USDA Village of Bear Lake Water Project Documents

Go to this link to view documents obtained through 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.

“RE: FOAI Request 2016-RD-05481-F

Dear Mr. Burke:

Thank you for contacting USDA Rural Development with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which was received on August 30, 2016, which you have requested 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.

USDA, Rural Development, has conducted a search of our records for documents responsive to your request.  A file of was discovered which was responsive to your request.  USDA, Rural Development, has carefully reviewed the documentation.  The documents were reviewed to determine if any of the exemptions allowable under FOIA were applicable to the information contained in the documents.  It has been determined that the records responsive to your request is releasable and contained 239 pages. 

I trust the attached information fully satisfies your request.  (Due to the large volume I will be sending the information in 7 separate emails.)  If you need further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please do not hesitate to contact me at (517) 324-5193 or our FOIA public Liaison, Joseph Shunk, at (202) 692-0032.

Sonya K. Trudgeon
Management Control Officer | FOIA Coordinator | Civil Rights Liaison Rural Development
United States Department of Agriculture
3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 200 | East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: (517) 324-5193 | TDD/TTY: (517) 324-5200 | Fax: (855) 790-7473
www.rd.usda.gov | www.rd.usda.gov/mi | www.rd.usda.gov/in | “Committed to the future of rural communities”

Note the reference to an “Application Conference” held here in October 2014.

Here is a record of that meeting – 10114meeting
there is no mention in the Council Minutes.

A search for the term “USDA” and ‘water system’ in the published 2014 Village of Bear Lake Minutes returns the following mentions:
1. October 15, 2014:
Motion by Jackie seconded by Ron to send a letter to Gary McBride correspondence regarding the installation of the four fire hydrants that have already been purchased and are in storage. They should be installed as soon as possible CC: Howard Higley and Sean Adams Fire Chief. Motion carried.

Fleis and Vandenbrink to attend the December 2014 meeting to present the recommendations for upgrading the water system.

-Friday October 24, 2014 at 10:00a.m. at the Bear Lake Methodist Church – A study session to with Michigan Rural Water to help determine our course of action. Meeting to be posted to the website.

-In the future there will be public meetings held to inform the community. [none were held or published]

-USDA Funds become available this month (October).

2.  November 19, 2014
-Repairs are needed to the water system. Mike Engels would like to meet with each board member to go over the findings from the water reliability study that he performed. This can be done in small groups of 2 at the Methodist Church. The study will help determine the exact method of calculating water bills, how to set rates, and building a reserve.

-Fleis & Vandenbrink will be attending the December meeting.

3. December 17, 2014
Motion by Ronning seconded by Edwards to pay Fleis and Vandenbrink Engineering $9,500.00 to complete the Preliminary Engineering Report, Environmental Report, and complete and submit the USDA-RD RUS funding application. Professional Service Agreement signed. Motion carried.

Discussion was held regarding the water project. [see Report here]

A search for MDEQ in 2014 produced no returns.

In 2015:-

A search for USDA returned –

May 20, 2015
Motion by Johnson seconded by Bass to amend the March 18th, 2015 minutes to include discussion held by John Devol regarding the USDA Water System Project that was discussed and potential impacts of the project with no public comment. Motion carried. Discussion held. [the March 18, 2015 Minutes state: Motion by Ronning seconded by Bass to Sign and send in the application for Federal assistance for the water project. Motion carried. Discussion held. – it should be noted that at this time no Agendas or Minutes were being published. Agendas and Draft Minutes are still not published. Corrected and approved Minutes are only available after the following month meeting

April 15, 2015
Water: The water project is moving along and still going through the USDA process.

In 2016:

March 16, 2016
Meeting with USDA rep & Fleis & VanderBrink to start conditions process on Water Project. To be held on Friday, March 18, 2016.

The March 18, Special Meeting Minutes were received April 29.

Village of Bear Lake Council

SPECIAL USDA WATER MEETING March 18, 2016
Bear Lake Village Hall

Present: President: Jeff Bair Treasurer: Sally King, Clerk: Cindi McPherson.
Guests: Blake Smith, USDA and Ken Micek, Fleis & VanderBrink.

No meeting was called to order, no pledge of allegiance was said nor roll call done.

This was a meeting with representatives from USDA and Fleis & VanderBrink.  Smith delivered a packet from USDA regarding the Water System Improvements.  The purpose was to provide an updated list of documents needed for the water project.  The documents are required before a loan closing can be scheduled.

Discussion was held.
No action was taken at the meeting.
Cindi McPherson, clerk

Two Condition Letters were received and revieiwed
LOC Bear Lake Water
Bear Lake – Water

April 20, 2016:
Village office is working on the first 19 items required by USDA for Water Project.  Waiting on lawyer approval for wording.  Fleis & VanderBrink will take over, bidding will begin.

REGULAR MEETING May 18, 2016:
Village office is working on the first 19 items required by USDA for Water Project.

Jeff Bair updated on Bear Lake school property to purchase for the water well project.  An official letter was sent to Bear Lake Schools to purchase the land.  Waiting to hear back from them.

Water Review Board Bylaws were presented by Jeff Bair for review. Denise Hubble from Hubbles’s Restaurant will be the village resident on the board.

Motion to accept bylaws for Water review Board pending approval by the Michigan Municipal League.  Ronning moved, Gee seconded, motion carried.

Aye: Ronning, Johnson, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None
Bylaws are placed on file in 2016 Minutes binder.

Discussion was held on applying “Past due water Charges’ to property owner tax bills.
Motion was made to apply past due water charges to property tax bills. Bass moved, Johnson seconded, motion carried.
Aye: Ronning, Johnson, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None

June 15, 2016:
Bond Resolution to Purchase, Acquire, and Construct Improvements to the Water Supply System and to Publish Notice to Issue Revenue Bonds.  Discussion was held.  John DeVol , Fleis & VanderBrink Engineering, Inc., was present to answer questions
Motion was made to accept the bond resolution, moved by Ronning, seconded by Hyrns.
Aye: Ronning, Hyrns, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: Johnson

Agreement Between Owners (Village of Bear Lake) and Engineers (Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc.) for Professional Services was signed by Jeff Bair.  Village attorney, Randy Hyrns, and USDA representative did review & support this agreement.

Motion was made to sign the agreement between the village and engineers for professional services, moved by Hyrns, seconded by Gee.  Bills to be presented to the board for above items.
Aye: Ronning, Hyrns, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: Johnson

Motion was made to accept the appointment of a Water Review Committee by Ronning, seconded by Bass.  Committee members appointed: Treasurer, Sally King, Council member, Jackie Johnson and village business owner, Denise Hubbell.  They The board will review and make recommendations to the Village Council as to the remedies, if any, and the Village Council shall make a binding decision. necessary, any water bill being disputed.
Aye: Ronning, Hyrns, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: Johnson

Resolution to Participate , Joint Resolution to USDA to Determine Feasibility of Municipal Sewer Capacity.  Brian Sousa from Wade Trim – spoke on resolution, there is no financial obligation with this resolution.  Many area village/townships are looking at this also.
Motion was made to accept the resolution, moved by Ronning, seconded by Bass.  Bills to be presented to the board for above items.
Aye: Ronning, Hyrns, Edwards, Bass, Gee, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: Johnson
Discussion was held to add: CONDITION: No monies to be spent without prior approval of the Village of Bear Lake Council.

 

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