Featured

Village of Bear Lake: Financial Position

Bear Lake News was requested to submit a 6 month FOIA Subscription to receive Regular and Special Meeting notices and all documentation provided to any Council member or public attending in person. This was approved in November, 2017:

Under MI Freedom of Information Act (Public Act No. 442 of 1976 as amended)

We hereby submit this 6 month subscription request for the following documents. 
  • To be received via electronic mail. 
  • In advance of all Village Council, Planning, Two Lakes Sewer Authority meetings.
  • a) Agendas
  • b) Draft Minutes within 8 business days ( as per OMA)
  • c) Approved Minutes within 5 business days of approval (as per OMA)
  • d) All finance documents referenced in those Minutes
  • e) All spreadsheets referenced in the Minutes when the FY Operating Budget has been amended
  • f) All Special or Public Meeting Notices in no less than the notice required by law.
Said documents are required to be produced for all Village Meetings and therefore do not meet the additional labor charge time period.
To attach said documents to an email has been timed at 90 seconds.
We look forward to the Village’s compliance with their stated intent of open and transparent government. Perhaps a simpler solution would be a link to where a full meeting packet may be located on the Village web site?
Bear Lake News Media Service.

On Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:47 PM, Bryan E. Graham
wrote:

Dear Cindi:

I have reviewed the FOIA from the Bear Lake News.  With the exception noted below, all of the requested public records must be provided in
electronic format and in advance of all Village Council and village planning commission meetings.

On January 8, 2018 we amended our request:

Any document presented for review or discussion at any Village Council Regular, Special or Planning Commission meeting.
As previously noted – such documents have already been created for the Council and meeting attendees to view – we are requesting these be made available as either .doc, .xls or PDF format and supplied via email or GoogleDrive in advance of said meetings to allow residents time to review and comment please?

Again, as we have done on many prior occasions, we would highly recommend the Village post all Meeting packets to it’s own web site to avoid
duplication of such FOIA requests.
Bear Lake News.

Items not received:

  • FY 2017-18 Year End final itemized spreadsheet for Profit and Loss by fund and line item.
  • March 28, 2018 Council meeting itemized spreadsheet for Profit and Loss by fund and line item. [our volunteer resident was unable to attend to pick up a copy in person. If any Village resident would agree to attend one meeting a year please contact us by replying to this post?]
  • A $50 fee was requested of a resident asking to receive copies of the 2017 W3, W2s and 1099 Misc – approximately 22-26 single sheets. A request to receive a redacted pdf copy as these were prepared by a contracted CPA ($400) for submission to federal and state tax entities was refused as taking 10 days to comply. In using the Village’s own lengthy FOIA fee schedule – a fee of $2.50 plus postage was offered and declined by the Village. current_foia_detailed_cost_form_1-24-17[pdf]
  • A request to see the actual application and cost sheets for the proposed Hopkins Park kayak launch/pier project has not received a response. From the corrected Public Hearing announcement and Minutes [ Unapproved Public Hearing Kayak Canoe Lauch March 28 2018 ] it appears this no longer a joint Township/Village Project and states “The grant will cover 74% of the project and 26% will come from other donations. The project will be 100% covered with minimal cost to village.”
  • A February 13, 2018 request to see the final details concerning the now confirmed loan from USDA to construct a new Maintenance Building was not complied with.
  • On April 5 the following was received:
  • The status of a 30 year USDA loan application for construction – I assuming you are referencing the DPW building?  Loan has been approved and bids will begin but there has been nothing set/annouced on the bids.
    2. The status of a USDA partial grant for a vehicle purchase – We received the grant money for it.[NOTE: we have not seen this amount noted in the Minutes or which Fund the grant receipt was placed in]
  • On April 6, 2016 the following was sent:
  • As I was one of the individuals who submitted the FOIA request for information about the USDA Loan for the DPW Building I would like to ask again for a copy of the proposal and the USDA Letter of Commitment spelling out the loan agreement. No information has been provided to the public on the final cost, the interest rate, the repayment terms or the loan term itself. In the unapproved March 218 Minutes :
    Motion to sign the Resolution to Purchase, Acquire and Construct Capital Improvements and to Publish Notice of Intent to Issue Municipal Securities by
    McPherson, seconded by Ronning. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None
    Motion to authorize treasurer to open additional dedicated bank accounts for the payment & repayment of funds for construction, DPW building & USDA projects as needed by Evans, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None
    I am asking that the financial information related to this loan be included in corrected Minutes for March 2018.
  • On April 11 the following was received:
  • The village was awarded this and was sent a letter of conditions for the DPW building on March 21, 2018 from USDA.  An ad was placed in the News Advocate on April 2, 2018, Notice of intent to issue municipal securities to the electors of the village of Bear Lake.
    There is no final cost as that will be determined when the project is finished.  The loan can not exceed $328,000.00.  The repayment schedule will be established for 30 years from the date of closing at 3 1/2%.
  • To date this information has not been posted at bearlakemichigan.org

