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March 2, 2019 - Annual Planning Session Notes

MARCH 2, 2019

An Annual Planning Meeting was held at City Hall, 302 North Redbud Trail, Buchanan, Michigan Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Public notice was given as applicable.

Commissioners Present: Moore, Toerne, Weedon, Denison, and Downey
Commissioners Absent: None
Staff Present: Bill Marx, Brenda Hess
Public Present: Officer Capron, Ruth Writer, Wayne Writer, Bobby Blaylock, John Poehner, Tony Nichols, Tim Wesner, Earl Scanlon, Monroe Lemay, Dan Vigansky, and Norma Ferris. Note: Members of the public arrived and departed at various times.

Introduction:  Mayor called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m., welcomed guests, and outlined the format of the proceedings. The City Manager reminded all that session is vision setting, not budgeting. 

Public Safety

Commissioner Toerne
•    Crosswalks need repainting
•    Webcams
•    Code Enforcement

Commissioner Denison
•    Law enforcement surrounding new marijuana laws

Commissioner Weedon
•    Medical/recreational marijuana
•    Police call boxes on McCoy’s Creek Trail

Commissioner Downey
•    Medical/recreational marijuana
•    Visibility at Front and Main intersection
•    McCoy’s Creek Trail security (lights and cameras)
•    Police vehicle maintenance and age of squad cars
•    Pay Fire Department at events where they volunteer

Mayor Moore
•    Cameras
•    Support of Fire Department
•    Safety of community/citizens
•    Continued visibility of Police Department
•    Number of Firefighters trained as EMTs

Manager Marx
•    Provided update on cameras around the City
•    Provided update on code enforcement
•    Provided information regarding law enforcement surrounding new marijuana laws and revenue. Discussed medical versus recreational facilities and the possible need for additional

Law enforcement 
•    Electro-Voice and Feed Mill properties discussed
•    Squad cars replaced one every three years and uses of squad cars
•    Review of goals from previous year and progress towards those goals
•    BARB’s support of Fireman’s Park

Public Comments:
•    Wayne Writer commented upon location markings on McCoy’s Creek Trail for safety and new fencing
•    Officer Capron commented on police vehicles
•    Assistant Fire Chief, Bob Blaylock, introduced department members in attendance.  Commented on the increase in auto accidents, fire inspections, ISO rating status, number of members trained in extrication equipment, response times, desire to provide enhanced services to community, first responder training, insurance rates, volunteering, and role in community.
•    Fire inspector, John Poehner, commented on observance of fire lanes/hydrants, changes in marijuana regulations/inspections, medical marijuana home caregivers lack of inspections/regulations, millage for equipment, high frequency/low risk calls versus low frequency/high risk calls, difficulty obtaining grants, traffic downtown, decreased staffing in townships, and mutual aid/response times to other communities, challenges in fire rescue.
•    Firefighter Joe Scanlon, Jr., commented on need for extrication equipment.

Recreation, Parks and Culture

Commissioner Toerne
•    Inclusion as newer resident
•    Upgrade Ross-Sanders
•    Upgrade ballfields
•    Synthetic ice rink

Commissioner Weedon
•    Inclusion as newer resident
•    Acceptance of young people
•    Park pavilion support
•    Family park support

Commissioner Downey
•    Park pavilion available for residents to rent
•    Lights at Duck Pond
•    Playground equipment at Starke School
•    Trees at Common to help with drainage
•    Increase the amount of salmon in creek
•    Things for kids/teens to do

Commissioner Denison
•    Neighborhood representatives reporting to Commission regarding issues important to their neighborhoods
•    Tie creek and trail into downtown area
•    Space at Ross-Sanders available
Mayor Moore
•    Bridging the gap of inclusion
•    Diversification of Boards and Committees
•    Discussed diversity Ordinance that is moving forward
•    Clarified situation with play equipment at Starke being removed for T-ball field
•    Live stream duck with Go-Pro and start Friends of Buchanan Ducks
•    Park maintenance
•    Museum/visitor center at Ross-Sanders
•    Promote Mill Alley project to connect Common area to downtown
•    Original fire pumper truck information

Manager Marx
•    Update on ducks

Public Comments:
•    Ruth Writer and Monroe LeMay discussed One Buchanan initiative and role of diversity in the City, newcomers and generational residents, forums/events increasing awareness of various groups, vulnerable seniors, interment of Native remains, Oak Ridge Cemetery, inclusion, speed of change, working together, common ground, marginalized residents, and hope to spread One Buchanan movement to other communities.

