By Pat Maurer
The Clare City Commission room overflowed with family and friends Tuesday evening when the City honored Ben Walters, who died early last month.
In his agenda report, City Manager Ken Hibl wrote, “The City unexpectedly and tragically lost Mr. Ben Walters, one of its community leaders and dear friends, on August 3, 2014. The City Commission is asked to formally recognize the life and service of Mr. Walters by resolution.”
The resolution was accepted on behalf of family and friends by Walters’ life partner Cheryl Yesney, who thanked the Commission for the honor to Ben.
In another matter, Cops and Doughnuts owner Al White told the Commission that they will be featured on the Food Network – Cooking Channel (Charter channel 123) as part of the “Doughnut Showdown on September 19 at 10 p.m. He said they will compete with others for the “best doughnut” award.
In his agenda report Hibl told the board that according to letters from Governor Snyder and the Attorney General’s Office, “The charter amendment decriminalizing marijuana use in the City is not consistent with the Home Rule City Act.” Hibl said the Governor declined to approve the amendment.
“As previously discussed with the City Commission,” Hibl reported, “this topic will be included on our November ballots, but even if the majority of the Clare electorate vote in support of the initiative, it is irrelevant as marihuana use and possession remains illegal, and all law enforcement officials remain obligated to enforce state and federal law.”
Hibl also reported that Consumers Energy will present a site plan application to the City’s Planning Commission and has set September 26 at 10 a.m. for their groundbreaking.
Consumer’s Energy will build a new service center on 20 acres of the planned new Industrial Park North.
The City Commission also held two public hearings on proposed ordinance changes; the first to limit the times peddlers are allowed to solicit residents of the city and the second limiting the times that fireworks can be discharged in the city.
Salespeople with a city permit will be allowed to solicit in the city between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. if that change is approved at the next meeting.
Fireworks can only be discharged the day before, day of, and day after a holiday, but not between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. according to what the State will allow. That change will also be voted on at the next city meeting.
In other business at the meeting Tuesday:
*The Commission agreed to a recommended Traffic Safety Committee recommendation that only right turns from East Wheaton onto McEwan will be allowed between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. when school is in session.
*The City approved the use of a part of the Public Safety Building as an alternate site for 911 in case of an emergency.
*Treasurer Steven Kingsbury reported that for the first time since 2008-09, revenue sharing has increased above $300,000. This year’s figure is $302,746.
*The Commission approved a local permit for Four Leaf Brewing, needed for issuance of a brewer’s license through the United States Department of Agriculture.
*The Commission approved a one-year contract with Volunteer Energy which will lock in natural gas prices charged to the city at .4777 per cubic foot.
*Also approved was the annual review and renewal of the Michigan Department of Transportation Title VI Plan and Policy. The approval is required because the city is a recipient of Federal-aid highway funds.
*Designation of Luke Potter as primary and Sarah Schumacher as alternate employee delegate for the annual MERS Conference and Steve Kingsbury as management representative.
*Approval to submit a grant application to the USDA for $14,000 to help the Clare Fire Department purchase and install a compressor for breathing air. The cost of the equipment and installation is just under $19,000 and the CFD Fire Fund will pay the difference.
*Gus Murphy (Jelenek) was reappointed for another term on the Clare Downtown Development Authority and the Clare Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.