By Pat Maurer
In a brief meeting Monday evening, the Clare City Commission hear about a new remote video connection for the Clare Police Department which will allow arraignment hearings from Clare officers to the Courts in Harrison.
City Manager Ken Hibl said in his report, “The Clare County Prosecutor’s office and Clare county Magistrate have agreed to the ‘live’ remote appearances of police officers for arraignment hearings, which will result in tremendous resource savings for us in respect to time spent by our officers at the county building (at least one hour per hearing plus an hour of commute time( and fuel costs in travels between Clare and Harrison. The cost to us will be approximately $1,000 for the purchase of the needed equipment, which will be installed for us at the Clare PD by Ken Chinavare.”
Technology is taking another step forward for the city with the upcoming test using email to deliver utility bills to city residents agreeing to participate in the service. Hibl also reported that pagers and cell phones for the Wastewater Treatment Plant employees will be replace with a “tablet,” allowing the city to save monthly charges while managing and controlling the water treatment pumping systems remotely. “The person on-call can even monitor and control systems from home,” he said.
Police Chief Brian Gregory also reported that his department now has two “hummers” donated for police use from the recent military downsizing. “We are having the two painted in the PD’s black and white colors,” he reported. One will be used for parades and official PR functions and the second will be equipped and used in emergency situations where a regular police vehicle would not operate.
Gregory said the vehicles should be in use within a month. “We need to let people know that these vehicles are ours at no cost to the city,” he said. “When we don’t need them anymore, they will have to be returned.”
He said there are now 54 similar vehicles on the road in Michigan municipalities, donated through the Government surplus program. He also told the board that paint and possible painting of the vehicles has been donated.
The board also approved the purchase of new SCBA Battery Packs for the Clare Fire Department. The $8,375 cost of the 25 new packs will be offset by the savings from purchasing about 1,200 batteries per year over a ten-year period. “ The price includes batteries for the new packs.
“The biggest reason we are changing,” Hibl reported, “is a safety issue. If the batteries are installed improperly the battery packs are ruined and have to be replaced and a firefighter could be injured.” The cost of the packs will be covered with money from the Fire Fund.
Other business Monday at the City meeting included Budget workshops for the coming year’s budget.