Featured

Village of Bear Lake: March 28, 2018 DRAFT Minutes

The following were received on April 5, 2018.
Unapproved Minutes March 28 2018 Reg meeting

Village of Bear Lake Council
REGULAR MEETING. March 28, 2018
Bear Lake Village Hall

Unapproved Minutes

The regular meeting of the Bear Lake Village Council was called to order by President Jeff Bair at 7:08 p.m. at the Village Hall. Pledge of Allegiance was said.

Present: President: Jeff Bair Council: Peggy Bass, Marla Evans, Jackie Johnson, Greg McPherson, Ron Ronning & Andrea Ware
Treasurer: Sally King, Clerk: Cindi McPherson, Staff: Jared Bair and Larry Gibson
Absent: None
Guests: Five (5) guests

Motion to Adopt the Agenda with additions by Evans and seconded by McPherson, motion carried.
Ayes: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nays: none
Absent: Johnson

Additions: Under Water: motion for 1 or 2 new bank accounts for Water System Project & DPW Building. Planning Commission: Natalie Ware introduction

Public Comment:

  • None

Correspondence: Read by clerk:

  • Letter from Curtis VanderWall, Michigan House of Representative, stated Village of Bear Lake will receive $2,818.60 for road repairs & improvements. Money comes from passed House Bill 4321, Michigan Legislature. No money received at this time.
  • Letter from Manistee County, Jim Espvik, Manistee County 911 Director, stating; Manistee County Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt a resolution to amend & reinstate 911 Service Plan. It is out of date and no longer in compliance with state law.

REPORTS:

Motion to accept the minutes from February 21, 2018 Public Hearing Proposed Budget 2018-2019 by Bass, seconded by Ronning. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None

Motion to accept the minutes with corrections from February 21, 2018 Regular Monthly Meeting by Bass, seconded by Evans. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None
Corrections: spelling corrections noted.

Motion to accept the minutes from February 28, 2018 Public Hearing, Water System Improvement Project by Evans, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None

  • Maintenance Report: Verbal report was given by Jared Bair. Painting of public restrooms/showers for campers. New picnic tables for the camp grounds were purchased from Bear Lake Hardware. New fire rings will be purchased from Saddle Up. May need new ceiling fan for the ladies shower area.
  • Treasurer’s Report: Reviewed by King. Written report on file in the 2018 Minutes binder.

February 28, 2018 Fund Balances:
General checking/savings total 74,680.39
Water checking only 49,819.61
Money Market Checking 10,081.87
Park checking/savings total 22,399.43
Park CD#2 33,149.40
Major Street checking/savings total 27,835.70
Minor Street checking/savings total 8,530.81
Equipment Fund checking/savings total 7,295.93

Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report as presented by McPherson seconded by Bass, motion carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: none
Absent: none

A motion was made to approve amendments as listed below to the 2018-2019 budget by Evans, seconded by Bass. Motion carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nays: None
Absent: None

Amendments:
General Increase Professional Services to $3,000

$3,000 from Utilities

Water Increase Interest Expense to $1,000

Increase Insurance to $1,500

Increase License & Fees to $1,000

Park Increase Insurance to $1,128

$328 from Utilities

Major Increase Insurance to $1,154

$54 from Office Supplies

Minor Increased Insurance to $1,154

$54 from Miscellaneous

Bills to be paid presented by Treasurer. List on file in 2018 Minutes folder.

Motion to pay the bills by Ronning, seconded by McPherson. Motion carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: none
Absent: none

February Reimbursements to the General Fund were read by President Bair.

