Who we are. What we know. Part III: Public Service

  1. In a recent post the 2017 IRS reports of salaries and wages were reported.
  2. Obtained by FOIA – the total paid out in 2017 was $92,656.12 (including withholding and SIT)
  3. In September the State of Michigan Department of Treasury published the FY2017-18 Village of Bear Lake Audit. The major portions are below but one relevant factor is worth mentioning here – the Governmental Fund Balance is $175,837.00
    Total Revenue –        $332,681.00
    Total Expenditures – $341,292.00.



Also to compare data from 2010-2017 see State of MI Community Financials

  1. Last Week the draft ballot for the 2018 November General Election was sent out by the Manistee County Clerk.
  2. Both the incumbent Village Clerk and Treasurer filed to run, as did 2 incumbent Trustees Marla Evans and Andrea Ware.
  3. One new candidate filed for the remaining third Trustee vacancy, Rodney Gee.
  4. The position of Village President has no one filed to run.
  5. DISCLOSURE: the Editor of Bear Lake News has filed to challenge the position of Village Clerk.
  6. In October 2017 the Village approved an Ordinance #1 to make the Clerk and Treasurer positions appointed employees rather than holding them accountable to residents to vote on every 2 years. The rationale given was stated thats the positions have become too complicated for local voters to choose wisely.  Also stated was that, as the positions were on the Ballot every 2 years, continuity could not be guaranteed.
  7. Although a standing FOIA was in place, Bear Lake News did not receive a copy of that 2017 Ordinance. One was obtained from the Manistee News Advocate. For the Ordinance to become enforceable it had to withstand a call for a Referendum vote. {to read that ordinance here use this link]
  8. No one has been able to read and review Ordinance 1 of 2107 on bearlakemichigna.org/ordinances.html as it was not posted, neither have any other Village Resolutions and Ordinances (other than the 2015 Blight Ordinance).  No qualifications or terms of employment are specified.

  9. The resulting Ballot Resolution contained a serious error when sent to the County Clerk, an error that persisted once the Ballot language was sent back to the Village for proofing.
  10. The Village Clerk was notified by the County as was the Village Attorney.
  11. The State Bureau of Elections agreed that it is impossible to vote on Ordinance 10 of 2017 as it does not exist. [Village residents had followed the law by submitting a legally approved referendum petition.]
  12. Under Ordinance #1, it is not required that the appointed Clerk or Treasurer be Village residents or tax payers.

The Village has a population of 261, approximately 190 adults, 64 families.

Each adult contributes @$990 a year to support wages and salaries for Village operations.

  • The deadline for registering to vote in the August Primary and Village Ballot proposals was July 9. No notification was provided by the Village (The date was published in general by the Manistee County Clerk in the Manistee News Advocate.)
  • The deadline to file as a non partisan candidate for Village Office in the November General Election was July 24. No notification was provided by the Village which positions were on the Ballot.  (The date was published in general by the Manistee County Clerk in the Manistee News Advocate.)
  • All current Village officials received, and filed, their candidate papers with the exception of President and one Trustee.

As in previous years, the Auditor has raised concerns about separation of financial powers and accountability. See the final pages commencing with August 10 letter. One error noted is that in October 2017 the Village entered into an agreement with Baird, Cotter & Bishop PC –

Clerk McPherson and Treasurer King presented to the council the opportunity of updating & correct set up of Quick Books for both positions. Total cost would $4,900.00 which includes software & set up of Quickbooks. This would be done through Baird, Cotter & Bishop, P.C. Motion to go ahead with the updating and set up of Quickbooks with Baird, Cotter & Bishop by Bass, seconded by McPherson. Motion carried.

The Minutes do not reflect a contract or services to be performed by Baird, Cotter & Bishop PC  other than notations of bills paid for General Ledger reconciliation throughout the following months and in to 2018.

The Audit further notes that the Village’s main assets are in non liquid format – infrastructure – and that a large portion of available funds fluctuate being dependent on State Revenue Sharing and Act51 Funds.

See the final 5 pages here:  tl41R01Audit2017

The deadline to register to vote in the November General Election is October 9 – Register Here

The filing deadline to run as a Write In Candidate for Village Office in November is October 26 by 4pm. The filing paperwork can be downloaded here. and submit to either Bear Lake Township Clerk or Manistee County Clerk


For more information see this link to the MI Secretary of State

Also see: