Village Council Draft September Minutes

The following Treasurers spreadsheets were presented;

j127082016
j124092016_8 j124092016_7 j124092016_6 j124092016_5 j124092016_4 j124092016_3 j124092016_2And the following Agenda:

j124092016_1Notably absent is this:

0816

0816b

The State of Michigan Department of Treasury web site records this response:

https://treas-secure.state.mi.us/LAFDocSearch/tl41R01.aspx?&lu_id=3215&doc_yr=2016&doc_code=APRCAPUPLD

Corrective Action Plan

Village of Bear Lake MI

For the year ending February 29, 2016 the Village overspent income in the following areas:

a) General Fund spent $2,366 over income

b) Major Street fund over spent by $10,694

c) Park Fund over spent by $7,665

d) Water Fund over spent by $40,513

While we overspent we always kept a surplus balance in each account. One of the greatest areas of concern is that for the year ending Feb. 29, 2016 an unbalanced budget was approved. This has been addressed by approving an accurate and balanced budget for the current year.

During the past year the Treasurer and Clerk both tendered their resignations and had to be replaced by new appointees. This led to a period where they were trying to learn “on the fly” and we struggled with the accounting procedures needed to keep an accurate record of income and expenses. Also the previous clerk failed to set an Audit for year ending Feb 28, 2015 and by the time we figured it out and were able to schedule one some of our State money was withheld.

Here are the steps we have taken to ensure this will not happen in the future. 1) Passed a budget for the current year that is balanced and accurate. 2) Adjust the budget as needed to make sure expenditures do not exceed the income. 3) Keep a running balance sheet that is updated as bills are paid and income comes in to have an accurate real time view of where the Village stands financially. 4) We renewed our agreement with our current auditing firm for 3 years. This will allow our clerk and treasurer access to their knowledge and get help whenever a question arises. 5) Both the clerk and treasures are taking classes to increase their understanding of our accounting system.

From our audit these deficiencies were found and have been corrected by following the plan the auditor recommended. a) Audit adjustment and the Financial Statements. Because of the transition of both offices and the learning curve, the attention to the details of adjusting the budget were missed. This again has been addressed and we currently review our financials on a weekly basis. b) Reconciliations. We have tightened our controls on this. We reconcile our bank statements immediately after they come in and this reduces the chances of issues arising. c) Segregation of Duties.

The auditor recommended the following and we are complying….The clerk and Treasurer need to better define their responsibilities. With small governments, such as the village, this is difficult due to the number of staff. But right now, the clerk needs to take a bigger role to separate some of the duties between the two positions. We understand the deficiencies we have, the problems continuing to do so will produce and what we need to do to fix the problems. Plans are in place, being followed and we are committed to keeping an updated and balanced budget.

Jeff Bair President Village of Bear Lake

[It should also be noted that a FOIA request was submitted for the audio tapes of this meeting.] 

Village of Bear Lake Council

REGULAR MEETING

September 21, 2016

Bear Lake Village Hall

Uapproved Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Bear Lake Village Council was called to order by President Jeff Bair at 7:01 p.m. at the Bear Lake Village Hall.

Pledge of Allegiance – said by all.

Present: President: Jeff Bair Council: Peggy Bass, Ron Ronning, Jackie Johnson, Treasurer: Sally King, Clerk: Cindi McPherson Staff: Jared Bair.

Absent: Don Hyrns, Carver Edwards, Janene Gee, Larry Gibson

Guests: Don & Liz Raiff, Greg McPherson, Barb Farfsing, Janette May, Chuck Eminker.

Motion to adopt the amended agenda with additions: Ronning moved and Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Addition; Correspondence – an additional email from Christie Johnson.  Letter from  Janene Gee.  Letter from Don Hyrns.  Bills to be paid; two additional invoices.

Public Comment: None

Correspondence:

  • Email from Christie Johnson thanking the village for the fencing along the water tower road.  An additional email from Johnson concerning a sign for the gate going to the compost pile with the hour’s gate is open.  Hours 8a-7p
  • Letter from Don Hyrns of his resignation from the Bear Lake Village Council.  
  • Letter from Janene Gee regarding the recent petition.
  • All letters are placed on file in 2016 Minutes binder.

Motion to accept the August 17, 2016 Regular Monthly Meeting Minutes with correction. Ronning moved, Bass seconded. Motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Gee and Edwards

Correction: page 2, Committee Reports, Park: ($34.5) should read ($34,500.00)

Motion to accept the September 1, 2016 Special Meeting Minutes as written. Johnson moved, Ronning seconded. Motion carried.

[note that a correction was made to the Draft Minutes without being noted: Bear Lake News]

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Gee and Edwards

Maintenance Supervisor Report: Jared Bair

  • Park Report, Water Report, General Report and Equipment Report
  • Report on file in the 2016 Minutes binder

Treasurer’s Report: 

  •           Treasurer’s report read by King and placed on file in the 2016 Minutes binder.

FUND NAME GRAND TOTAL

           Equipment Fund        3,274.98

Savings – Honor Bank- Equip        25,988.82

           Minor Street Fund                   22,335.55

           Major Street Fund                         40,425.90

           Park Fund      28,223.04

CD – Honor Bank – Park    32,770.06          

           Water Fund                                 15,340.37

MMA – water                     10,034.30 (Formerly Huntington Account)

           General Fund                    23,660.01

  • Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report, moved by Bass, Ronning seconded Motion carried. 

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

  • Motion to accept the Budget Amendments as explained; bringing income accounts into line with received/collected amounts thusfar and moving some fund amounts to balance decending balances, moved by Bass, Johnson seconded. Motion carried. 

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Report on file in 2016 Binder.

  • Motion, Bills to be paid as presentedBass moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

  • List of “Bills to be Paid” is found at the end of this report.

Reimbursement to the General Fund:

Major Street 8/01/2016-8/31/2016   $00.00

Minor Street 8/01/2016-8/31/2016 $00.00

Park Fund 8/01/2016-8/31/2016 $2,229.50

Water Fund _ 8/01/2016-8/31/2016 $220.00

Total to transfer to General Fund=$2,449.50

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Park:

  • Jeff Bair reported that sales (approx. $36.500.00) for campground for the year.  We will have 1 additional camper staying through October.
  • DEQ required two new hoses for drinking water and non-drinking water at dump site.  DEQ is requesting we post a NO LIFE GUARD ON-DUTY sign and have a Life Saving Ring at the beach area.

Trees:

  • No report

Streets:

  • Motion to accept Ron Brown’s bid to level Cody Street and use cut outs to fix water issue at northeast corner of Cody & Maple Streets; Ronning moved, Bass seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Water:

  • Motion to renew Mead & Hunt 1 year contract through August 17, 2017; Ronning moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Equipment:

  • Motion to move forward with applying for grants on new maintenance building; Bass moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Discussion: Spicer Group estimated project to be $300K.  Building will have 4 shop bays, 2 regular garage doors and 2 taller ones.  An air compressor only “frill” added.

Sidewalks: No report

Museum:  

  • Motion to disband the Council’s museum committee; Bass moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Discussion:  Museum is trying to get a 501c3 status.  

Blight/CABA:

  • No Report

CABA – no report.

Planning Commission:

  • Barb Farfsing reported the commission has discussed Short and Long Term Goals

    • Short Term – Flower Gardens – Triginta Group will take this on as a project

Ad Hoc Committee:  McPherson reported, binder is made for Policies, Resolutions and Ordinances.  Policies and Resolutions binders are almost complete.  Binders will be given to each committee Ad Hoc Committee member.

OLD BUSINESS:

  • Signage for Village Hall – Gee: No report
  • Speed bumps – Gee:No report
  • Water Rate increase:

    • Motion a $15 per 1/4 increase to village residents water rate, per REU; Ronning moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

Note: Per DEQ- village needs to make a rate that can repay loans.

Discussion: Johnson asked if the council could have a meeting for the public (village residents) with the DEQ, Fleis & VanderBrink, Michigan Rural Water and anyone else needed.  Jeff Bair stated he is working on a meeting for mid-October at Bear Lake High School.

NEW BUSINESS:

  • Motion for no more audio recordings by the clerk of Bear Lake Village Council meetings; Johnson moved, Bass seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

  • Motion to accept the new check acceptance policy; Bass moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

  • Motion to employ Gabridge Co, for the next 3 years as our auditing company; Johnson moved, Ronning seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

  • Motion to appoint Clerk, Cindi McPherson as the Title VI coordinator; Bass moved, Ronning seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Edwards, Gee

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Greg McPherson asked if there could be later hours for compost area for fall leave drop off.  People do work later and need time to get leaves to area.  It was decided to contact Maintenance Supervisor when later times are needed.