  • Wages to General Fund: $4,088.00
  • Equipment Rental to General Fund: $7,949.42

Committee Chair Reports:

Park:
o Park Report: Verbal report by Park Manager. Report on file in March Minutes
folder.

Motion to sign a resolution to submit application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Funds for development of a Universally Accessible Canoe/Kayak Launch, Floating Dock, Fishing Pier and other amenities at Hopkins Park by McPherson, seconded by Ronning. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None
Motion to sign the Grant Agreement Concerning the Michigan Natural Resources
Trust Fund Grant Entitled “Hopkins Park Development” by McPherson, seconded
by Evans. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None

[A copy of the UNAPPROVED Public Hearing Minutes were received on April 5 – a request for clarification on whether this is no longer a joint Village/Township of Bear Lake project has not been answered. Unapproved Public Hearing Kayak Canoe Lauch March 28 2018 pdf – note BLN posts as received we do not edit spelling]

Streets, Trees, Signs, Lights, Sidewalks: No report

Water: 

  • o Ken Mlcek from Fleis & VanderBrink gave update on Water System Improvement Project, The Village has reviewed bids received for the Village of Bear Lake USDA Water System Improvements Project and contracts have been awarded to the selected contractors. The Village is working with USDA on a few final details that are needed before construction can start. It is anticipated that construction will start in late spring and last throughout the summer and into the early fall.
  • o Water Ordinance is tabled until April for further review, appointed committee of Bair, Johnson & Evans.

Motion to sign a Grant of Easement to access the Cell Tower by Ronning, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.

Grant of Easement Mrch 2018 [pdf]

Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None

Motion to authorize Jeff Bair, village president and Cindi McPherson, village clerk to sign the Grant of Easement to access the Cell Tower by Ronning, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.
Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
Nay: None
Absent: None

  • o Award from USDA for the new DPW building.

    Motion to sign the Resolution to Purchase, Acquire and Construct Capital Improvements and to Publish Notice of Intent to Issue Municipal Securities by McPherson, seconded by Ronning. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None

  • [Editor’s Note: no amount is listed in the Minutes. A request to receive the Notice of Intent and the Resolution has not been answered. A request for the following to be published on the Village web site has not been answered. In light of the right to petition for a referendum vote on this – a subscriber has forwarded the following notice, published once in the Manistee News Advocate on April 2, 2018.]
  • Motion to authorize treasurer to open additional dedicated bank accounts for the payment & repayment of funds for construction, DPW building & USDA projects as needed by Evans, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None

    Blight/CABA:

    CABA: No report.

    BLIGHT: Blight Officer verbal report by Gibson.

    Attempted to make contact with 12328 Virginia Street property owner on property status, sending letter out.

    Received complaint on condition of 7620 Stuart Street property, made informal contact. They are in process of fixing up the house. Shed collapsed due to weight of snow, advised to clean up yard.

    Gibson reported the Manistee County Magistrate has community service workers to help out for Bear Lake Community Clean-up Day.

    County Commissioner Report: Pauline Jaquish verbally reported August ballot will have .100 mills for 2019-2023, it will generate $110.000+. C.R.A.S.E., active shooter training by Manistee Sheriff has been positive. GREEN Team was awarded a $8000 grant for pick-up of old tires. Opioid Epidemic, there will be a movie regarding this at the Tribal Government Center April 4, 2018 at 7pm; How this has affected lives. There are RED Boxes around Manistee for individuals to drop old drugs. Pauline has been re-appointed to the Drug Abuse Victims group.

    Manistee County Trail Committee Report: McPherson reported trail committee has changed their name to SMARTrails, Sensational Manistee Area Recreation Trails. $300,000 grant in process for the M-55 bridge by Meijer, M-55 and US-31. A committee is working to add a multi-use trail on the bridge. Reconstruction is estimated for 2020.

    Bear Lake Improvement Board: McPherson reported no report, no meeting.

    Two Lakes Sewer Collaborative: McPherson reported no report, no meeting

    Planning Commission: Clerk McPherson read Planning Commission 2017 Annual report. On file in 2018 Minutes binder. 2017 Annual Report Plann Comm [pdf]

    Introduction of Natalie Ware as a potential member of the Planning Commission.

