Annual Clerk’s Report
2009 to February 28th, 2010
Year 2009-2010 was another busy year for the Village Council. Although
shrinking state revenues forced municipal governments to pinch pennies, the
Village accomplished many worthwhile goals through creative use of its
resources. The Village continued to be successful in finding alternative
funding sources to address some needed infrastructure updates and hopes to
acquire even more during the coming fiscal year.
Many goals outlined in last year’s Clerk’s
report were also reached. Administratively, a number of ordinance revisions and
additions were drafted, debated and passed by the Council. Unwritten Village
policies were defined and details were drafted and approved as an effort was
directed towards clearing up often-blurry fiscal policies. Clear, distinct
rules for spending authorization, investment procedures and employee conduct
will serve the Council and the administration well moving forward.
In addition, several long-term, larger
projects discussed in last year’s report continue to be reviewed. These
projects may at times seem a little out-of-reach as they typically require much
larger investments. But those projects also require much more advanced planning
to attract funding so any work we can do towards presenting a complete and well
thought out plan now will pay off later.
Village Council Resolutions
to pursue gathering information for possible annexation of property south
of the Village owned by Louis Meneguzzo.
to apply for grant funding to the Americana Foundation for $30,150 for
replacing windows on the 2nd floor of the Village Hall.
to adopt draft presentation of Ordinance Series 3000, Chapter 3001, Parks.
This adoption supersedes all preceding Ordinance provisions within this
to support the inaugural running of a 5K/10K event within the Village.
in support of a reciprocal agreement with Torch Lake Township whereby the
Lake Linden Police will periodically patrol and monitor park and boat
launch facilities in Hubbell/Tamarack in exchange for the Bootjack First
Responders answering callouts within the Village limits.
to adopt a comprehensive Recreation Plan (2009-2014) for the Village to
guide Council efforts and programs related to recreational facilities and
to approve submission of a bid proposal to Torch Lake and Osceola
Townships to provide water for the proposed new water system planned by
the two governing bodies.
to bid out surplus equipment items no longer used or usable by the
to adopt tax rate of 15.6188 mils; General – 10.2622, Streets – 4.1066,
Sanitation – 1.25.
to approve street dance request for carry-out liquor and street closing.
to approve renewing the annual MDOT permit for maintenance on the M-26
to approve a FEMA grant application submitted by the Lake Linden Fire
Department for a new fire station.
approving a deficit reduction plan for the Municipal Street Fund under
which 2009 tax monies paid into the fund would eliminate deficit by the
end of July.
to adopt the draft presentation of Ordinance Series 9000, Chapter 9011,
Animals. Under this provision pets in the Village must be leashed at all
times and owners must clean up after their pets while walking them within
to repeal Ordinance Series 4000, Chapter 4050, Sewers, which predates the
creation of the Torch Lake Area Sewage Authority and was no longer valid.
extending the agreement between the village and the METRO Authority, a
state entity that collects and disburses utility company fees for using
right-of-ways for transmission lines within municipalities
to approve the submission of a grant through the COPS program
(Community-Oriented Policing). The grant was for $210,000.
to approve the liquor license application for De la Terre.
resolutions to adopt the following policies: Fiscal/Purchasing Policy,
Investment Policy, Gift Policy, and Conflict of Interest policy.
to adopt a draft presentation of Ordinance Series 9000, Chapter 9027, Open
Fires. This ordinance sets restrictions on the types and locations of
fires within the Village limits.
to approve a draft presentation of Ordinance Series 9000, Chapter 9028,
Outdoor Wood Furnaces, which governs the use of such devices within the
to adopt draft presentation of Ordinance Series 1000, Chapter 1200, Youth
council, which establishes a Board comprised of students from the Lake
Linden-Hubbell Scholl to act as a liaison between the Village Council and
the student body to express their ideas and concerns.
to approve a draft presentation of a new plowing policy as drafted by
to approve the application for a grant through the Great Lakes Restoration
Initiative for $243,000 to reshape and pave areas in the park along the
shoreline to prevent runoff.
to proceed with expansion of the DDA District to include 2 blocks of 9th
Street between Calumet Street and Gregory Street.