Don Raiff would like to see more information on Water Project and any large village project on the villages website.  Example:  DEQ and SAW Grants.  This would be helpful to the public.  Jeff Bair agreed.

Chuck Eminker asked for an update on Variety Store.  Jeff Bair reported, Village Blight lawyer is reviewing court paperwork.  Bair also reported, our current county treasurer is interested in pursuing a Land Bank by February 2017.

Barb Farfsing asked if our volunteer, Dendra Best had reported on the Manistee Trail Meeting?  No report from Best.  Clerk will check with her.

Farfsing also asked if Autumn Glory Days could use Hopkins Park for some of their activities.  Yes, lot 6 is available.  Autumn Glory dates are October 1, 2016  11a – 4p

COUNCIL MEMBERS:  Johnson mentioned the council may need extra meetings as we progress with the water project petition.  McPherson expressed concern with possible loss of business, Jeff Bair mentioned shut down of school if one of the wells go down.

Upcoming Events and Announcements:

Meeting adjourned at 8:17pm

Respectfully Submitted, 

Cindi McPherson, Village Clerk

Bills to be paid – September 1, 2016

Reimbursement to Jeff Bair $31.80 General Fund

  • Cell phone for Blight Enforcement Officer

Reimbursement to Cindi McPherson $99.00 General Fund

  • On-line class for Quick Books

Staples – office supplies $196.57 General Fund

Spicers Group -Storage Building $3,242.08 General Fund

Jackpine – Website $145.00 General Fund

Northstar Automotive $240.88 Park Fund

Saddle Up Grocery – straw – July & August $137.58 Park Fund

Arcadia Sharp-All – mower blades $49.50 Park Fund

Ginop Sales Inc. $159.00 Park Fund

Lark Lawn & Garden $150.00 Park Fund

Ron Brown & Sons – hot mix asphalt $117.15 Minor Fund

Auto-Wares – Auto Value $8.68 Minor Fund

Mead & Hunt $753.74 Water Fund

Additional bills to be paid:

Bear Lake Ace Hardware $186.92 Park Fund

West Coast Farm Services $753.50 Minor Fund

What water will cost

In the absence of a comprehensive cost analysis of the proposed Village of Bear Lake water system upgrade project, the following was published as part of the Preliminary Engineering Report.

Current water rates for residential customers are based on the REU {Residential Equivalency Unit}. Businesses and Bear Lake Schools pay significantly more than a home owner. Rates for residential customers are set to rise to $105 per quarter in October and again to $135 next year.

Whether that will be sufficient to cover these projected costs remains to be demonstrated.


1 2

3

6 7 9 4 5 8 10

Village of Bear Lake Special Meeting September 1, 2016

An audio recording received through a FOIA request commenced after the meeting had started. The following was supplied by an audience member.

Village of Bear Lake Council

Special MEETING

September 1, 2016

Bear Lake Village Hall

Unapproved Minutes

The Special Meeting of the Bear Lake Village Council was called to order by President Jeff Bair at 5:00 p.m. at the Bear Lake Village Hall.

Pledge of Allegiance – said by all.

Present: President: Jeff Bair Council: Peggy Bass, Ron Ronning, Jackie Johnson, Treasurer: Sally King, Clerk: Cindi McPherson Staff: Jared Bair.

Absent: Don Hyrns, Janene Gee, Carver Edwards and Larry Gibson

Guests: Don & Liz Raiff, Chuck Eminker, Rich Russel, Barb and Rick Farfsing, Syd & Joanne Schroeder. Jeanne Walsh was present on a call-in on speaker phone.

Public Comment: None

Business:

  • The petition – President Jeff Bair announced the water petition was rejected for the following reasons:
    • The petition does not disclose the person or organization primarily interested in and responsible for the circulation of the petition; the petition is not 8-1/2 inches by 14 inches in size; the petition does not contain the statutorily required warning to voters; and the petition does not contain the statutorily required certificate of the circulator.
  • The purchase of land from the school –

Motion to move forward with the purchasing of land from the Bear Lake Public Schools for the water project. Ronning moved, Johnson seconded. Motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Gee, Edwards

Overview: The schools will sell 13+ acres of land to the village for $35k, this is $25k less than what was budgeted in the grant proposal.  $3,500 the village will put down will be reimbursed when grant is complete.

