By Pat Maurer
The Clare City Commission approved a resolution Monday opposing legislation from Lt. Governor Brian Calley that proposes eliminating industrial personal property taxes, a move that would cost the city at least $100,000 in annual revenue. “The full impact could be even greater,” City Manager Ken Hibl said, “if we lose all categories of personal property taxes.”
In his report to the Commissioners Monday evening, Hibl said, “I am personally concerned that the potential to quickly ‘push’ this proposal through the lame duck session is real unless there is sufficiently strong grass roots opposition that will influence legislative votes.”
He said, “We have informed (State) Representative Joel Johnson that we agree in principle that the state’s personal property tax structure is in need of updating, but our overriding concern that the state will take a similar approach to what has occurred with state revenue sharing …that being personal property tax will be eliminated and municipalities will not be provided equitable replacement revenues.”
He continued, saying that state revenue sharing has been reduced more than $900,000 to the city since 2001-02. “These are revenues that were promised to us under historic revenue sharing legislature … broken promises … made to Michigan counties and municipalities by previous Lansing administrations…”
Hibl said the Michigan Municipal League met in emergency session and voted unanimously to oppose the “Calley” plan. He said, “In our conversations with him, Rep. Johnson has not state whether he will/will not support the Calley Plan.”
The City unanimously voted to adopt the resolution opposing the Calley Plan.
In another matter Monday evening, the City Commission recognized Firefighter Marv Farley for 20 years officially and 25 years actual service to the fire department and recognized Luke Potter (also a Clare firefighter) for ten years of service to the City’s Department of Public Works.
Clare Fire Chief Jim Chapman also introduced two new firefighters: Joe Huston and Spencer King.
In other business Monday evening, the City Commission:
*Held a Public Hearing and subsequently approved a 12-year 50 percent Industrial Facilities Exemption Request from robotic Welded Parts, who is adding $457,000 in new equipment.
*Approved an annexation request from Vernon Township resident William Wilson, to allow him to connect to the City’s sewer system.
*Approved the purchase of a new thermal imaging camera for the fire department from low bidder Douglas Safety Systems for a cost of $8,550. The purchase was in the City budget.
*Approved establishing new bank accounts and signatories and appointing an Investment Officer and Electronic Banking Administrator (Treasurer Steven Kingsbury) as required by the conditions of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan requirements for the Waste Water Treatment Plant improvements.
*Approved a $39,299.49 payment to WWTP project general contractor J.R. Heineman.
*Re-appointed Elaine Demasi and Ben Walters to the City Planning Commission for three more years and Cheryl Yesney for three more years on the Zoning board of Appeals.