to approve the application for an Infrastructure Enhancement Grant to
continue updates and hydrants
approving the inaugural members of the President’s Youth Council. They
are: Bryce Audette, Curtis Audette, Megan Budweg, Nick Monette and
June the State of Michigan announced an 11% cut in statutory revenue
sharing (Revenue sharing comes in two parts; constitutional-set by the
State Constitution and not changeable by legislature, and Statutory- Set
by the legislature annually and changeable by amendment of the State House
and Senate).This represented an overall cut of about 5-6%, or almost
PTO was again decreased through payouts and the use of more PTO by
full-time employees. The liability was decreased by $3,200.
payment on the line of credit, taken when our budget troubles first began,
was made in the amount of $6,250. Current balance: $6,250.
July, the Village received a property tax bill from Torch Lake Township
for the property surrounding the Sportsman’s Club on the Rice Lake Rd. The
bills, which exceeded $6,000, were the result of a re-classification under
the Torch Lake Township re-assessment, and have never before been
received. A Board of Review decision to lower the taxable values slightly
was an insignificant change and a solution will be sought before the
Michigan Tax tribunal in July of this year.
June the Council once again agreed to levy the maximum tax allowable under
the Headlee rollback. Though rates were the same as the preceding year
revenue increased by about $6,000 because of a slight increase in taxable
values throughout the Village. The Village of Lake Linden has never had a millage
rates were raised and effective on the March 1st billing. This
added an additional $7,000 in revenue for the year. The Water Bond payment
for 2010 is the largest of the 40-year amortization (a little over
lot was sold in the Sibilsky Acres II plat. Robert & Judy Erickson
have a new home there already, the second in the Sibilsky Acres II plat.
State of Michigan required a deficit-reduction plan for the Municipal
Street fund because it overspent in the preceding fiscal year. The plan,
which merely pointed out that the tax revenue soon to be deposited into
the fund would remove the deficit, was submitted to and accepted by, the
State in August.
general fund ended the fiscal year owing many of the other funds. The
largest portion is owed to the Major Streets fund in the amount of almost
$20,000. The problem stems from 2006-07 when the general fund was routinely
borrowing from the other funds to make payroll. Upon the conclusion of the
2009-10 audit, the due-to and due-froms between the funds will be
addressed. It is thought that after everything has been reconciled a debt
of about $10,000 will still remain.
water-billing software was purchased and put into service with the January
2010 billing cycle. The program, from BS & A, is the most widely used
commercial product in state municipal systems. The software and training
combined were $7,995 and the billing was deferred over the course of two
will be held in November for Village Council positions. The seats
currently held by Mark Frohmader, Brett Hamlin and James Frendewey will be
contested as well as the Village President.
employment agreements with the Village Clerk and Treasurer expire in
November of this year. The terms of those agreements are four years.
Village Council, through passage of an administrative ordinance, created
the inaugural President’s Youth Council. This Council, which consists of
students from the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School appointed by the Village
Council, is assigned the task of acting as a liaison between the student
body and the Village Council to address ongoing concerns of the students.
After getting started well into the school year, the first year was
largely spent getting the group together and getting the students brought
up to speed on many of the Village’s ideas and projects. It is hoped that
as the group moves ahead and as some members are retained year-to-year,
the focus of the group will be geared towards promoting and expressing
their own ideas to the Village Council.
more Enterprise groups from Michigan Tech began work on projects being
considered by the Village Council. One group developed a conceptual plan
of a community teen center. This plan, together with input from the
community and the Youth Council, could soon result in a feasible project
plan which can be used to seek funding for such an idea. The second group
began study of a possible recycling center/program within the village
which resulted in a report that the Council can use to gather more
information on this potential project.
policies were approved by the Council to formalize rules for Village officers
dealing with public funds. A Purchasing/Fiscal Policy details how Village
officials can approve expenditures and the appropriate procedures for
emergency spending. A Prepaid Expense Policy and an Investment Policy
outline procedures for those circumstances. A Gift Policy and Conflict of
Interest Policy outline restrictions and guidelines for conduct of elected
officials in maintaining the public trust. These procedures had long been “followed”
but were not outlined in writing. They are now approved and available on
the Village website.
