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June 24, 2019 - Minutes

City of Buchanan Commission Minutes
June 24, 2019

The regularly scheduled meeting of the City Commission was held at City Hall, 302 N Redbud Trail, Buchanan, Michigan Monday, June 24, 2019 and was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Moore.  The Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance. Pam Sten gave the Invocation.

George Nespital – 100th Birthday – Honored for service to the community.

Roll Call
Present: Mayor Moore, Commissioners Denison, Downey, Toerne and Weedon
Absent: None
Guests: Approximately 35 guests and visitors, John Biek of American Electric Power, Rick Paniagua of Om of Buchanan, Tom Wright, Sr. of Michigan Total Healing Center of Buchanan
City Staff in attendance:  Bill Marx, City Manager; Debra Patzer, City Zoning Administrator; Brenda Hess, City Clerk

Public Comments
•    Fran Terry – Thanked Commission for service. Asked when approving DDA budget to acknowledge that amendments would be needed.
•    Dan Vigansky – Commented on chip and seal of roads, condition of street sweeper and condition of roads in the City. Commented on Honor Credit Union ownership.
•    Randal Peart – Commented on DDA, asked to delay decision on DDA budget. Inquired on how items are selected for consent calendar. Commented on AEP lighting project. Inquired about definition of State and County Road repair list and road fund.
•    Chris Geisler – Commented on chip and seal and condition of streets.
•    Pam Sten – Commented on chip and seal.
•    Dan Vigansky – Commented upon removal from boards. Inquired on who purchased trees for Common.
•    Cindy Benson – Commented on sound in Chamber.

Consent Calendar
•    Approve Agenda
•    Approve Minutes: Regular scheduled meeting June 10, 2019*
•    Approve Invoices/Expenditures for June 10, 2019 in the amount of $107,839.24*
•    Approve Banner Placement from July 18, 2019 through August 5, 2019 for Summer Thrill on the Hill*
•    Approve Road Closure of Front Street (from the American Legion lower driveway to the intersection of Front at Redbud Trail) from Tuesday, July 30, 2019 9:00 a.m. until Sunday, August 4, 2019, 6:00 a.m. for Summer Thrill on the Hill*
•    Approve Procurement Policy for Buchanan Dial-A-Ride

Removal of DDA Budget from Consent Calendar was discussed
Weedon moved, seconded by Downey to removed item F from the Consent Calendar for discussion. Yeas: Weedon, Downey, Denison Nays: Toerne, Moore.  Weedon moved, seconded by Downey to approve the amended Consent Calendar. Yeas: Downey, Denison, Moore, Weedon   Nays: Toerne

Approve the Downtown Development Authority Budget for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year that was approved and recommended by the DDA Board at their June 12, 2019 meeting as moved from the Consent Calendar Item F – Marx commented that the budget needed to be approved before the conclusion of the fiscal year on June 30, and amendments can be made by the DDA at any point once budget has been approved. Noted DDA budget meeting would be held the next evening. DDA can make amendments when they need to as they are needed. Noted changes in Board membership and chair possibly slowed budget process. Commented on adversarial tone between DDA and City and hope for improved relationship and common ground. Moore moved, seconded by Toerne to approve the DDA budget as presented as submitted. Yeas: Denison, Weedon, Moore, Toerne   Nays: Downey

Reports by: Departments, Committees, Boards
Buchanan Tree Friends – Consider approval of planting of trees at the Common TABLED – Brenda Hess from the Buchanan Tree Friends shared plan for new trees in the Common.  Plan was reviewed and approved by the Common Committee and Farmer’s Market. Hess noted DDA was not paying for trees in the Common and donations from local families were covering the cost.  Commission requested item be tabled until an updated map of the plan could be submitted.  Weedon moved, seconded by Toerne to postpone the approval of the Buchanan Tree Friends Common area tree plan until map and location of trees could be presented to the Commission.  Roll call vote carried unanimously. 

Unfinished Business
Consider approval of previously postponed motion of June 10, 2019, to approve contracts (2) with AEP for Streetlighting Replacement Plan as discussed at the May 13, 2019 and May 28, 2019 City Commission Meetings with additional discussion on June 10, 2019 – John Biek provided information regarding plan. Reviewed directive from State to AEP which provided that the cost of replacement of high-pressure sodium lights with LEDs due to upfront cost of approximately $4,000,000 for the State which cannot be passed on to the community.  Concerns expressed regarding the amount of money AEP would make over the lifetime of the bulbs. Stated it is not a mandated program and AEP will eventually change all bulbs.  Benefit will be uniform light coverage and less outages of streetlights at this point. Concerns regarding the lack of end of contract and the amount AEP would make over time.  Regulatory rules of utilities restrict what AEP can offer for program and costs associated with program. Biek cannot guarantee reduction in cost.  Sixty-day cancelation of street light contract if City were to install own lighting. Costs were discussed and reviewed. Biek noted approximately twelve communities have signed contracts. After much deliberation, Denison moved, seconded by Weedon to postpone approval contracts (2) with AEP for Streetlighting Replacement Plan as discussed at the May 13, 2019 and May 28, 2019 City Commission Meetings. Roll call vote carried unanimously.

