Clare seeks funds for water system improvements

December 27, 2018

By Pat Maurer

After a Public Hearing, the Clare City Commission approved a Notice of Intent to apply for United State Department of Agriculture – Rural Development funding to help pay an estimated $1.1 million for water system improvements and two new wells for the City.

City Manager Ken Hibl reported, “For the past five years, we’ve discussed and considered a wide range of options … to accomplish much-needed improvements to our public water system…needed improvements to our water plant and our public well inventory.”

He continued, “We are simply at the point we can no longer ‘kick this can down the road’.” He said, “We’ve informed Rural Development of the USDA that we will be requesting funding assistance …to accomplish the needed improvements. It is our intent to apply for a loan and any and all available grants to fund the needed improvements.”

Publishing a Notice of Intent is a requirement of the USDA-RD.

In another matter, the earlier request by Mayor Pro-tem Jean McConnell to allow remote attendance and participation at the City meetings was shot down by the rest of the Commission members.

Commissioner Karla Swanson said, “I think it is better for a City Commissioner to make a commitment to be here. Mayor Pat Humphrey agreed. Commissioner Gus Murphy and Bob Bonham both agreed with Swanson. Murphy said, “I think it is important to be here.” Bonham said, “I agree. I think you should be here to vote.”

The City Charter cannot be changed, Hibl said in his agenda report, but you (the board) can change your by-laws. Discussion on making by-law changes followed.

In his report concerning remote attendance he said, “First and foremost, this is solely and strictly a matter for the City Commission to decide.

Humphrey said “I do think we should change our ruling on excused absences. Now we have to approve each one. We should not have to vote to excuse each time.

The Commission also approved the purchase of eleven sets of new turnout gear and 19 new helmets for firefighters at the December 17 regular meeting.
The gear came from Apollo Fire Equipment of Romeo, a long-time supplier for the department at a total cost of $25,933.

Hibl reported, “The Clare Fire Department’s most recent purchase of turn-out gear was from Apollo. To ensure uniformity throughout the department, we’ve asked Apollo to provide us a quotation for 11 sets of gear.” He said the quote was “favorable,” so they asked for a quote for new Cairns helmet for the entire department.

An amount of $24,000 was approved earlier and budgeted for the equipment. The additional cost allowing for the purchase was approved at the meeting in a budget amendment.

The need was outlined by the City Manager who said, “…the current helmets are aged (one essentially fell apart at a recent fire scene while being worn by one of our firefighters). But due to the favorable quotation for the turnout gear, it is deemed prudent to make the purchase in the current fiscal year.” He said the additional funds are available in the department’s current operating budget.

Other business at the meeting included:
*In his report to the board, Hibl the need for changes in the City’s Zoning ordinance had been referred to the Planning Commission. He also told the board that the annual joint City Commission & Planning Commission would be held January 9th at the Pere Marquette District Library.

*The Commission approved a motion to approve a services agreement for a Zoning Code revisions using Giffels Webster to make the needed changes. A Michigan Environmental Development grant of $11,800 will help pay the $31,600 cost.

*The board approved endorsement of the Michigan State University Extension Equal Opportunity & Non-discrimination Policy.

*Kelly Spicer-Torres was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for three years replacing Michael Craig.

*The commission approved bills payable totaling $98,866.43.

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