Linden Housing Authority received $103,855 from the American Recovery
& Reinvestment Act to be used for capital improvements.
creation of a new joint committee was discussed during the fiscal year.
This committee would address issues pertaining to Calumet Street. Concerns
regarding street lighting, sidewalks, holiday lighting, and others were to
be discussed. As of now no members had as yet been identified.
continued about the possibility of holding an annual meeting at which the
Council would decide all rates, offices, committees, fees, etc. Although
it was not done in 09-10 it is still a possibility in the near future.
new fiscal year began with a vacancy in the police department. Josh Peters
was on the Village department for more than six years, the last
two-and-a-half as chief.
the first time in several years the Village retained part-time officers
throughout the winter months as added coverage for the department.
Lake Linden Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a grant for $66,000 from
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for new turnout gear. The
Village posted a 5% match of a little over $3,300 and the new equipment
was purchased in September. Congratulations to the Fire Department on
conjunction with the purchase of the new 2009 Dodge Nitro police vehicle,
a new taser and handheld radar unit were also purchased using the 55%
grant from Rural Development. The radar unit replaced a very old model and
the department has never before had a taser.
fire department also applied to FEMA under a different program for funds
to erect a new fire hall. The grant called for building a new facility
near the Rustic Meadows building. Traverse Engineering provided the plans
and assisted with the application.
reciprocal agreement was drafted between the Village and Torch Lake
Township. In exchange for occasional patrol and review of the Park and
pavilion/boat launch area in Torch Lake Twp. by the Village police, the
Bootjack First Responders would continue to answer calls in the Village at
of the most exciting recent developments for the village is the eventual
construction of a new cell tower on Gregoire Rd. just outside of the
Village. While the Village understands and sympathizes with the plight of
the residents there who will be inconvenienced, the service is much more
important to us than the eventual location of the tower. The Community
Survey sent out last year showed that cell phone reception was one of the
most important things on the minds of residents. The lack of service was
hurting local property owners, who had difficulty renting to college
students because of the poor service. It was hurting the Village’s ability
to attract new business of any kind as the lifeblood of small businesses
in this day and age is communications. Though the Village spent a lot of
time working on attracting cell phone companies to the area this
particular project was developed by Central States Tower, Inc. without
Village involvement. So far Verizon Wireless is the only carrier leasing
tower space but it is hoped that AT & T will sign on once the tower is
constructed in early summer.
conjunction with the high school’s renovation project the Village Council
was quickly persuaded to pave the block of 7th Street between
Calumet and Front alongside the High School building. It was actually
paved twice as the first time an error was made in curb placement on the
north side of the street. Afterward, a meeting with the contractor
revealed that the minimum depth, according to specifications, was not met.
After consulting with Village Engineer Dick Supina, a revised cost of
$5,898 was negotiated and accepted.
selling a lot in Sibilsky Acres II to Robert and Judy Erickson
arrangements were made with UPPCo and SemCo Gas Company to extend
utilities to that parcel. These extensions did not solve longer-term
issues of providing utilities for future sales within the plat and a plan
is needed to determine that course.
began with Osceola and Torch Lake Townships to provide them with a water
source for their newly proposed water sytem. Michigan-American Water, the
current provider, was also preparing proposals for this. Several types of
proposal drafts resulted in three different options for calculating water
costs; providing wholesale water “at the valve” into the Townships,
providing water and billing services for those systems, and providing
water, billing and operations and maintenance. It was finally determined
to submit a bid on a “per thousand gallon” basis with details on
transmission through Torch Lake to Osceola Township to be worked out
discussion with MDOT over two or three years, a project to pave the
MDOT-approved Park & Ride lot near Rustic Meadows was completed. The
lot, on the southeast side of the intersection of 4th and Front
Sts., was paved along with about 150 feet of 4th Street to
provide paved access and handicap-accessible parking. The lot paving was
paid for by MDOT and the 150 feet of 4th was done at a cost of
November, a proposed sewage treatment facility project being developed by
the North Houghton County Sewage Authority and U. P. Engineers &
Architects was brought to light by a Village resident. The project was
being constructed near the headwaters of Hamel’s Creek, which empties into
the Traprock River only a few hundred yards from the Village wellfield.