  • The storm water grant – Jeff Bair announced the Bear Lake Water Shed received a SAW Grant (Storm water, Asset management, Waste water) from the State of Michigan and has chosen the village of Bear Lake as the recipient of the SAW Grant.  The $347K grant will be use for mapping of storm drains and evaluation of them.  Rich Russell president of the Bear Lake Watershed explained the SAW Grant was written in 2013 and awarded to them a few weeks ago.  Russell stated there will be no cost to the village, the water shed will be responsible for the 10% match, letter on file in August 2016 Special Meeting folder.  AES (Alliance for Economic Success will be handling the funds and tracking of expenditures.  NOTE: Council will select engineering group.  NO construction will be done, just evaluations of all storm drains, preliminary work to see what needs to be done.  GPS tracked.  Additional storm drains in Pleasanton Township and the Township of Bear Lake will be evaluated, townships have approved their support with this project.  Project could take up to 3 years to complete and it will cover every drain.  The DEQ stated, the village of Bear Lake storm drains were high on their list to get fixed.  Dick Graham did all evaluations of this drain project, roughly 74 drains.

Motion to accept the SAW Grant for the storm drains in the village and move forward to use Spicer Group for engineering. Bass moved, Ronning seconded. Motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Ronning, Bass, Bair

    • Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns, Gee, Edwards

Public Comment: Don Raiff – Mentioned that Carver Edwards knowledge of the location of all drains, creeks, etc… in 2007, at the beginning of this project, helped tremendously. Raiff offered report of Surface Water Subcommitee, report on file in August 2016 Special Meeting folder.

Rick Farfsing – said he was very thankful this.

Chuck Eminker – Questioned what will happen with the water petition since it was rejected?  Jeff Bair responded, there will be more education done on the water project for village residents to ask question and understand the need for the water well project.

Meeting adjourned at 5:24pm

Respectfully Submitted, 

Cindi McPherson, Village Clerk

Groundwater and aquifer depletion

Resources to help Village residents understand where our drinking water comes from and the need for conservation and sustainability of the aquifer.

Both Village of Bear Lake wells are drilled into the same ‘unconfined’ aquifer – which is why past Village Council’s devoted several years to comply with a Wellhead Protection Program which received funding from MDEQ.

Understanding the relationship between the water table, surface recharge from rain and snow, the impact of drought on well performance, the impact of excessive withdrawal and the critical need for water conservation is demonstrated here.

and for a bit more detail:-

July Village of Bear Lake Meeting audio

Also Museum of Bear Lake Lease Agreement

Under the General Law Village Act – Villages may borrow up to 10% of their taxable value. Any issuance of bonds in excess of that must obtain a Qualifying Statement.

taxablevalue

And http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-69-23

69.25 Loans; issuance and execution of bonds; validation of prior bonds or indebtedness.

Sec. 25.

A loan may not be made by the council or by its authority in any year, exceeding the amounts prescribed in this act. For a loan lawfully made, the bonds of the village may be issued subject to the revised municipal finance act, 2001 PA 34, MCL 141.2101 to 141.2821. The bonds shall be executed in the manner directed by the council.

A municipality shall not borrow money and issue municipal securities except in accordance with this act. However, there are some borrowings that are not subject to the Revised Municipal Finance Act. See MCL 141.2105 below for specific examples, including contracts for the purchase of real or personal property. A municipality must have specific legal authority to enter into any debt obligation, either statutory authority or authority from a municipality’s charter. In general, the statute that allows a municipality to borrow is called the “authorizing statute.” Generally, a municipality may qualify to issue municipal securities without further Treasury approval, by submitting a Municipal Finance Qualifying Statement to the Michigan Department of Treasury. Municipalities that do not qualify under the provisions of the act must obtain prior approval from Treasury before issuing any municipal securities.

 

USDA FOIA Request filed

Comments have been made, falsely, that those who have requested a referendum vote on the proposed issuance of a $1.8m Bond debt for the Village of Bear Lake water system do not have the best interests of the community at heart.

Also false fears have been raised about the ‘well going dry’ – when the Water Reliability Report clearly states: ”

The existing wells are not in imminent danger of failure, however, it is recommended that the Village begin planning to eventually replace the existing wells…

The capacity of the wells is lower than the previous water system evaluation because the Village completed a substantial water project in 2010 and 2011 which included a new water tank that was installed at a higher elevation than the old water tank to boost system pressures. The additional system head created by the new water tank slightly reduced the pumping rate of the wells.

