VILLAGE OF KALKASKA
MINUTES OF A REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 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, Needham, Sanborn and White.
STAFF PRESENT: Scott Yost, Village Manager; Angie Koon, Village Clerk; Glenn Artress, Lieutenant.
PUBLIC PRESENT: Arthur Caden, George Konvinski, Pat Konvinski, Dan Johnson, Melanie Pauch, David Pauch, Crystal Spencer, Ray Franz, Gayenell Gentelia, Ken Berry, Doug Hicks, Mickey Miller, Lon Husbands, Ann Kirtley and Dennis Mansfield.
Dan Johnson started with a prayer and President Sieting led with the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR AGENDA
Motion by White, second by Needham, to approve the agenda as presented. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Trustee Kelly asked for additional information on the Rotary Charities grant, for which the DDA wishes to apply to assist with the proposed Kalkaska Information Center kiosk. Gayenell Gentelia explained the components of the kiosk center that the grant funds would cover.
Motion by Sanborn, second by Needham, to approve the consent agenda as presented. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Art Caden stated he had several questions regarding the healthcare litigation/unfunded liability. President Sieting requested that Caden ask these questions during the second Public Comment segment.
PRESENTATIONS – None
REPORTS FROM COUNCIL COMMITTEES
President Sieting stated the committee discussed concerns raised by the Kalkaska County Sheriff regarding additional policing of the Village due to incoming Medical Marijuana facilities. The potential for the Village Department of Public Safety to provide 24-hour coverage in the near future was also discussed.
Sieting stated that the committee discussed bringing the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) in-house. Discussion also took place on the K-9 vehicle, as well as insurance coverage on the K-9. Sieting reported that a possible grant opportunity exists to send two Village officers to an EMT course. No recommendations for Council at this time.
Trustee Kelly, who is also a member of the Police Committee, expressed concerns over whether the budget supports 24-hour coverage for the Village Department of Public Safety. Kelly also asked whether the budget allowed for bringing LEIN in-house, citing the need for fiscal responsibility.
REPORTS ON SINGLE MEMBER ASSIGNMENTS
Trustee Needham reported that the Census documents were completed as required.
Trustee Dupuie stated she researched the proposed utilities insurance program, and submitted additional questions to the program administrator.
Trustee Kelly stated she received some good information from Denny Corrado (Village Zoning and Licensing Official) on medical marijuana. Additional research is needed.
REPORTS FROM VILLAGE OFFICERS
Manager Yost stated the airport tree-trimming process has begun, and the limits have been determined.
Yost reported that the Cross-Connection program, as well as the DEQ-required Water System Asset Management System, will also begin soon.
Yost announced that the Personnel Committee will meet on Monday, October 4, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss healthcare insurance renewal with the Village’s insurance agent.
President Sieting dispelled a rumor regarding the Hotel Sieting, stating there has never been a grant or a loan in place for the renovation of the building.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
Consider Approval of Resolution 2017-025 in Support of the Michigan Main Street Program – Gayenell Gentelia, Associate Director of the Kalkaska DDA, explained that the DDA wishes to continue with the Michigan Main Street program for another year. Gentelia stated there is no charge for this membership.
Gentelia also discussed the benefits of becoming a Redevelopment Ready Community (subsequent Resolution 2017-026), stating more grant opportunities would be available to the Village. Gentelia stated that no funds from the Village are necessary at this time, but may be required in the future.
Motion by Sanborn, second by Ellis, to adopt Resolution 2017-025. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Consider Approval of Resolution 2017-026 in Support of Becoming a Michigan Redevelopment Ready Community – Motion by White, second by Needham, to adopt Resolution 2017-026. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Consider Approval of Resolution 2017-027 Authorizing Rotary Charities Capital Grant – Gayenell Gentelia reviewed the components of the proposed Informational Center kiosk that would be covered by a Rotary Charities grant if awarded. Gentelia also reviewed the grant funding amount, as well as the DDA match amount. Gentelia stated the project would begin in the spring of 2018, if the grant is awarded. Ken Berry asked where the proposed kiosk would be located. Gentelia explained it would be located in the open space next to the museum, and advised it would not interfere with any current activities in the area. Gentelia presented the current rendition of the proposed Informational Center kiosk.
Motion by Sanborn, second by White, to adopt Resolution2017-027. A roll call vote was then taken: Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Ellis, Needham, Sanborn and White; Nays – Trustees Dupuie and Kelly; Absent – None. Motion carried.