Contact was made with the Authority and UPEA to express concerns about the
proposal. To date, final provisions have not yet been determined but it
remains a focus for the water committee and Village Council.
Council approved the purchase of a utility van with a 29’ lift for $4,000.
It has been invaluable for working on lights, decorations and flags along
extremely mild winter meant that the wear and tear on Village equipment
was kept to a minimum. Winter plowing operations all but ended during the
last week of February.
coming year may mean an adjustment to the way the Sanitation fund
operates. Our auditor has recommended that the garbage truck be moved from
the General Fund to the sanitation fund. Since the use of the truck is
solely in the sanitation fund it is supposed to be listed this way.
Although the general fund will lose equipment rental revenue, it will
benefit the General fund in the long term as maintenance and eventual
replacement of the truck will be the responsibility of the sanitation
almost a year of re-drafting and reviewing, Trustee Hamlin submitted a
final draft from the Zoning and Ordinance Task Force for a comprehensive
overhaul of the Parks Ordinance. Series 3000, Chapter 3001 updated an
antiquated version and was much more specific in addressing issues most
often brought up by residents and park users.
President Fisher’s tireless efforts the Village Council ratified a new
5-year Recreation Plan. The plan, which is effective until 2014, is
essential in procuring grant funds for various projects in the park.
Public feedback was sought for the draft which was finally approved in
April. The document is available in the Village Clerk’s office and soon on
the Village website.
Council debated putting up two rustic cabins in the Village campground.
After some discussion it was decided to try to include students from the
High School in different facets of the design, development and
construction. Contact was made with Jason Erva, the instructor for those
classes, and it was decided to delay construction until the spring of 2011
so that planning could be well developed.
the first full year slips were rented on a seasonal basis at the Village
marina. Power pedestals have been added to almost half of the available
slips and grant funds will be sought to reconstruct the boat launch area
which has suffered from low lake levels over the past few years.
grant was awarded by the Americana Foundation to the Village for
purchasing and installing new windows on the second floor of the Village
Hall building. $25,000, along with a match of about $8,000 from the
Village, paid for eleven new windows in the tower, ballroom and fire
department office. For the first time the Village worked with the Keweenaw
Community Foundation on this grant. A new proposal was being considered
for 2010 but had not yet been fully determined.
purchase and equipping of a new police vehicle was completed thanks to a
$14,000 grant from Rural Development and an $11,500 match from the
village. The 2005 police Explorer was sold to a department in Virginia on
Ebay for $9,000 making the final cost for the Village about $2,500.
continued with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for a
grant to either renovate or create rental units in the downtown area.
Although the initial application did not receive funding the village had
received strongly positive feedback from the Authority that funding in the
near future looked very promising. The amount of potential grant money
available was between $250,000 and $350,000.
major grant applications were developed for programs bolstered by funds
from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. The first through the
CDBG ICE (Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement) program, was for $267,000
and included money for closing open ended water lines and adding fire
hydrants on the Village System. The second was through the Great Lakes Restoration
Initiative Program in the amount of $243,000. This was for the reshaping
and paving of three parking lots in the Village recreation area. The ICE
grant application was prepared by Traverse Engineering and the GLRI was
prepared by OHM-Hitch Engineering Services.
Village Council approved an application through the COPS grant for one
more full-time police officer. The grant, written in October, was not
funded, but word has been received that a second round of funding would go
out to those applicants who did not receive funding the last time.
the above-mentioned grants were foremost on the agenda of the Council,
other opportunities were being developed for potential funding. Those
included: Teen Center, marina and dock renovations, streetscape extension,
recycling program/facility, streetlighting and others.
past year the Village received word from the federal government that the
application for Lake Linden’s Downtown Historic District was approved.
