McLouth city council welcomes back former councilman
by Dennis Sharkey
The McLouth City Council said goodbye to resident Ron Forshee last week and welcomed new council member James Moore.
Moore previously served on the council and won election in April. He replaced Forshee who was serving as a councilman after being appointed by Mayor Keith Meador to serve an unexpired term.
The council also approved appointments by Meador with no changes from last year.
In other actions:
• Moore questioned Meador during his appointments about his choice to retain Monte Deer for city judge and Carol Bonebrake as city attorney.
Moore asked if Magistrate Judge Dennis Reiling had been considered. Bonebrake said Reiling did interview for the position but ultimately the council decided to stay with Deer because he has a law degree and is a lawyer.
Moore also asked if the city attorney position was competitively bid. Meador said it was last December and Bonebrake was retained.
Karl Abegg was re-elected as council president by the council.
• Ralph Bayles was retained as animal control officer but his contract will increase by $25 a month to $400 a month.
Deer’s contract was approved. It calls for a flat fee of $300 for court and $300 for any trial docket. Bonebrake’s contract is $200 for council meetings and $200 for court. The contract also pays her $150 for the first two hours of a trial docket and $150 an hour for additional hours.
• The council had a lengthy discussion about bonding and is considering changes to the city’s code. City Clerk Kim Perry brought the issue up because the code has not been changed since 1984 and only covers the city for $10,000 if an employee were to embezzle monies from the city.
Bonebrake recommended a $250,000 bond for employees. The cheapest cost Perry could find was $3.50 per $1,000 of bonding.
The city’s budget is close to $1 million and it has close to $500,000 in savings.
No actions were taken but the council concluded that a total bond of $250,000 is needed and not that amount for individuals.
The council also decided that the mayor and council president should also be bonded because they have check signing authority.
• City Administrator Carl Chalfant said no money would be spent this year on street paving because of budget concerns. He said they will instead concentrate on patching and taking care of streets where severe cracking is occurring. He said the city will resume street paving next year.
• The council let the bids for a concrete floor for a utility building that has been planned for years. Chalfant wants to at least get the floor done and get the building heated. The building will be used to store city vehicles and for repairs.
• Chalfant said a 16-inch bucket the city has borrowed for two years was purchased by the city for $715.
• The friendly approach for abating inoperable vehicles within the city is coming to an end soon.
The council approved a letter drafted by Police Chief Marcus Koch that will be mailed to residents who have not complied yet.
Koch said in total 47 notices were mailed concerning 78 vehicles as of last week. He said 36 of the situations have been taken care of.
“I think it’s been a success,” Koch said. “Obviously we still have some work ahead of us.”
Koch said since the first phase seven new situations have appeared.
The next letter will give residents 15 days to comply. If residents have not remedied the situation, citations will be issued with a court appearance.
• Chalfant developed guidelines for the junior firefighters program. The guidelines are being required by the city’s insurance carrier.
• The council discussed changes to the city court diversion program that holds a conviction during a probationary period.
The changes lower the diversion time from 24 months to 12 months for DUI, from 12 months to six months for misdemeanor offenses and from 12 months to six months for traffic violations. The changes would save the amount of time the city would have to track the individuals.
They also set fees for monitoring the diversions.
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