Sunshine Week 2018: FOIA Update 2

Sunshine Week 2018 – March 11-17

This week Bear Lake News revisits some of the issues local residents and tax payers have sought information on via FOIA or simple requests.

All requests for information now are routinely sent instruction on how to submit a FOIA request.

A recent request sought to clarify the status of a USDA application/grant toward the purchase of a replacement blade/snow plow truck.

See this prior post from last year for some background on this issue.

https://bearlakemichigan49614.com/2017/06/18/special-meeting-village-of-bear-lake-held-may-26-2017-re-plow-truck/

A follow up was sent to USDA

https://bearlakemichigan49614.com/2017/08/11/status-of-a-new-snow-plow-truck/

Replacement of the existing plow truck began with weighing the cost of maintaining that versus buying a newer vehicle. The argument was made in three applications for funding assistance that the vehicle known as ‘Big Red’ was too old and too costly to maintain.

When the decision was made to purchase a newer version, while continuing to operate ‘Big Red’, residents wondered why? It was stated that the sand hopper did not fit the new vehicle and in the current 2018 application for Revenue Sharing support a replacement is requested.

https://bearlakemichigan49614.com/2018/03/08/village-of-bear-lake-february-21-2018-meeting-documents/

On February 6, 2018 the following request was sent:

Under MI Freedom of Information Act (Public Act No. 442 of 1976 as amended):
I hereby submit this request. I understand I am entitled to receive the requested items within 5 business days. I am requesting the items in electronic PDF or Word format to be sent to me via email.
I am requesting a copy of the USDA Award confirmation letter and terms of payment for the Blade Truck.
 
In the September 2017 Minutes:
Buildings, Grounds & Equipment:
PLOW TRUCK – A $14k grant was approved from the USDA. Grant maybe lower than $14k due to grant being 40% of cost. Jared & Jeff Bair have been to the dealership in Mesick to look at a completely over-hauled plow truck. Additional MDOT required lighting, hitch for one-way plow needs to be added to truck. The
old truck will be used for salt & hot patch work. A $5K deposit is required. The village will need to purchase truck & USDA will reimburse the village after
purchase.
Motion to move forward to purchase a newer plow truck, pending no problems with revenue sharing grant money by McPherson, seconded by Schroeder. Motion carried.
Motion to take $5K from minor savings for the down payment on the plow truck by Ronning, seconded by Johnson. Motion carried.

And in October, 2017:

Buildings, Grounds & Equipment:
The deposit ($5,000.00) for the new plow truck was made. Additional required items were needed for the truck, per MDOT. An engine block heater was also needed as the truck is parked outside during the winter and a wing blade was added. Total cost of plow truck is $37,690.00. The money will be taken from Major Savings; $5690.00, Minor Savings; $2,000 and Equipment Savings $25,000. As the truck is used Equipment Rental will be charged & money transferred to the Equipment Account.
Motion to write a check for the plow truck for $32,690.00 by Ronning, seconded by McPherson. Motion carried.
I would like to know:
a) how much was awarded
b) how much has been received
c) how much has been spent to operate and insure this vehicle
d) when will the sander be installed
d) how much has been spent to retain the prior blade and sander vehicle both in repairs and insurance costs.

And the response received on February 13, 2018:

“Answers to your FOIA questions:
 
I would like to know:
a) how much was awarded – $16,000.00 will be awarded
b) how much has been received – $0
c) how much has been spent to operate and insure this vehicle – Insurance is $665.00
d) when will the sander be installed – the sander is installed in the old plow truck
d) how much has been spent to retain the prior blade and sander vehicle both in repairs and insurance costs. – insurance is $665.00, 
 
We do not track separate operating/repairs for each of the trucks you are referencing.”
The resident wonders why not sell the old vehicle and put the proceeds toward the cost of purchase and upgrades to the replacement vehicle?

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