By Pat Maurer
The Farwell Village Council discussed developing a rental ordinance at the meeting Monday evening.
Zoning Officer Rod Williams talked about the poor living conditions he has seen in some rental properties in the village. “There is one place where you can stand inside and look outside right through the roof,” he said. He continued, “I believe we need to address the issue. People need safe, affordable housing.”
He said, “The words ‘slum lord’ come up, but this doesn’t pertain to everyone.” He said an ordinance could protect landlords as well as renters.
DPW (Department of Public Works) employee and Surrey Township Supervisor Russ Hamilton told the council that the township board has asked their Planning Commission to begin developing a rental ordinance. “The township Planning Commission is looking at rental ordinances in other communities,” he said.
If an ordinance is developed, Hamilton said, it should be the same for both the Village and the township.
Williams also reported on a court case earlier in the day concerning the unsafe property where the Pop Shop used to be located. He said, If the owner doesn’t take care of it within 14 days, Farwell can seek bids to demolish the old Pop Shop building in the Village.
Williams reported that Circuit Court Judge Thomas Evans had ruled in the Village’s favor concerning cleaning up the property, which has been an ongoing issue for several years.
In another matter, the Council voted 5-1 to increase the Village base water rate by 5 percent and raise the water usage rate by 5 percent. Barb Roe was the dissenting vote and Council member Deloris Knipper was not at the meeting.
The rate increase was recommended by the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) of Gaylord in a 2010 Water System Rate Study, as part of the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development loan requirements that the Village Water System be self-supporting and general enough income to make annual payments on their loan from the USDA-RD.
The Village received a 40-year $1.1 million loan from USDA-RD in 2010 for infrastructure improvements.
Actions taken at a Special Meeting November 20 were also approved.
The Council met before the regular Committee of the Whole meeting and approved a purchase agreement with North Ten LLC to purchase lots 9 and 10 in the Industrial Park to construct a building for Lear’s needs, and to allow Terex to expand into the space in the present building that Lear is now using.
The Council also approved a request to transfer the Renaissance Zone designation from Woodsman to Terex and approved including Future Mold and Melling into the Village’s Industrial Development Plan and Tax Increment Financing Plan.
Other business at the Village Council meeting Monday included:
*Approval of a COW motion for budget amendments in the General Fund, Major Streets, the Sewer Fund and the Water Fund.
*Following a Public Hearing, the approval of resolutions concerning a request for two Personal Property Tax exemptions on two recent equipment purchases by Future Mold. The 12-year 50 percent abatements will be for $163,500 and $118,064.76 in equipment additions to the company.
*The Council also received a Department of Public Works report, and heard a report from County Commissioner Lynn Grim.
*Regular meetings in 2013 were set for the first Monday except on holidays at 6:30 p.m. and the COW meetings were set for the next to the last Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. unless changed because of holidays.
The next Committee of the Whole meeting will be December 18 rather than on the 24th. The next regular meeting will be January 7.