Improvements were made to both wells during the 2010-2011 water system improvements project. The control systems for both wells were upgraded and both wells were inspected and cleaned as part of the project. The well cleaning improved the efficiency of both wells, however, during post cleaning performance testing it was noted that Well #2 was pumping air at flow rates over 217gpm. The post cleaning performance testing for Well #3 found that the water level drawdown was at least down to the top of the pump bowls. Well #3 did not pump air during the testing, but the operation of the pump with the water level approaching the pump bowls is not ideal.

The firm capacity is calculated by removing the capacity of the largest pump from the system. The pumping capacity that remains is the firm capacity. The Village of Bear Lake has a rated firm capacity of 195 gpm. The MDEQ recommends that the firm capacity meet or exceed the maximum day demand. The Village’s historic maximum day demand (over the past 5 years) was 134 gpm, which is 69% of the firm capacity.”

See: tl41R01 NOTICE of 30 days to file a Corrective Action Plan from the State of Michigan Department of Treasury.statedeptoftreasury

To:

Michelle Collins  Acting Area Director – USDA, Rural Development

Sonya Trudgeon  FOIA Coordinator –sonya.trudgeon@mi.usda.gov

3001 Coolidge Rd., Suite 200

East Lansing, MI 48823

cc: Rural Development • Traverse City Area Office

Blake Smith- Area Specialist – blake.smith@mi.usda.gov

1501 S Cass St, Suite A • Traverse City, MI 49684

cc: U.S. Department of Agriculture  email: program.intake@usda.gov

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

cc: Village of Bear Lake President  Jeffrey Bair. Village of Bear Lake Clerk Cindi McPherson – bearlakeclerk@gmail.com

P. O. Box 175, 12376 Virginia Street, Bear Lake, MI  49614

NOTICE:

Under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA) and USDA regulations (7 Coded of Federal Regulations, Part 1, Subpart A) and Michigan Freedom of Information Act Public Act 563 of 2014

Request for electronic copies of documents relating to Village of Bear Lake proposed water system improvement project.

On behalf of the citizens of the Village of Bear Lake, Manistee County, Michigan I am requesting, under Michigan Freedom of Information Act Public Act 563 of 2014, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA) and USDA regulations (7 Coded of Federal Regulations, Part 1, Subpart A),
electronic copies of the following documents:

  1. Dates, times and those in attendance at any and all meetings between USDA, Rural Development, Village of Bear Lake Council Members (or their representatives and agents) for the period 2013- current date.
  2. Any and all correspondence, documents, contracts, notifications between USDA, Rural Development, Village of Bear Lake Council Members (or their representatives and agents) within the same time frame.
  3. Notification of final satisfaction of award conditions and actual agreement of award of funds for Village of Bear Lake proposed water system improvement project.

RATIONALE:

On July 6, 2016, the Village of Bear Lake placed a single display advertisement in the Manistee News Advocate (see attached notice 7-6-16)

notice070616

The text clearly stated the following:

“Right of Referendum: The Bonds will be issued without a vote of the electors approving such Bonds, unless, within 45 days from the date of publication of this Notice Of Intent, a petition, signed by not less than 10% of the registered electors residing within the limits of the Village shall have been filed with the Clerk of the Village or other recording officer of the Village requesting a referendum upon the question of the issuance of the Bonds.”

40 verified signatories filed said petition, within the 45 day period, with both Cindi McPherson Village of Bear Lake Clerk and Deanna Pattison, Bear Lake Township Clerk who will be the election administrator. There are 223 currently registered voters in the Village of Bear Lake.

The petition was formatted to include both printed names, signatures, full address and date of signature. Cindi McPherson Village of Bear Lake Clerk signed to acknowledge receipt on August  5, 2016.

The stated purpose was:

We, the undersigned registered voters of the Village of Bear Lake, oppose the issuance, (as noted in the July 6 published “Notice to issue water supply system Revenue Bonds”) of any and all Revenue Bonds as permitted under Section 33 of Act 94 (1933 as amended). We oppose the $1,800,000 figure as stated, including the guarantee of the Village of Bear Lake General Fund for 40 years, and call for a Referendum Vote of the electorate of the Village of Bear Lake to review, approve, deny or amend the Water System Project as proposed. This petition will be presented to the Village Council within the 45 day window as noted in the July 6 publication of the “Notice to issue water supply system Revenue Bonds” in the Manistee News Advocate.

In light of the erroneous comments made concerning this petition, I am listing here the reasons for both that and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA) and USDA regulations (7 Coded of Federal Regulations, Part 1, Subpart A)  and Michigan Freedom of Information Act Public Act 563 of 2014 – Request for documents.

