Clare okays inspection of unsafe buildings

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

Clare Mayor Pat Humphrey presents a certificate to John Merillat honoring him for his service to the City while serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Clare Mayor Pat Humphrey presents a certificate to John Merillat honoring him for his service to the City while serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

In a quiet meeting Monday evening, Clare City Commissioners  amended the Williams contract for building inspection services, honored John Merillat, approved cleaning a well and approved an Employee Health Care Agreement.

Following an extensive discussion, the Commission approved a contract amendment with the contract with Building Inspector Dave Williams to add “conducting structural integrity and rehabilitation evaluations of buildings in the City that are considered potentially unsafe or blighted beyond reasonable repair.”

The amendment would pay Williams $300 for each evaluation, and would include all related subsequent actions, like court appearances and testimony and attending any hearings. City Commissioner Tom Koch questioned, “Why wasn’t Mr. Williams contract [amendment] constructed on an hourly basis?” He said, “What if he goes in there’s nothing wrong?”

City Manager Ken Hibl explained, “There would have to be a reason for the inspection.” Koch asked, “Is this something beyond a code violation?,” to which Hibl replied, “Generally, yes.” He said the contract amendment could be “tiered at so much for an inspection and more if the issue goes to court,” if that is what the Commission wants.”  He said the inspections would be for “structural integrity and would be for a public safety issue only.”

Koch said he didn’t have any problem with the flat rate in that case and would support it.

The approval followed Public Comment by Angela Isaac who reported blight on her block of Fourth Street, saying a domestic dispute three weeks ago had resulted in a broken door and windows in the residence and nothing had been done in that time to fix the damages. Meanwhile she said, there were children living in the home and adults there that used obscenities outside, “an inordinate amount of traffic that could be drug trafficking and other blight problems. “There’s a big issue down there,” she told the commission.

Mayor Pat Humphrey said, “We will look into this and respond to your concerns.”

Merillat was honored for his contribution to the Clare Parks and Recreation program in the City over the three years he served on that advisory board. City Manager Ken Hibl said Merillat was a great addition to the board and that he would be missed. The city voted 3-0 (Bob Bonham and Karla Swanson were absent from the meeting) to approve Merillat’s recognition.

Well cleaning for Public Water Well No. 6 was budgeted in this year, a good thing as Hibl reported because its pump output has been declining and it has developed a vibration. DPW Superintendent John Holland recommended the city accept the low bid of $30,415.00 from Northern Well and Pump to do the cleaning, and the City Commission approved the recommendation unanimously.

The Commission also approved an extension of the current health insurance plan for the Teamsters Union while negotiations continue between them and the City. The plan, which covers all full-time employees including the Teamsters Union employees, expired March 31 with their contract and an agreement with the Teamsters has not yet been reached for a new contract.

Board and Committee appointments Monday evening included the reappointment of John Kline, Jeff Punches and Dennis Purkis on the Board of Review and an increase in their compensation to $13 per hour; accepting the resignation of John Merillat from the City’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and appointing Michael Craig to his seat for a three-year term.

Following reports by the City Treasurer and City Manager, the Commission approved the payment of bills for March totaling $111,426.77

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