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January 26 2009 Minutes

January 26, 2009

The regular scheduled meeting of the City Commission was held at Buchanan City Hall, 302 N. Redbud Trail, Buchanan, Michigan, Monday, January 26, 2009. Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

The Pledge was recited by all in attendance.  Pastor Patricia Ramsden, First Presbyterian gave the invocation.
Commissioners present: Barbara Clark, Carla Cole, Patricia Moore, Warren Weaver, Jennifer Singleton 
Commissioners absent:   none
Staff present:      City Manager Meg Mullendore, Wastewater Assistant Superintendent Gary Greathouse and Clerk Gladys Bybee
Guests/Visitors present:  13 including 1 reporter                 

Cole moved, seconded by Moore to amend the agenda to reflect the change on the Commissioners’ appointments as the Joint Arts & Historical Committee no longer exists. Roll call vote carried unanimously. 
• Agenda
• Minutes: Regular Meeting January 12, 2009
• Checks 56509 to 56622 in the amount of $208,741.34
• Resolution 2009.01/2, Resolution to Negotiate the Summer School Tax Collection Fee
WHEREAS, the City agrees to collect the total summer school taxes as certified by the School District for the levy on July 1, 2009 for property located within the City; and
WHEREAS, the School District agrees to pay City costs of assessment and collection in the negotiated amount; and
WHEREAS, no later than June 1, 2009, the School District shall certify to the Treasurer the school millage to be levied on property for summer school tax collection in 2009; now, therefore, 
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Treasurer is authorized and directed to negotiate with the School District on behalf of the City of Buchanan: for the reasonable expenses for collection of the district’s summer property tax levy that the City may bill under MCLA 280.1611 or MCLA 280.1612.  Any such proposed agreement shall be brought before the City Commission for its approval.
ADOPTED this 26th day of January 2009.

• Appoint Barbara Clark and the City Manager to the Southeast Berrien County Landfill Board
• Appoint Barbara Clark to the Downtown Development Authority and Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance; Carla Cole to Downtown Development Authority and Joint Water & Sewer Board; Patricia Moore to Common Committee and Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery Board; Jennifer Singleton to Fine Arts Council; and Warren Weaver to Plan Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Construction Board of Appeals, Design Review Committee, and Farmers’ Market Board.

After request from the Mayor, no public comments regarding any items on the agenda were heard.

Buchanan Masonic Temple Representative was not in attendance.
Kim O’Haver, Vice President of Administration for Transportation Management Inc. (Third Party Administrator for Buchanan Dial-A-Ride) gave good news: 3 new buses were purchased, increased miles, increased hours, more efficient, and translators provided by Andrews University to assist with passengers. She reported on the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Project for FY 2010 Section 5311 Operating, goal to improve coordination of transportation services, active Local Advisory Council and then explained the FY 2010 budget figures in detail.  Cole moved, seconded by Weaver to approve the Resolution Accepting Operating Agreement and Authorizing the Mayor and Transportation Coordinator to sign the same. Roll call vote carried unanimously. Resolution 2009.01/03 attached.

Mullendore summarized the documentation provided by Buchanan Township Supervisor Jane Mitchell that was included with the meeting packet.  She summarized the documents in detail and reported her concern with the Letter of Credit for three million seven hundred thousand (3.7) dollars for the Southeast Berrien County Landfill (SEBCL). Mullendore then recommended her support of opposition to the Letter of Request.  Weaver moved, seconded by Cole to refuse to participate in the authorization and terms of the letter of credit for three million seven hundred thousand (3.7) dollars for the Southeast Berrien County Landfill (SEBCL).  Roll call vote carried unanimously.     
After shared discussion between the City Manager and Commission regarding the
comparison over the past 10 years and actual cost increase of providing services. The
Mayor requested a list of last year’s Ravish Park rentals and Commissioner Weaver
opposed the hydrant maintenance fees.  Cole moved, seconded by Moore to approve the
amended fee schedule for city services, forms, copies, permits, etc
. City resident Ann
Marie Buchanan Jones asked why the increases during this economic downturn and urged
delay of any fee increases. After brief debate, roll call vote carried by majority.  YEA:
Moore, Weaver, Cole. NAY: Singleton, Clark.

Gary Greathouse reported that in 1996 the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
required sludge flow to be monitored by meter. He explained the sole source quote for the
proposed purchase of a new meter as it worked in conjunction with existing meters. After
clarification that funds were available to make the purchase, Weaver moved to purchase the controlotron sonic flow meter from JG Innovation, LTD in the amount of $7,240.00 for the Wastewater Department as presented. Cole seconded the motion and roll call vote carried unanimously.

Ann Marie Buchanan Jones announced that her property taxes were very high and asked if the City was looking to assist citizens by lowering property taxes due to the economic downturn. Mullendore replied that the City is not collecting the maximum amount allowable, had not increased the tax rate for several years and if it did reduce tax rate services (i.e. police officers, leaf pickup, and clerical staff) would have to eliminated.  She explained that water and wastewater are special revenue funds separate from the General Fund, and does not see lowering taxes as a viable option for the City. 

City Manager Comments:
• Reminded Commission that she would be gone next week to City Manager Winter Conference

Cole comments:
• Kudos to Department of  Public Works for clearing snow.
Moore comments:
• Reiterate that Commission is helping citizens by keeping tight purse strings and stringent evaluation done before spending. Have kept the city tax rate the same for many years although special taxes have been voted in by citizens for Dial-A-Ride, Senior Center, Ambulance Service, etc. Hopes that the public does not leave the meeting thinking the Commission is uncaring or not concerned with persons less fortunate.
Weaver comments:
• Believes Ms. Buchanan will have better understanding of the property tax charges after she speaks with Assessor Gordon Schreiber.
Singleton comments:
• Read her letter of resignation from the commission effective January 27th and then delivered it to the City Clerk along with her keys and Code of Ordinances. 
Clark comments:
• Conflict with the Budget Workshop on March 2nd for commissioners
• Sad with Commissioner Singleton’s decision to leave the commission, enjoyed working with her, and will miss her.

Cole moved, seconded by Moore to adjourn the meeting at 7:47 p.m.

__________________________                     ____________________________
Gladys Bybee, CMC-City Clerk                         Barbara J. Clark, Mayor

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