Consider approval of road maintenance list with the Berrien County Road Department for West Smith Street, Chippewa Street, and Arctic Street in the amount of $32,365 as discussed at the June 10, 2019 City Commission Meeting – Marx commented on process of fog sealing of chip and sealed roads.  Fog sealing will come from Ashley, Indiana at a rate of $300 per hour.  Marx commented upon how roads are rated on a scale of one to five and then assigned to a list according to where they land on the scale. Explained process of fog sealing to residents. Roads selected through M-DOT grant approval. Discussion surrounded life span of chip and seal and advantages of “fog” sealant. Weedon moved, seconded by Downey to approve road maintenance list with the Berrien County Road Department for West Smith Street, Chippewa Street, and Arctic Street in the amount of $32,365 as discussed on June 10, 2019 Roll call vote carried unanimously.  Roll call vote carried unanimously. Weedon moved seconded by Toerne to approve the fog seal project in an amount not to exceed $8,500. Roll call vote carried unanimously.

Consider status of Om of Buchanan – Rick Paniagua reported progress on signing of lease with option to purchase which occurred earlier in day. Discussion surrounded the need for time to review the new documentation submitted by Paniagua.  Moore moved, seconded by Denison to approve an extension of approval of Om of Buchanan’s Medical Marijuana application renewal until the next meeting. Roll call vote carried unanimously.

New Business
Consider approval of the MMFP for Michigan Total Healing Center of Buchanan, 804 E. Front Street – Debra Patzer reviewed application process.  Question about building plans, noted no building permit has been issued. Comments surrounded approval process at the State level and how renovations of certain properties have been stalled during State approval process. Tom Wright, Sr., commented on progress at building site.  Downey moved, seconded by Weedon to approve the MMFP for Michigan Total Healing Center of Buchanan, 804 E. Front Street.  Roll call vote carried unanimously. 
Public Comment
•    Larry Thompson – Requested workshop for Ordinances for review.  Commented upon driveway of neighbor and encroachment of neighbor in alleyway.  Question if driveway approach is owned by property owner. Shared photos of dumpsters and effect on alleyway.  Inquired on time for building permit.  Inquired on weed, grass, leaf Ordinances.
•    Dan Vigansky – Commented upon consent calendar procedure. Commented upon DDA budget and past DDA practices. Commented upon DDA property owned and sold to City.  Commented upon DDA goals to improve property in the DDA district. 
•    Fran Terry – Clarified DDA position on previous citizen’s comments. Expressed hope that DDA will be successful.
•    Chris Geisler – Expressed concerns about lawnmowing and tree truck. Expressed concern regarding look of Electro-Voice property and enforcement of code there.  

City Manager Comments
Commented that Mr. Thompson needed to submit letter of request for change in easement for his driveway.  He has complaints with neighbor in which Code enforcement and law enforcement have been involved. Weather has slowed down progress at Redbud and River intersection project, but traffic lights should be installed by end of week.  Redbud Track and Trial will be staging at the River Street parking lot starting 6:00 Wednesday prior to the July 4th motocross event.  Commented upon DDA budget and misinformation circulating.  Expressed hope for moving forward in positive manner.  Special DDA meeting on June 25th at 6:00 p.m.  Act 57 covers the responsibilities and obligations of the DDA. 

Commissioners’ Comments
Dension – Commented that DDA exists to promote downtown. 
Downey – Commented upon nicer weather, Farmer’s Market, Pears Mill and garage sales.  Inquired about condition of creek at the Common with weeds.  Expressed concern about City employees driving the City Gator without helmets.  Commented upon situation with downtown business owner and possible harassment from City employee.
Toerne – Commented upon DDA budget effect upon other groups such as the Garden Club and Farmer’s Market.  Commented upon previous attempts at DDA budget. Reported Planning Commission did not meet.  Reported Landfill approved $32,000 to improve main building at entrance.  Approved $22,000 for new John Deere tractor.  New gate to be installed at Chamberlain Road entrance. Terminated contracted with wood-chipping service. Approved raises for employees.  John Burke from Tactical Energy employed by the Landfill and working to save money.  Thanked Denny from Denny’s Automotive for providing jump to car.
Weedon – No comments.
Moore – Reminded citizens of free concerts on Thursday nights. Saturday to be first of the “Last Saturday on the Common Concert” season. Wished everyone a safe Fourth of July.  Commented to clarify committee memberships following elections. Noted elected officials are assigned to Boards and Committees following an election. Noted board members do not retain their seats if they are not reelected. 

Closed Session  
Toerne moved, seconded by Downey to move into closed session under MCL15.268(d) closed session; permissible purposes section 8. To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state statute. To Approve Minutes from Closed Session of June 10, 2019.  Roll call vote carried unanimously.  Moved to closed session at 8:55.

The Mayor reconvened the meeting at 8:57 p.m.

Denison moved, seconded by Toerne to adjourn the meeting.  Voice vote carried unanimously. Mayor Moore adjourned the meeting at 8:59 p.m.

_______________________________                _____________________________    
Mayor Patricia A. Moore DPM                              City Clerk Brenda J. Hess

This meeting was recorded and may be viewed on Comcast Channel 17 and YouTube.

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