  1. The petitioners simply wish to exercise their legal right to decide on the commitment of funds.
  2. Without submission of said petition, the electors would have lost all recourse to contest the issuance of bonds.
  3. The electors have concerns about the fiscal responsibility and ability to issue this Notice of Intent when the State of Michigan has listed the Village as non-compliant in filing a timely audit and being in a state of fiscal noncompliance for the past 3 years. (see attached letters from the state of Michigan [see above])
  4. The electors are unwilling to give approval for debt for the following reasons:
  1. when no information about the final cost of this project has been conveyed – other than through documents received by individuals via FOIA
  2. no definitive interest rate has been determined as no final documentation of approval has been supplied
  3. the length of debt repayment, 40 years, is twice the expected life span of the proposed infrastructure
  4. the debt repayment figure – estimated by USDA RD at @$65,000 per year – has not been calculated per capita but seems to indicate $38 per month
  5. The current cost of operations of the Village of Bear Lake Water System is @$47,000 and translates to an intended fee of $45 per month.
  6. At no time have Village residents been given an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the project as proposed or given an accurate per monthly rate, including a proposed meter fee and base gallons allowance.

In reaction to the petition, statements have been made that the signatories are opposed to the water improvement project.  This is not true.

The residents and tax payers of the Village of Bear Lake are opposed to THIS water project as proposed, and the manner in which it has been brought to this point in time, largely in secret.

An independent engineering review of the project has raised many concerns:

  1. No consultation with the previous Wellhead Protection Committee – as this water system is served by an unconfined aquifer, with known contamination issues noted in the 10-15 year delineation. This is puzzling.
  2. Lack of any evidence of consultation with the Water Superintendent.
  3. Lack of consultation with the Fire Department.
  4. Concern that the project has been promoted as a means to obtain a commercial ISO rating when the Reports note this may not be possible due to the undersized water tower (only constructed in 2010)
  5. Lack of consideration that improved commercial coverage may not be possible until the removal of dangerous buildings within the commercial district.
  6. Service for a, as yet unknown, commercial redevelopment should be incurred by future
    developers.  Rather than being incurred by the current 286 Village residents with a noted mean average income that meets USDA RD for poverty.
  7. Lack of public transparency. Particularly during 2014. Residents should not have to file a FOIA request for basic information about a project that is slated to commit $1.8m +, + an additional $7-900,000 in interest – committing all income from water fees (currently @$56,000) plus guaranteeing the General Fund (current income – @$124,000) for the next 40 years.
  8. Why were no RFPs issued for preliminary reports or engineering services?
  9. Lack of evaluation of alternative funding sources and mechanisms
  10. Dismissal of prior 20 year asset management and upgrade strategy.
  11. Significant questions of the advisability of debt funding for 40 years of infrastructure with an expected lifespan of only 20 years.
    USDA themselves stated in your letter of March  11, 2016:
    It is expected that O&M will change over each successive year and user rates will need to be adjusted on a regular basis”
    It is inevitable that future repairs and replacements will also require additional funding in excess of the required set aside fund.
  12. Grave concerns related to the lack of calibration of existing wellhead pumps and meters, which calls into question the accuracy of any data reported. The lapse in calibration service is noted in the engineering reports.
  13. Factual errors in both the Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Engineering Report such as failure to take into account the volume of water supplied on a daily basis to a 400+ person K-12 School and an inflated gpdc figure.
  14. Grave concerns at the lack of determination of an alternative aquifer source.
  15. Grave concern that two new, increased capacity, wells are proposed to increase supply from an existing unconfined aquifer adjudged by the Preliminary Engineering Report to be ‘sucking air’ during summer months.
  16. If in fact there are instances when the wells are drawing down to an untenable level, why did the Village refuse to distribute water conservation literature as supplied to them from USEPA WaterSense? Why does the Village not enforce its own summer watering hours?
  17. Not including the cost of locating, drilling and bringing to operation a new well at an estimated depth 3-4 times deeper than the current aquifer.
  18. Lack of concern for neighboring private well owners who are also served by the same aquifer.
  19. Lack of acknowledgment that an increased draw will trigger a Water Withdrawal request to the State of Michigan.
  20. Lack of consideration of the seasonal fluctuation in population and its effect on the system flow.
  21. Not including, as part of the per capita figures of 286 population, a daily influx of 400+/- individuals at Bear Lake K-12 School
  22. Not including, as part of the per capita figures of 286 population, the operation of a municipal public RV and recreation Park during the months of June-September. (Including multiple stand pipes, drinking fountains, public showers and toilets)
    It should be noted that the increase in water usage during June-August, as noted in both the Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Engineering Reports, coincides with the operational months for the Village of Bear Lake Hopkins Park. A recent spot check documented a leaking standpipe losing 140 gallons per day.
  23. Not considering the decline in numbers and the increase in age of Village population. This is a static demographic mostly living on fixed retirement income.
  24. Not designing a program of repairs and replacements to meet the needs of current population.