Thanks largely to a thesis written by Stephanie Atwood, the application
passed the state review before being approved by Washington. The
designation means that property owners within the district can receive tax
incentives and have access to other funding avenues if renovations to
their buildings are geared towards a historic look. It is hoped that many
owners there will take advantage of these opportunities. A detailed look
at the District is available online at Wikipedia at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Linden_Historic_District.
of the longest tenured businesses in the Village, the Lake’s Pharmacy,
closed its doors in January of 2010. For decades it was housed in the LeBault
Building (built in 1887) and became a fixture there for most of the
twentieth Century. It is hoped that the new Portage Clinic on 9th
Street can soon include a pharmacy, as its original three-phase plan had
the past summer, the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School underwent major
renovations. A 3+ million dollar capital project included many updates to
the interior of both buildings, a complete remodel of the track and
football field facilities, a new paved parking lot, a student drop-off
circle, and the rerouting of bus traffic around the campus. The Village
Council agreed to repave a block of 7th Street and to make a
block of 6th street one-way to accommodate the changes. Changes
were all but completed during summer recess and the changes have had a
positive effect on the traffic flow around the campus during busy times.
a painstakingly long rebuilding process, the only gas station in town was
re-opened. More than two years after the fire that destroyed the Cenex
Station, the business reopened as Morty’s Fresh-n-Easy. The new building
was constructed with an eye towards a more classic, if not historic,
stance and it’s comeback is welcomed by the Village Council.
Super Foods, the only grocery market in our community, added Shell fuel
service over the past year as well. Business appears to be good and the
community is enhanced by having two places to purchase gas for its
first of several public hearings to attract Michigan State Housing
Authority grant funding was held in September. More than 30 local property
owners showed up to express interest, wowing MSHDA representatives and
starting the ball rolling towards a hopefully successful proposal.
longtime community figures retired during the past year:
Roberts, superintendent of the Lake Linden-Hubbell School District
tendered his resignation. He was a teacher/administrator for almost 40
years and served the district and the community well for the last 14. He,
along with his wife Gail, own the AllStyles Beauty Salon in town, as
Marcotte retired from the Lake Linden Housing Authority office after
nearly 15 years. She was always a friendly and courteous face and will be
missed by her fellow workers.
Bessner was the chief operator for the Torch Lake Area Sewage Authority
Sewage System for more than 20 years. He was very easy to work with,
amiable, and very knowledgeable. He has now begun his second career in
town as the resident school crossing guard and has brought his pleasant,
care-free personality to the students and residents there.
De La Terre Bistro, located on the corner of 9th and Front Sts.
In the Village, continued its preparations for opening in the early summer
of 2010. Though a few setbacks were encountered, it seemed as though the
opening would finally take place. The Village welcomes the new business
and hopes the venture is a highly successful one.
Village Council has continued discussions about the possible annexation of
the old Calumet & Hecla Power House south of the Village. Louis
Meneguzzo, the property owner, approached the Council about this option in
late 2008. President Fisher conducted meetings on the subject with an eye
toward getting the property, now in a derelict and environmentally
contaminated state, back into clean and viable condition suitable for
development. Although the Township and County representatives had originally
indicated a willingness to work on the idea Mr. Meneguzzo has again
approached the Village to see if any headway can be made.
November, the Village Council resolved to expand the Downtown Development
Authority District to include the businesses on 9th Street
between Calumet Street and Gregory Street. This expansion would mean that
all businesses in the contiguous downtown area would be included and be
eligible for DDA benefits and programs.
FIND IT HERE! Community rummage sale, held in May, was again a popular
community attraction. Several non-profit groups held benefit sales and
pushed the number of sales in town to over 30 once again. Township
residents also had sales so the total was probably over 40.
MTU Mini Baja has become a staple event in the Village Park each February.
Colleges from around the country now participate in this endurance event
and dozens of student-built buggies compete in races and a “big-air”
competition. This years’ excitement was enhanced by a much longer,
“cross-country” track that wound it’s way up and down the hill near the
campground. Spectators loved the event again and the Rockin’ Eagle radio
station hosted the race.
saw the first running of the Lake Linden 5k/10k race. Held in September,
the race took its place in the regional event schedule by far exceeding
participant expectations and smashing predictions of how it would fare.