Economic and Community Development

Commissioner Toerne
•    People wait to pay taxes on delinquency list
•    Continued support of marijuana industries
•    Promote schools
•    Support of Fire Department volunteers

Commissioner Weedon
•    City website improvements

Commissioner Downey
•    Vacant properties and how to take care of them, city sale option
•    Inquired on how many properties does the City own
•    Leachate program with landfill and possibility to expand with other entities to bring revenue

Commissioner Denison
•    Full time person to lead economic development
•    Opening of Honor positive
•    Needs Buchanan Community Schools need of $25,000,000 for improvements
•    Pie charts of where your taxes are going
•    Website is very important
•    Has been contacted by residents in favor of recreational marijuana

Mayor Moore
•    First city to take advantage of land bank program
•    Land bank prepares the land after demolition
•    Promote and retain current businesses both inside and outside DDA area
•    Promoting the Promise and the efforts of the Gateway Community Foundation
•    Support of local people in need of education and jobs
•    Recruitment of physician to Buchanan through Gateway Foundation’s Unity Fund 
•    Unity Fund is used for health-related purchases for the community
•    Local services needed for families
•    Health related scholarships for residents interested health related fields
•    Promote the City app
•    Evaluation of SMEGA coming up

Manager Marx
•    Discussed pros and cons of recreational marijuana regarding our existing medical marijuana Ordinance

Public Comments: No public comment
Public Services

Commissioner Toerne
•    Build new DPW building
•    New waste water plant
•    Landfill issues with more leachate

Commissioner Weedon
•    Signoff sheets for training and safety
•    Preventative maintenance of City equipment
•    Proactive/reactive maintenance

Commissioner Downey
•    Sidewalk improvement
•    Grants for for various city projects

Commissioner Denison
•    Create a board of volunteers to help with Code violators
•    Lighting in City
•    Safety training for employees using equipment 

Mayor Moore
•    Decrease blight
•    Employee safety of City workers
•    Code enforcement stepped up, proactive, and applied evenly/consistently
•    Mayor exchange with another municipality
•    Mini-grants for residents who are indigent to bring homes up to code
•    Concerns regarding aging residents and their ability to care for their homes

Manager Marx
•    County program for homeowner assistance with repairs
•    City program for sidewalk repairs
•    Shared preliminary plans for new DPW from Pearson
•    Possibility of combining DPW and Fire Department in new building
•    General discussion of DPW, Fire Department, Art Center, Police Station, SMACS facilities
•    ID cards for city employees
•    Commission meeting with DPW regarding maintenance schedule

Public Comments: No public comments
Community of Choice

Commissioner Toerne
•    Update of the 10-year Master Plan

Commissioner Weedon
•    Use website to educate people regarding taxes

Commissioner Downey
•    No comments

Commissioner Denison
•    Inclusion of all groups in Buchanan

Mayor Moore
•    Educate people about the myth of high Buchanan taxes
•    We need new people participating on Boards and Committees

Manager Marx
•    Provided updates on the trail, parks, and The Common

Public Comments: Norma Ferris commented about the north end of the city.

Administrative Services

Commissioner Toerne
•    Our neighborhood streets
•    Repaving, not patching
•    Equipment and new DPW building, also new firehouse
•    New wastewater treatment plant
•    Medical marijuana businesses
•    Update our downtown area buildings and roads
•    Upgrade the summer Thrill on the Hill
•    Purchase pre-owned synthetic ice rink

Commissioner Weedon
•    Control the number of marijuana businesses (recreational)    
•    Increased business diversity
•    DPW/Fire Station/Police Combination
Commissioner Downey
•    No comments

Commissioner Denison
•    No comments

Mayor Moore
•    Communication for Commission.  Briefing needs to be at a more basic level so commissioners can understand the process of the items.  Also use repetition so learning might take place.  Please include more examples and pictures for them.
•    Make a briefing available with the agenda for the public
•    Use wise approach to infrastructure challenges
•    Continue “quality of life” efforts like Thrill on the Hill
•    Control medical and recreational marijuana to decrease the potential negatives while working to the benefit of all citizens.
•    Oxidation ditch will benefit public for years to come
•    Ideas that might benefit while we replace aging infrastructure-burying power lines?
•    New relationship with DDA

Manager Marx
•    No Comments

Public Comments: Meeting was adjourned before discussion took place on this topic.  Comments recorded here were from the Commissioner’s notes turned in at the conclusion of the meeting.

Session ended at 1:48 p.m. 

Note:  Due to the expiration of time, Commission members submitted their comments for “Administrative Services” to the Clerk for inclusion in these minutes.

_________________________________                    _______________________________
Patricia Moore                                    Brenda J. Hess        
Mayor                                        City Clerk


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