    Motion to appoint Natalie Ware to the Planning Commission was made by Bass, seconded by Ronning. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None

    Ad Hoc – Policy, Resolution & Ordinance Committee –Clerk McPherson reported Julie Evans is our volunteer student to help with organization of policy, ordinance & resolution books.

    OLD BUSINESS

    Clerk & Treasurer Appointment: Language for the August ballot has been prepared.

    Community Clean-up Day – The dumpster has been scheduled and notices will go out in April water bills.

    NEW BUSINESS

    • Computer Service – Inacomp will be servicing the village computers. Requesting an additional computer to act as a server and additional QuickBooks for clerk’s computer. All items will come under Water System Improvement Project as required for billing.

    Motion to approve computer & Quick Books upgrade through the water system project by Evans, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried.
    Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Ware, Bair
    Nay: None
    Absent: None

    COUNCIL COMMENT: None

    PUBLIC COMMENT: None

    COMING EVENTS

    • Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday sponsored by Bear Lake Promoters.

    Meeting adjourned at 8:28 p.m.
    Respectfully Submitted,
    Cindi McPherson, Clerk

Sunshine Week 2018: FOIA Updates Three

This is the last day of Sunshine Week 2018 where the legal right of citizens to ask questions of their local elected officials is celebrated by honoring the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Does a citizen have the expectation of being able to ask reasonable questions without having to submit a FOIA is a question to also ask elected officials?

The Village of Bear Lake has taken the position that all requests must be done via FOIA.

To reiterate the policy of Bear Lake News – we report, we do not comment.

February 6, 2018:

Under MI Freedom of Information Act (Public Act No. 442 of 1976 as amended): I hereby submit this request.  I am requesting the items in electronic PDF or Word format to be sent to me via email. I am also requesting this issue be discussed at the Budget review hearings.
I am requesting:
1. A copy of the full application for funding sent to USDA concerning the proposed DPW Building – from the documents I have seen, the construction site seems to be in conflict with the access road for the new Water Wells?
Has MDEQ agreed to the storage of salt and sand this close to the well sites?
  1. Communication from USDA confirming acceptance of an application, estimate of fundability, allocation of funds or indication of availability of funds, and in which FY
3. Amount and terms of repayment of the Loan.
4. Amortized final cost, including interest over 30 years.
As this pertains specifically to how the Village will set it’s FY2018-19 Operating Budget it is worth noting the mandate to designate repayment funds as listed in the June 2017 Minutes:
At the request of the USDA & Rural Development, repayment of loan for construction of new DPW building (approx.. $310k over 30 yrs.) must be amended into the 2017-2018 Village Budget. Loan repayment per month approx.. $1,225-$1500)
▪ Motion to amend the budget for repayment of DPW building in 2017-2018 Budget as follows: General $1,800, Water $7,200, Park $1,800, Major $3,600, Minor $3,600, by Bass, seconded by McPherson. Motion Carried

As we know the construction estimate has risen, what is the new line item allocation?

In light of the January Budget Amendments, moving these funds to cover other Budget shortfalls, I would like the Council to address if they either intend to raise taxes or cut expenditures to guarantee the ability to make those future loan repayments? As Streets Superintendent, I am sure you know that only a certain % of Act 51 Funds can be used.
Park
Increase Repairs & Maintenance $1,054.43
Increase Professional Service $433.50
$1,487.93 from DPW Build Repayment
Minor 
Increased Repairs (Outsourced) $1,000
Increase Repairs & Maint-Winter $600
Increase Repair & Maint – Summer $45.93
Increase Equipment Rental $2,100
$3,000 from DPW Building
$700 from Gas & Oil

Reply Received February 8, 2018:
“Answer to your questions:

I am requesting:
1. A copy of the full application for funding sent to USDA concerning the proposed DPW Building – attached
from the documents I have seen, the construction site seems to be in conflict with the access road for the new Water Wells? – No, it is designed around it.
 
Has MDEQ agreed to the storage of salt and sand this close to the well sites? – Well testing has been accepted by the DEQ.