Respectfully, this is why the electorate requested a referendum vote –

  1. To acquire basic information of the scope and financial viability of the proposed project.
  2. To propose valid, affordable alternatives.
  3. To do so by issuing Request For Proposals to determine the most cost effective way to manage and upgrade the Village of Bear Lake water system.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 

Regards,

Property owner Bear Lake, MI 49614

August 2016 Unapproved Minutes

Village of Bear Lake Council

REGULAR MEETING

August 17, 2016

Audio recording supplied by Audience Member as permitted under OPEN MEETINGS ACT. Act 267 of 1976

Bear Lake Village Hall

Unapproved Minutes (with attachments supplied by attendees)

The Regular Meeting of the Bear Lake Village Council was called to order by President Jeff Bair at 7:00 p.m. at the Bear Lake Village Hall.

Pledge of Allegiance – said by all.

Present: President: Jeff Bair Council: Carver Edwards, Peggy Bass, Janene Gee, Ron Ronning, Jackie Johnson, Larry Gibson, Treasurer: Sally King, Clerk: Cindi McPherson Staff: Jared Bair.

Absent: Don Hyrn

Guests:  David Reed, Jeanne Walsh Vision and Lee Vision, Don & Liz Raiff, Greg McPherson, Pauline Jaquish, Jeff Harthun, Barb and Rick Farfsing.

Motion to adopt the agenda with one addition; Ronning moved and Gee seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Edwards, Ronning, Bass, Gee, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns

Addition; Old business: Manistee County Planning Department volunteer.

Public Comment: None

Correspondence:

  • Email response from Jason Wilder Evans regarding last month’s email asking the council to do a proclamation for JWEDAY.  Johnson stated that a letter is to be sent to him letting him know the council appreciate his interest but the council has no intention of doing this. His letter is placed on file in 2016 Minutes binder.

Motion to accept the June 15, 2016 Regular Monthly Meeting Minutes with correction. Johnson moved, Bass seconded. Motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Gee, Ronning, Edwards, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns

Correction: page 2, Treasurer’s report, interest rate of 90%, should have been .90%.

Maintenance Supervisor Report: Jared Bair

  • Park Report, Water Report, General Report and Equipment Report
  • Addition:  curbing on Maple & Cody Streets, pricing estimate to be done.
  • Report on file in the 2016 Minutes binder

Treasurer’s Report: 

  •           Treasurer’s report read by King and placed on file in the 2016 Minutes binder.
    j127082016

FUND NAME GRAND TOTAL

           Equipment Fund        3,364.20

Savings – Honor Bank- Equip        25,988.82

           Minor Street Fund                  21,450.19

           Major Street Fund                         38,536.71

           Park Fund     28,114.97

CD – Honor Bank – Park    32,746.12          

           Water Fund                                18,225.80

MMA – water                    10,031.32 (Formerly Huntington Account)

           General Fund                   9,276.36

  • Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report, moved by Ronning, Johnson seconded Motion carried. 

Aye: Johnson, Edwards, Ronning, Bass, Gee, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns

    Bills to be paid as presented – Bass moved, Gee seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Edwards, Ronning, Bass, Gee, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns

  • List of “Bills to be Paid” is found at the end of this report.

Reimbursement to the General Fund:

Major Street 6/01/2016-6/30/2016   $00.00

Minor Street 6/01/2016-6/30/2016 $00.00

Park Fund 6/01/2016-6/30/2016 $922.00

Water Fund _ 6/01/2016-6/30/2016 $462.00

Total to transfer to General Fund=$1,384.00

August_2016finances01092016

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Park:

  • Jeff Bair reported that sales (at $34.5) for campground are up for the year.

