Village Council Minutes 6-26-17 Amended 7-18-17

VILLAGE OF KALKASKA

MINUTES OF A REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2017 IN THE VILLAGE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 200 HYDE STREET, KALKASKA, MICHIGAN, 49646.

CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL

President Sieting called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

PRESENT: President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Sanborn and White.

ABSENT: Trustee Needham

STAFF PRESENT:     Scott Yost, Village Manager; Angie Koon, Village Clerk; Glenn Artress, Lieutenant; Helen Artress, Department of Public Safety Administrative Assistant.

PUBLIC PRESENT: Mark Johnson, Amy Sieting, Mickey Miller, Nicole Doom, Donald Doom, Ed Tobey, Carol Philips, Kate Buckner, Dan Johnson, Misty Marshall, Diana Shafer, Freda Azar, Crystal Spencer, Daire Rendon, Art Caden, Kelly  Hall, Robert Hall, Ken Berry, Jonathon Dupuie, Frank Dunnelly, Shana North, Mitchell Sutton, Chip Sheahen, Elizabeth Dunham, Dagny Monette, Robert Sieting, Brad Bissonette and Dan North.

Dan Johnson started with a prayer and President Sieting led with the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF REGULAR AGENDA

Motion by White, second by Sanborn, to approve the agenda as presented. Motion carried on a voice vote.

CONSENT AGENDA

Motion by Sanborn, second by Dupuie, to approve as presented. Motion carried on a voice vote.

PUBLIC COMMENT – None

PRESENTATIONS – None

REPORTS FROM COUNCIL COMMITTEES

Business Development Committee – Manager Yost stated the committee discussed the potential sale of 404 S. Cherry Street.  The Village received this property from the Kalkaska Memorial Health Center (KMHC) for a dollar, though it has not yet closed.  Yost updated Council on his recommendation for the potential sale or disposal of this property.

To maximize the construction and renovation window for the 404 S. Cherry Street property, motion by Sanborn, second by Kelly, to pre-authorize the Village Manager to draft a Purchase Agreement which insures timely preservation of the property, and which also insures to the maximum extent that renovation will maintain the historical nature of the property and, among other things, also requires regular reporting of the project progress by the Buyer and, upon finalizing the closing between KMHC and the Village of Kalkaska, to advertise for sealed proposals to accomplish this. A roll call vote was then taken:  Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – Trustee Needham.  Motion carried.

Manager Yost reiterated that there is no potential buyer at this time, but drafting a Purchase Agreement is the next step.

REPORTS FROM VILLAGE OFFICERS

MANAGER’S REPORT

Manager Yost stated that he will complete the draft Purchase Agreement for 404 S. Cherry Street, with the goal of returning the home to useable function while safeguarding its historical nature.

Yost advised that the Village has no relationship with the site Doxo.com, which purports to be a secure means to pay utility bills on-line.

Yost stated that the Airport Fly-In went well, and reviewed events that took place there.

Yost gave an update on the Rural Development project, stating that contractors have begun connecting water services to homes. Re-paving and restoration of roads will follow upon completion of this work.

Yost recommended to Council that the budget for crack sealing of the runway be used for tree trimming or removal.

Motion by White, second by Ellis, to authorize the Manager to use the $25,000 budget for crack sealing of the runway to seek bids to trim or remove trees; and ascertain who may also own property surrounding the runway and request that they trim or remove trees as needed to clear approach path of the runway. A roll call vote was then taken:  Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – Trustee Needham.  Motion carried.

Yost recommended additional pavement edge milling be done at Third and Elm Streets. The applicable contract for the R.D. Project has already been awarded to bidder Sterling Excavation.  Yost presented a quote from Sterling Excavation for the additional paving.

Motion by White, second by Kelly, to authorize the Manager to enter into an additional contract with Sterling Excavation for pavement edge milling and subsequent HMA overlay, per attached drawing, for an amount not to exceed $17,500 with funds taken from the existing Major Street paving line item. A roll call vote was then taken:  Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – Trustee Needham.  Motion carried.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT – None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Personnel Committee Report – Manager Yost reintroduced the proposed 457 Plan Document from FTJ Fund Choice.  Yost stated he reviewed this document, and reiterated there is no cost to the Village. This is an optional deferred compensation plan offered to employees who wish to participate.  Yost explained that one employee currently has such an account, and would like the option to continue contributions.  Yost stated there is a minimal additional burden to staff to process.

Motion by Dupuie, second by Sanborn, to adopt the FTJ Fund Choice Plan Document. A roll call vote was then taken:  Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – Trustee Needham.  Motion carried.

Trustee Kelly stated she hopes employees will take advantage of this option, as the fund does grow over time.

Motion by White, second by Dupuie, to table other Personnel Matters until the Committee Chair’s return. Motion carried on a voice vote.

NEW BUSINESS – None

PUBLIC COMMENT

Representative Daire Rendon stated that the State budget has been passed, and is currently on the Governor’s desk for signature. Rendon stated they have been very fiscally conservative with the budget, and reviewed some of its highlights.  These included the creation of Michigan jobs through the addition of Amazon facilities in the state, as well as the approval of Teacher Pension Reform to preserve pensions of existing and retired teachers.

Arthur Caden stated he has suggestions for improvement of event that took place at the airport on Saturday, and asked with whom he may discuss these suggestions. Manager Yost stated he will connect Mr. Caden with the individuals who oversee the event.

