Commission dissolves Shamrock Lake Board

March 21, 2019

By Pat Maurer

With dissolving the Lake Board on the agenda, and anticipating a large turnout of Shamrock Lake property owners at Monday’s meeting, the Clare City Commission met in the conference room of the Pere Marquette District Library.

However only a few attended the meeting and after a public hearing, the Commission approved dissolving the board.

The change places the City Commission in direct control of all management and maintenance decisions for Lake Shamrock.

Wayne Terpening, who lives on the Tobacco River where it empties into Lake Shamrock, had questions about whether he would be assessed if the City decides to dredge the silt filled lake.

“My title shows riparian rights to the river and not to the lake,” he said.  City Manager Ken Hibl said he would check with the City attorney about the riparian rights.

Terpening also asked about the Department of Environmental Quality requirements for a dredging project. Hibl reported that one requirement would require that dredged material be immediately removed from the property around the lake. “That would be a problem,” Hibl said, because the excessive weight of the water logged would cause a problem and the material would leave a trail if it was trucked away. He said they were hoping the DEQ would grant an exception to that rule.

Lake property owner Vince Demasi suggested that the City form a Lake Advisory Board to give the Shamrock Lake residents a voice in the decision about the dredging project.

City Manager Ken Hibl said he believes that the Shamrock Lake Property Owners Association is still active, but said he would contact them to find out.

Demasi also asked if silt traps upstream from the lake would continue to be used, and was assured that the traps were a part of the lake improvement plan.

Hibl stressed that the City Commission has not made any decision on the dredging yet and that the Commission would have to re-determine the necessity of the project. “I will be bringing that matter back to the Commission,” he said.

In another matter Commissioner and Mayor Pro-tem Jean McConnell was replaced on the Commission due to “five consecutive absences” from City meetings, when the Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Planning Commissioner Josh Clark to her seat on the board.

The City Charter reads that “if a commissioner shall miss five consecutive regular meetings of the commission or twenty-five percent or more of such meetings in any fiscal year of the city, unless such absence shall be excused by the commission and the reason therefor entered in the proceedings, his office shall become vacant.”

In November McConnell had requested to attend meetings remotely by video while she was away during the winter months.

At the first meeting in December the board consensus was not to allow remote access.

In January the Commission voted to change the City’s By-Laws to read, ““Excusal requests shall be submitted to the City Clerk by the most expeditious and convenient means available and shall be considered by the City Commission on an ‘exception’ basis and generally approved by formal vote of the City Commission only for circumstances involving hardship or health issues. Remote attendance of meetings shall not be allowed. Commissioners who are unable to attend regularly  scheduled or special meetings are asked to notify the City Clerk by email, text, phone or in person as far in advance as reasonably possible to facilitate assurance of a quorum of the Commission’s members at scheduled meetings.”

At Monday’s meeting Commissioner Karla Swanson was appointed as the new Mayor Pro-tem.

Other business at the meeting Monday included:

*The first reading of an Ethics Ordinance with a vote to be held at the April 1 meeting. The ordinance outlines and governs “the conduct of all elected and appointed officials of the City, including all members of the City’s various boards and committees and all City employees.”

*Approval to submit a funding application to the USDA – Rural Development for the Water Treatment Plant Rehabilitation Project for $1.5 million to upgrade the facility including the rehabilitation or replacement of the iron removal filters if the USDA will allow reimbursement to the City of the cost of that upgrade, $300,000, which needs to be done now.

*Approval to submit a grant application to the Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) for $187,000 (with a local match of approximately $119,550 by the City. The grant would fund more road improvements in the City, specifically the completion of John R Street.

*The first reading of a Telecommunications Ordinance for Small Cell Towers (a supporting system for cell towers), with a vote scheduled April 1.

*A report from Treasurer Steven Kingsbury that the city has received $7,557,699.85 in federal and state grant funding over the past 12 years.

*Hibl reported that the Mt Pleasant TSC will be holding an open house in Clare with an overview of the regional road projects for 2019. The event will be held at the Clare Depot, but the dates have not been set.

*Approval of bills totaling $49,662.33.

Following the meeting the Commission met in closed session for discussion of the proposal to extend the contraction negotiations for a portion of the agreements with the two police bargaining units. In a report to the board, Hibl said the City and unions have agreed on wages and benefits, but have objected to new administrative language.

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