By Pat Maurer
Presentations dominated the Clare City Meeting Monday evening with Middle Michigan Development Corporation’s annual report by MMDC President Brian Anderson and the year-end Clare City Police Department report by Chief Brian Gregory.
Anderson reported that Katherine Methner, Clare County Director has been instrumental in helping both to attract new business to the area and to help the businesses here grow. “We have a partnership with Michigan Works,” he said, “combining work force and economic development components. Kathy is now dedicated to Clare County full time.”
“Our annual report is the best in the four years,” Anderson said. We have doubled our investment and our ‘signature’ project here is the Economic Development grant for the new Industrial Park North.” He also cited the Broad Band initiative accreditation and the awards received for it as instrumental in creating new jobs and investment for the area.
He said in the two-county area, the organization has received investments totaling $19.4 million this year, and helped retain and create a total of 300 jobs. “A key part of what we do is to help companies create projects and jobs. Over the past four years he said the area has seen a $50 million investment, 433 jobs and $4.3 million in grants.
“Even though our revenues are down,” he said, “the organization still has a positive net fund balance.
City Manager Ken Hibl said, “We are getting a bargain for all that Kathy does.” He said the cost to the city to partner with MMDC is $12,500 a year.
Commissioner Bob Bonham asked, “Is there something more we can do to attract more business?”
Anderson answered, “Huge steps have been made with the broad band, and the technical school at Mid Michigan Community College is a huge asset.”
Methner said, “One thing that is needed is housing, muti-family units are scarce in this area for short-term employees. It is a bit of a challenge.”
Following the MMDC presentation, Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory presented an overview of the police department’s efforts, workload, trends and statistics for 2013.
Gregory gave a power-point presentation that included the new equipment the department is now using, the events the department handles throughout the year and an overview of seven full-time officers, canine officers Swiper who will be retired this spring, and his replacement, ‘Brewster and police auxiliary members. “We couldn’t do it without their volunteer efforts,” Gregory said.
Gregory said, “In 2013 the Police Department handled a total of 7,502 incidents, an increase of 18 percent over 2012’s total of 6,262.” He reported that officers worked (for road hours, training, meetings and special events) a total of 2,585 hours. He said the Uniform Crime Report, a list of all reported file class for crime statistics reported to the Department of Justice and the State for crime tracking, totaled 1,260 in 2013, a 38 percent increase over the 2012 total of 791. He also said there was 29 percent increase in arrests from 2012 to 2013.
Other business at the City meeting included:
*Approval of a five year renewal of a lease agreement with Charter Communications.
*Appointment of Marlene Hales as an honorary member and Larry Wyman, Jr. as a member of the Cherry Grove Cemetery Advisory Board, and Steve Barns to the Planning Commission.
*Approval of bills totaling $48,295.