Cindy Anderson advised that she is not a Village resident, but owns property in Kalkaska County. Anderson stated she believes that the ethics and decisions of the Village President have an impact on her family, and does not want friends of various ethnicities to fear coming to Kalkaska.  Anderson stated she found postings made by President Sieting on his Facebook page to be offensive, and believes he owes his constituents an apology for his lapse in judgment.  Anderson further stated that business owners in the Village are also frustrated.  Anderson stated she would be happy to work with the Village to organize cooperative Town Hall meetings.

Elizabeth Dunham read and presented a statement regarding a Trump sign located on the Sieting Hotel downtown. Dunham cited Village Ordinances which she believes the sign at the Sieting Hotel violates.  Dunham stated that the sign has attracted negative attention.  Dunham stated she believes the sign is not benefitting the Village and should be removed.

Nicole Doom introduced herself as a Village resident and local business owner. Doom stated she believes posts on Sieting’s Facebook page affect the Village residents and business owners directly.  Doom states she feels that Sieting should put the Village first and personal opinions aside.

Donald Doom stated that, as a Veteran, he is ashamed of the Facebook posts on Sieting’s Facebook page. Doom referred to the protest which took place on Friday evening, stating that there were no winners in the event.

Kate Buckner recognized an individual’s freedom to speak their opinions, but stated this does not grant freedom from others’ critique of these opinions. Buckner stated she believes the statements made on Sieting’s Facebook page were hateful and racist, and pointed out that these statements should be up for rebuttal.  Buckner stated she believes these statements should not be tolerated by public servants.

Misty Marshall apologized for never having attended a Village Council meeting in the past. Marshall stated that she has no issue with the Trump sign on the Sieting Hotel, nor does she know Sieting personally.  Marshall stated that she only took a look at the Facebook posts in question after the issue came up.  Marshall stated she believes that, as an elected official representing the town, Sieting has a larger sense of responsibility.  Marshall further stated she does not believe that these statements protect the best interest of the Village.  Marshall advised that she respects the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion but, because Sieting is a serving official, she believes he should take into consideration the harm that these statements have done to the community.  Marshall stated that she believes businesses are suffering from Sieting’s freedom of speech, and that his statements are affecting the welfare of the community.  Marshall stated she does not want Kalkaska to be “guilty by representation”, and the Village will not condone this type of behavior.  Marshall stated she would like to leave tonight’s meeting with a sense of unity, and hopes everyone can work together to repair Kalkaska’s reputation.

Jonathon Dupuie expressed his dissatisfaction of the recent events involving Sieting’s Facebook statements. Dupuie stated he fears the statements will create a hostile environment to people of other ethnicities and religions.  Dupuie also stated he does not believe these statements were appropriate for a public official to make, as he feels the statements support hate.

Crystal Spencer stated she comes from a military family, as the ex-wife of an active military member. Spencer stated she has no problem with the Trump sign on the Sieting Hotel and, before the current issues, had attempted to seek out President Sieting on a personal matter.  She stated she was perturbed that she was unable to reach Sieting as a private citizen.  Spencer stated she feels that the statements made on Sieting’s Facebook page regarding Muslims do not represent military or Christian families, and believes that Sieting should be representing the community members.  Spencer stated she is disappointed as she found the statements to be appalling.  Spencer further stated that these statements do not represent her as a citizen.

Mitchell Sutton stated that all comments made at tonight’s meeting are personal-based. Mitchell stated he believes what Sieting posted on his personal Facebook page has nothing to do with the Village, or anyone in attendance at the meeting.  Sutton states he believes it is absurd to ask President Sieting to resign and encouraged others to run against Sieting if they do not want him in office.

Robert Sieting stated he feels people are basing their animosity on a Facebook page they do not have to view. Sieting stated he feels President Sieting has done a lot positive things for the community, citing community activities and promotion of additional businesses in the Village.  Sieting pointed out that the Facebook statements in question were posted over a year ago.  Sieting stated he believes that President Sieting’s animosity is against known criminals and terrorist who have committed atrocities in this country.

Carol Philips asked whether President Sieting could make a statement to calm or reassure the public that hate will not continue to be perpetuated in an effort to reunite the community. Sieting asked whether he had ever committed an act of aggression against anyone in attendance.  Sieting stated that he had not, and any actions he has taken in town have been acts of kindness.  Sieting stated that the opinions expressed on his Facebook page are his alone, and not the opinions of the community.  Philips stated she worries that people of other ethnicities would not feel safe in this community.

Mickey Miller, who works with the Citizens for Kalkaska Drive-In and the Kalkaska County Fair Board, stated she is both a Hebrew and a Jew. Miller stated she has known Sieting for the past several years, and he has never said anything racist toward her nor has he done her any harm.  Miller stated she does not fear Sieting, and feels what he has posted on his Facebook page is his business alone.  Miller stated she believes Sieting is a good man, and has done a lot for the community.

Arthur Caden asked when the street paving would be completed. Manager Yost stated that the water services must be connected before resurfacing and restoration of streets can be done, and hopes it will be completed soon.

President Sieting stated he appreciates all input and comments from the public, and thanked citizens for attending the meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

With no further business coming before this Council, President Sieting adjourned the meeting at 6:53 p.m.

Recorded By: Angie Koon, Village Clerk