consumers is sponsoring a “Community Pitch Contest for the CEDAM grant sponsored by Consumers. He said, “All applications will be reviewed by a selections panel and finalists will be notified on March 8th.” If Clare’s application is a finalist, City representatives will be required to register and attend the annual Small Town Conference at the Crystal Mountain Conference Center in mid-April to present their “pitch.” A panel of judges will determine who will win 1st place ($7,500); 2nd Place ($5,000) and 3rd place ($2.500).

Other business at the City meeting included:

*The presentation of a certificate honoring DPW employee and Building and Grounds Supervisor Gary Bauer for ten years with the City.

*Approval of the $40 per lot bid from Elm Creek for mowing vacant and non-compliant lots in the City.

* Approval of the low bid from AWOL for an annual cost of $107,712 (a three-year contract) for Cherry Grove Cemetery maintenance.

*The three- year re-appointment of Denny Purkis, Jeff Punches, Carol Santini and alternate Andrew Santini to the Board of Review.

*The three year reappointment of Dr. Kurt Keppner to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

*The reappointment of Elaine Demasi and Brett Moser to the Planning Commission for three years.

*Approval of bills, totaling $98,588.21.

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