Trees:

  • No report

Streets:

  • No report

Water:

  • Water Review Board meeting on August 3 from 4p-7p, complete report on file in 2016 Minutes binder.
    • Bella Vista – will have an increase of 20-25%.  New rates will be discussed at later date when village residents rates increase.
    • Krista LeAnn’s Studio of Hair and Frank & Shannon Reed, recommendation to be assessed .75 REU’s per apartment & 1 REU for commercial space. To begin with second quarter (April 2016), no increase in fourth quarter.  New rates will be discussed at later date when village resident’s rates increase.
  • Motion to accept the Water Review Board report, moved by Gee, seconded by Bass, motion carried.

Aye: Johnson, Edwards, Ronning, Gee, Bass, Bair

Nay: None

Absent: Hyrns

August_2016WaterReviewCommitteeReport27082016

  • Jared Bair reported on well generator oxygen sensor needed replacement, $800
  • Jeff Bair reported that the Water Project is on hold.  A petition against the Water Project was delivered to the clerk.  A vote cannot be put on November ballot due to deadlines.  May be possible to do a special election.

Equipment:

  • Jared Bair reported that the street sweeper broke today. Approx. $1,000 to fix.

Sidewalks: Jeff Bair reported one residents still owes for sidewalk replacement.

Museum:  Jeff Harthun reported the museum is open on Saturdays 1-4p through September 2016.  They are taking donations.  Looking at doing fund raiser.  Harthun mention a concern regarding a roof leak over bathroom.  Jeff Bair will have this looked at.  They would also like to add window locks. Approval to go ahead with window locks .  Their Annual Meeting is September 13, 2016 at 7pm at the Museum.  Harthun mentioned he will still paint in fall of 2016 or Spring 2017, power wash & glaze windows also.  Village to get a price on steeple repair. Johnson suggested getting a construction engineer.   

Blight/CABA:

  • Report from Blight Enforcement Officer, Larry Gibson.  Full report on file in 2016 Minutes binder.
    • Blight report over view.
      • Housekeeping items of: email, cell phone
      • Attended meeting with attorney Jocks
      • Informal contact was made with two property owners, good results with one.
      • An additional property is waiting for response from owner.
      • Starting a file on third property.

CABA – no report.

Planning Commission:

  • Barb Farfsing reported on the following items:
    • Garage Sale/yard Sale Ordinance
    • Kayak/canoe site
    • Flower gardens & project
    • Winter projects
      • Hopkins Park upgrades
      • Fishing & boat cleaning station
    • Realignment of campsites.
    • The need for more affordable housing & zoning ordinances
    • Blight project

OLD BUSINESS:

  • Signage for Village Hall.  Guest, Lee Vision is working on a design, looking into students at area schools to help out when they are back to school.
  • Manistee County Planning Department volunteer, there was an village resident interested, Dendra Best,  Council approved her and McPherson will contact her to let her know.  McPherson will also let Manistee County Planning Department know our new volunteer. 

PUBLIC COMMENT: Guest Lee Vision wanted to know where we are with the Variety Store blight.  Jeff Bair reported our attorney, Jeff Jocks is reviewing the files from the court as “a party of interest”.

Guest Don Raiff would like to see quarterly information on Blight Elimination Funds under Blight Report.

Greg McPherson expressed concern on petition with delay of water project and possible loss of funding for the project.

COUNCIL MEMBERS:  Johnson mentioned the council may need extra meetings as we progress with the water project petition.  McPherson expressed concern with possible loss of business, Jeff Bair mentioned shut down of school if one of the wells go down.

Upcoming Events and Announcements:

  • Community Dinner at Bear Lake United Methodist Church on Thursday.

Meeting adjourned at 8:07pm

Respectfully Submitted, 

Cindi McPherson, Village Clerk

 

Bills to be paid – August 17, 2016

Auto-Wares Auto Value $14.60 General Fund

Mark Thompson & Tree & Stump $191.25 General Fund

 

Paradigm Electric $2,140.98 Water Fund

Mead & Hunt $971.40 Water Fund

PM Technologies $450.00 Water Fund

$377.06 Water Fund

Bear Lake Hardware $361.13 Park Fund

McBride Septic System $551.60 Park Fund

Bowling Enterprises, Inc. $200.00 Park Fund

Ron Brown & Sons $289.10 Park Fund

ARVC Michigan $1,042.00 Park Fund

 

Gabridge & Company $2,550.00

$1,532.55 General Fund

$309.31 Water Fund

$309.32 Park Fund

$154.79 Major Fund

$154.78 Minor Fund

$89.25 Equipment Fund