City to discuss liaison agreement with BOE

April 6, 2018

By Pat Maurer

An Intergovernmental Agreement between the City and the Clare Board of Education was not initially approved Monday evening pending a meeting between the two entities to discuss the length of the agreement and the ratio of splitting the costs of the school district liaison officer.

All commissioners at the meeting (Mayor Pro-tem Jean McConnell was absent) stressed that they believe in the necessity and importance of having a City officer at the schools during the school year for safety reasons, but some questioned the length of the agreement and how the costs are divided.

Firefighter Marv Farley, shown here with Mayor Pat Humphrey, was honored Monday evening for 25 years of service to the Clare Fire Department.

Firefighter Marv Farley, shown here with Mayor Pat Humphrey, was honored Monday evening for 25 years of service to the Clare Fire Department.

Commissioner Karla Swanson first questioned the five-year length of the agreement, saying she thought the agreement could be approved on a year-to-year basis. She also questioned the City’s share of the liaison officer’s wages and benefits, saying that he (the officer) was at the school for three-quarters of the year. “I think a 75-25 percent split or a 70-30 percent split would be more fair to the City.”

The Clare Board of Education had already approved the agreement which stipulates that the school district will pay half of the annual cost of the liaison officer at their March regular meeting.

Commissioner Bob Bonham said he felt that the 50-50 split was fair to the City. “I think this is a good deal.” The total cost for the liaison officer’s wages and benefits is a little over $80,000 annually. He noted that the City Police Department is already responsible for safety in the community and that the school is a part of the city.

City Manager Ken Hibl suggested having the school liaison officer Brian David come in and “share a day” of his duties at the school, which he said includes instruction as well as protection.

He also noted that the agreement which was drafted by the City staff, although for a five-year period, has a clause allowing either party to opt out of it with a 90-day notice to the other.

Swanson said she hadn’t realized that they had that option and had been concerned about the long-term cost to the City.

Commissioner Gus Murphy asked, “How long is this going to go on?”

Hibl said no one could tell how long school security will be needed.

City Treasurer Steve Kingsbury said, “We have a significant responsibility. Our police protection is for the school too.”

After a 3-1 vote that didn’t approve the agreement with Bonham being the only yes vote, the Commission discussed that matter at length, and Hibl suggested that the City Commission meet with the Board of Education with their questions and concerns.

The Commission unanimously approved another motion extending the intergovernmental agreement, which expires on November 1, but only through June 30th of 2019 with the stipulation that both the Commission and BOE meet to discuss the City concerns and a long-term school security plan.

In another matter, Commissioners approved appointing a Clare Railroad Depot Governing Board consisting of the City Clerk, City Treasurer, City Manager, representatives from the Depot tenants and local “railroad aficionados.”

Since the funds have been raised to complete the interior and exterior of the building and allow occupancy of the building by the Clare County Arts Council and the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce, the task of the Depot Committee has been completed, and will be disbanded.

The Committee will come together once more for a formal community ribbon-cutting celebration this spring.

Landscaping the site, relocating a second donated caboose to the site and construction of a public trail head remains to be done. The Governing Board will oversee the next phase of the project.

During his report to the Commission, Hibl said the Planning Commission will be considering a site plan for the expansion of Gateway Lanes and that they will consider an ordinance rescinding the City’s taxi ordinance since it is now regulated by the state.

He also noted there will be a special meeting April 16 about a façade improvement to the old Maxwell’s building which will soon house a new business, the “Time Out Tavern.”

In other business Monday:

*The City approved the sale of a Department of Public Works blade truck to Quality Truck and Trailer for $3,250.

*The Commission approved payment of flooring for the Depot of just over $5,000 to Wood’s Household using the $5,000 grant from the Clare Community Foundation and the balance of $142.56 from the Depot account.

*The Commission approved a zoning ordinance prohibiting Medical Marijuana facilities of any type north of M-115 (McEwan Street) in Clare.

*Appointed Tina Droomer to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to replace Judy Brankel, who recently resigned from the board.

*The Commission approved the payment of bills totaling $41,475.96.

After the regular meeting the Commission met in closed session to discuss settlement of pending litigations in Halicek vs the City of Clare. Following the closed session the board approved the terms of the settlement as discussed.

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