2. Communication from USDA confirming acceptance of an application, estimate of fundability, – USDA has not awarded the village any funds.

allocation of funds or indication of availability of funds, – USDA has indicated funds are available

 and in which FY – unknown

3. Amount and terms of repayment of the Loan. – no award has been given
4. Amortized final cost, including interest over 30 years. – no award has been given
Repayment has been budgeted – no award has been given at this time.
Thank you for your concern.”
February 13, 2018:
having had a chance to consider, and ask for some expert assistance regarding your response, I don’t believe my questions have been answered?
1. The document you sent, SF-424, is just the cover sheet – dated 9/14/17
“This is a standard form used by applicants as a required face sheet for pre-applications and applicatons submitted for Federai assistance. It will be used by Federal agencies to obtain applicant certification that States which have established a review and comment procedure in response to Executive Order 12372 and have selected the program to be included In their process, have been given an opportunity to review the applicant’s submission.”
On November 15 the Village held a Public Hearing where it was stated that USDA had requested changes to the application (see attached documents you previously supplied as a partial response to a prior request for the Public Hearing documents)
My request was to see the full application not the cover sheet – the Summary, Narrative, Environmental Assessment, the Proposed Timeline and the Site Plan
2. In reviewing the initial draft designs, the Village is proposing a 60′ x 40′ structure with a 42′ trench drain to a sump pit? Does the new design include a revised VOC catch basin?
3. In reviewing the Bid package for the water project – where will the DPW building be located on this property? It’s original location was scheduled as adjacent to the Sand storage barn?
The reason for this query is that one of the reasons given for requiring the relocation of the existing wells was their proximity to potential sources of surface/ground water contamination.
Comparing the design of the DPW building to the attached schematic of the Water well access raises questions.
a) close proximity to the main 8″ tie in line as well as the natural gas service line
b) the potential for damage or destabilization of those lines during construction and operation of the proposed DPW building – unless, of course the Village intends to locate the structure elsewhere?
My question does not relate to MDEQ testing of the wells themselves – however, as a prior member of the Wellhead Protection Committee, and as the well drilling and water quality reports are available I would like to see those please?
4. At the November 2017 Public Hearing it was noted that USDA queried the defined costs. My request to see the communications from USDA was as follows with your response in bold:
2. Communication from USDA confirming acceptance of an application, estimate of fundability, – USDA has not awarded the village any funds.
allocation of funds or indication of availability of funds, – USDA has indicated funds are available
 and in which FY – unknown
3. Amount and terms of repayment of the Loan. – no award has been given
4. Amortized final cost, including interest over 30 years. – no award has been given

Again I requested the confirmation from USDA on the fundability and anticipated terms and timeline of an award?

5. There is a significant math discrepancy in the attached SF 424C Budget Information Sheet – can you supply the final version approved following the November 15 Public Hearing?

And again – the original proposed repayment was for $310,000 financed over 30 years. The attached SF 424C lists $328,134.32 – how does the Village plan to allocate this new amount to it’s FY2018-19 Budget?

As the Village is proposing a $2.25m debt for Village residents, although I appreciate these questions may be outside your realm of expertise, your assistance would be appreciated in supplying the requested documentation.
Response received February 15, 2018:

“I have sent you the information that I have regarding your questions.  If you would like me to continue research on additional items you have listed, I would be glad to do that.  However, there would be FOIA research costs that would need to be paid up front before any research would be done.  Please advise me if you will pay FOIA fees for researching your questions and I can send you an FOIA itemized cost sheet.

The Proposed Budget 2018-2019 was sent to you regarding repayment of the DPW building.
Confirmation from USDA on the fund ability, anticipated terms & time line of award, again, The village has not been awarded and funds at this time.
You are right, some of these questions are out of my expertise, maybe we should let the professionals working on this project do their job!
Thank you for your concerns.”
February 18, 2018: A request was sent to the Village President:
“I would like to know – is the Village Clerk unable to locate a filed PDF copy of the DPW USDA loan/project application revised following the November 2017 Public Hearing? Or the prior/subsequent USDA Letter of Commitment?
If so, please let me know so I can request one directly from USDA.”
A response was received February 21, 2018:
“Jennifer Wahr at the USDA may be able to help you if Cindi does not have the information you need.”
The approved FY2018-19 Budget can be viewed here. It was sent to Bear Lake News by a member of the public:
The Minutes seem to indicate an additional piece of property has been purchased but this can not be confirmed at this time.