Clare approves Phase 1 of Rec Complex

September 25, 2015

Long time chair of both the Clare Zoning Board of Appeals and Chair of the Planning Commission; John Kline, shown here with wife Melanie and Mayor Pat Humphrey, has resigned due to his move to Midland.

Long time chair of both the Clare Zoning Board of Appeals and Chair of the Planning Commission; John Kline, shown here with wife Melanie and Mayor Pat Humphrey, has resigned due to his move to Midland.

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Although two City Commissioners disagreed, the Clare City Commission voted 3-2 Monday evening to approve a low bid of $331,348. from McGuirk Sand and Gravel for Phase I of the proposed Recreation Complex on the south side of Clare.

Phase I of the complex plan will include earthwork, a paved parking lot and infrastructure and storm water and drainage work
The motion also included authorization for a 15-year bond process to fund the project. Repayment of the bonds for the next eight years will be from the ten-year Clare City Recreational Millage passed by voters two years ago. At that point voters will have to vote to renew the millage.

That was the problem for two of the City Commissioners, who urged that the board wait. Commissioner, and Mayor Pro-tem Jean McConnell said, “You don’t know if the recreational millage will continue. If it doesn’t this will have to be paid from the General Fund. And, there is also the cost of maintenance (to consider). Maybe it would be better to look at this in a year and a half again.”

Commissioner Bob Bonham echoed McConnell’s view, saying he agreed that the board should wait before committing to the project. “We have several parking lots that need paving and a playground that needs bathrooms,” he said.

City Manager Ken Hibl noted that the millage passed in 2012 by a wide margin of voters, who were told the funds would be used to develop a soccer field on the property purchased earlier. In his agenda report he said, “Development of this new recreation complex was the primary basis and rationale for asking City residents to consider the recreation millage and is considered the reason for the significant majority approval.” At the meeting he said, “It (turning the project bid and bonding down) could mean a loss of confidence by the voters who voted for the millage.”

According to a spread sheet prepared by City Treasurer Steven Kingsbury, millage revenue is $63,007.89 for this year with $$19,558.00 scheduled for payment on the land purchase, leaving $43,449.80. Annual payments on the bond would be $26,851.83 leaving $16,598 available for other park improvements. The amount collected increases each year. The forecast for 2019-20 is $75,560 in revenue from the millage, leaving $29,150.27 after the land and bond payments.
Kingsbury noted that interest rates are low now – from 1.8 to 3.5 percent. “We won’t see any cheaper rates in the future,” he said. “It’s a tough decision.

Parks and Recreation Director Joy Simmer passed out a list of some of the grants they plan on applying for which could help pay for the project. “For this first

Officer Matt Plumley, a member of the Clare Police Reserves for the past 11 years, is resigning. He was honored at the City meeting by the Commission and is shown here with Chief Brian Gregory and Mayor Pat Humphrey.

Officer Matt Plumley, a member of the Clare Police Reserves for the past 11 years, is resigning. He was honored at the City meeting by the Commission and is shown here with Chief Brian Gregory and Mayor Pat Humphrey.

phase we need to bond,” she said. “It would be nice to show the community we are moving forward on this.”

Over the past couple of years, the Parks and Rec Board has been saving for matching funds. Simmer said there are over 40 on the potential grant list and said the list she passed out only had the largest ones.

County Commissioner Leonard Strouse said, “We have a great grant writer in Lori Ware, and we wouldn’t be against her helping apply for grants for this.”
Concerning maintenance concerns, Kingsbury added, “As a general rule the parks are in pretty good shape.”
Commissioners Karla Swanson, Gus Murphy and Mayor Pat Humphrey voted for the low bid and going ahead with the bond issue. McConnell and Bonham voted against it.

In another matter the Commission honored two retiring members of the Reserve Police; Corporal Carl Bryans,

Thirteen-year member of the Clare Police Reserves, Cpl. Carl Bryans is retiring. He is shown here with Clare Chief Brian Gregory and Mayor Pat Humphrey.

Thirteen-year member of the Clare Police Reserves, Cpl. Carl Bryans is retiring. He is shown here with Clare Chief Brian Gregory and Mayor Pat Humphrey.

retiring after 13 years with the police and Officer Matt Plumley, resigning after 11 years with the police.

The Commission also honored John Kline, long time Chairman and member of the Clare City Board of Review (since 1998) and Chair and Member of the City Planning Commission. He and wife Melanie recently moved to Midland.

Other business at the City meeting included:
*a one-year renewal of the contract with Volunteer Energy, the City’s natural gas service vendor.

*board appointments including Josh Clare to the Zoning Board of Appeals and reappointment of Bob Meister and Gar Seiter to the Construction Board of Appeals.

*setting the Halloween Trick or Treat hours for Friday, October 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Both Farwell and Harrison will have the same date and hours this year. Coleman will have Trick or Treating from 6 to 8 p.m.

*a report that painting of the new water tower will begin next week.

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