The organizers see nothing but growth ahead as the initial effort will
allow them to work on things they should or could do to improve the event.
The 2010 race will be held on Saturday, September 11th.
3rd annual Renaissance Faire was held in the Village Park in
August. Organizers hope to grow the event over the next few years by
adding it to the circuit of events of this type throughout the Midwest.
Organizer Brian Foreman said the number of vendors was a bit smaller but
attendance seemed to increase over the preceding year.
Youth Council has introduced a few ideas for events to attract people of
all ages to the Village. In the coming year attractions being considered
are a regatta at the marina, concert series of local musicians, an auto
show, and a BMX-style cross country race.
Knights of Columbus Fishing Derby was to be held in the park for the
second year in a row. The first year’s event was a smashing success and
the biggest fund-raiser of the year for the Knights.
Looking Ahead – Fiscal
was a year that many municipalities counted on higher-level government spending
to trickle into their communities to provide relief for economic and
infrastructure development. A year later the effect of that largess seems to be
much less than hoped for by those same communities. The American Recovery &
Reinvestment Act of 2009 resulted in a lot of time planning, developing and engineering
large projects sometimes at a cost of overlooking or putting off smaller ones.
Financially, 2010-2011 looks
to be a continuation of the previous fiscal years shrinking revenues. The
biggest unanswered questions for municipal leaders remain just when the
nation’s economy will begin to rebound and when the trend of shrinking revenues
will be reversed, and what effect the new national health care plan will have
on small businesses and their ability to continue providing benefits to their
employees. Health coverage is the single largest line item in small-town
budgets and will have a dramatic effect on how services will be delivered by
continue to be a priority for the Village and many new projects are being
considered to improve and expand these areas. The Village Park in Lake Linden
is nearly unmatched in communities of this size and is the jewel of our little
town. Seeking alternative funding for these facilities will remain a high
priority and will be guided by the newly-passed Recreation plan.
In 2010-11 I will have a
list of priorities that are very similar to last year’s. Although great strides
were made in codifying ordinances and policies, more needs to be done. This year,
my goal is to accomplish the following:
drafting a comprehensive Employee Handbook. This is essential to operations in
all departments and must be the “rule book” by which employees carry out their
Red Flag Rules for Identity theft protection. The deadline for these rules has
been extended a few times but we need to move on this quickly once a draft is
safety and maintenance protocols for the Village facilities, most importantly
the recreational areas. This is strongly recommended by our insurance carrier
focus for me moving into the new fiscal year is to continue to improve
inter-institutional communication between community-based Boards. The Village
Council and Downtown Development Authority work somewhat closely because they
share some members and physical space, but their members rarely meet or discuss
ideas in person. The Lake Linden Housing Commission operates independently of
the Council, but aside from the appointment of Housing Board members,
communication between the members is rare. I have high hopes for the
President’s Youth Council as well but there should be a more frequent
communication between the school board and the Council as well. Perhaps the
Youth Council can eventually fill in this gap.
may not be that those different boards will work together frequently but perhaps
just in getting more information on what each Board is focusing on ideas can be
shared and new projects can come to light.
This past fiscal year saw
great progress on writing and rewriting ordinances and policies. Further work
is needed but the continuing effort will be well worthwhile.
Increasing requirements for
documentation, justification, monitoring and compliance tax Village resources
and expend great amounts of administrative manpower. Once again, Treasurer Jill
DuMonthier has accepted more and more responsibilities and her contributions
are vital to our day-to-day operations.
Jude Kalcich continues to go
above and beyond to help with the administrative compliance requirements within
the water system and other public works departments.
I look forward to the coming
fiscal year. It will be a challenging one from a financial standpoint, but the
work we are doing to move ahead can overcome those issues. Careful monitoring
of the budgets should not preclude it from being a productive year.
If you have any questions or
comments regarding the material in this report please feel free to contact the
Village Clerk’s office at any time. This report is not intended to be a
complete recitation of all issues covered by the Village and it’s Council
throughout the fiscal year but is merely a summary of those things deemed worth
inclusion by the Village Clerk.
A. Poirier, Village Clerk