Authorize Village Clerk to Cast Ballot for MML Liability and Property Pool Board of Directors – Motion by Needham, second by Sanborn, to authorize the Village Clerk to cast a unanimous ballot. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Consider Adoption of Proclamation 2017-002 in Honor of Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 – Melanie Pauch of the Kalkaska County Department of Veterans Affairs requested that the Village Council approve to fly the Vietnam Veterans flag below the U.S. Flag downtown for the entire year of 2018. Pauch further requested that the flag be flown every year thereafter from March 28-30 to commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Pauch stated there is no cost to, nor manpower needed from, the Village to purchase or raise the flag. This will be taken care of by the VFW and Color Guard. The Proclamation was read aloud by Trustee Needham.
Motion by Needham, second by Dupuie, to adopt Proclamation 2017-002. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Consider Adoption of Resolution 2017-028 Attorney Resolution – Resolution 2017-028 was read aloud by Trustee Needham. Trustee Dupuie asked how long Gretchen Olsen of Plunkett Cooney has represented the Village Manager. Yost stated that the Village and Village Manager have been represented by Olsen since the lawsuit was filed by 258 Tire. Yost explained that the resolution may need to be revisited and expanded if other Village officials are named in the lawsuit.
Motion by Sanborn, second by Needham, to adopt Resolution 2017-028. A roll call vote was then taken: Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Ellis, Needham, Sanborn and White; Nays – Trustees Dupuie and Kelly; Absent – None. Motion carried.
Trustees Kelly and Dupuie stated this is the first time they have become aware of the issue, and voted no due to a lack of information.
Art Caden introduced himself as a Village taxpayer with questions regarding the healthcare litigation for lifetime benefits. Caden asked whether the suit had already been litigated. Manager Yost explained that one lawsuit has been litigated, with a payment made to the plaintiff. The other plaintiffs’ lawsuits have been consolidated into one case, and are still being litigated.
Caden asked why this topic affecting taxpayers is discussed in closed session rather than open session. Manager Yost explained that discussion on settlement and negotiation strategy takes place during closed session, as it would be detrimental to discuss such strategy in open session.
Caden asked how a property’s SEV would be affected should a judgment on these lawsuits be placed on the tax roll. Yost stated this would depend on the amount of the settlement.
Caden asked how this would affect older, retired residents on fixed incomes who are already burdened by taxes. Trustee White stated it is the Council’s job to protect the citizens of the Village. President Sieting stated that the cost of these lawsuits is no more or less affordable now than when they began.
Ken Berry asked who is paying for any potential settlement. Manager Yost replied this will not be known until the liability amount is determined. Yost stated there may be a possibility for some type of loan, but could not elaborate on this.
Pat Konvinski stated she is very upset over this lawsuit, and asked whether lifetime health insurance will be provided to all current employees after retirement. Manager Yost pointed out that the Letter of Understanding, which stated lifetime healthcare would be provided for certain named employees, was never approved by Council in the 1990s (when it was drafted). Yost also stated that one active employee is a litigant in the healthcare suit. Yost further stated that healthcare for current employees will not be covered by the Village after they retire.
Gayenell Gentelia reviewed details of the Re-Leaf Michigan grant awarded to the Village, which will provide 50 new trees at no cost to the Village. Gentelia announced an informational meeting taking place on September 28, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss planting of these trees, and to consider input from residents. Gayenell asked for Council representation at the meeting as well as the tree-planting, which will occur on October 21, 2017. Caden asked what types of trees would be planted. Gentelia stated they are planning to plant as many native species as possible.
Ray Franz introduced himself, and stated he has filed for the 35th District Senate seat. Franz reviewed his background and experience, and thanked Council for adoption of the Vietnam Veterans Proclamation.
Dennis Mansfield asked whether the Village has a policy and penalty in place for potential leaks from Closed Sessions. Manager Yost stated that, while it is unknown whether a policy exists, Village officials are governed by the Village Ethics Ordinance.
CONSIDERATION OF TRIAL OR SETTLEMENT STRATEGY WITH COUNSEL REGARDING PENDING LITIGATION (Possible Closed Session per Section 152.268e of the Open Meetings Act)
Motion by White, second by Sanborn, to go into closed session to consult with the Village of Kalkaska attorneys regarding trial and settlement strategy in connection with the pending healthcare lawsuits with the Hills, Ramseys, and Chew-Artress’s pursuant to MCL 15.283(e) because discussion in open session will have a detrimental financial effect on the litigating and settlement position of the Village. A roll call vote was then taken: Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Needham, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – None. Motion carried. Closed Session began at 6:51 p.m.
RETURN TO OPEN SESSION
Motion by White, second by Needham, to return to Open Session. A roll call vote was then taken: Ayes – President Sieting and Trustees Dupuie, Ellis, Kelly, Needham, Sanborn and White; Nays – None; Absent – None. Motion carried. Open Session resumed at 7:18 p.m.
With no further business coming before this Council, President Sieting adjourned the meeting at 7:18 p.m.
Recorded By: Angie Koon, Village Clerk