Here are the highlights from the meeting last night. I don’t cover every topic that came up. For a full accounting, the approved minutes will be available next month online at www.elkrapids.com
Fire Chief Report
Fire Chief Pete Vandenberg gave a voluntary report to Council about his department. Our Fire Department has 20 employees. It has three categories of responses: rescue, hazardous conditions and fires. The department was awarded a $65k FEMA/Homeland Security grant. The department has logged about 1,400 training hours so far this year.
EMT Specialist and department head Eileen Hedin also gave a voluntary report. The department has 15 members and responds to about 400 calls a year. Eileen outlined a possible new service for the department, whereby it offers non-emergency services to residents of Elk Rapids and Milton Townships. Currently Northflight provides these services, but our department can provide them at a lower cost.
Seasonal Rates Changes at the Harbor
Harbormaster Cheryl Werth outlined a proposed new multi-tier seasonal rate schedule that is under consideration by the Michigan Waterways Commission. Details will be available once the rates are official.
Energy Improvement – Grant Application
The Village and Township are submitting a $40k combo application, sponsored by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, for energy efficiency funds, as follows:
- Government Center: $26k for energy efficiency improvements
- Historic Town Hall: $7k for an energy audit and follow-on improvements
- Fire & Ambulance Station: $7k for an energy audit and follow-on improvements
The Council approved the proposal last night. Note that the Township approved a similar proposal last week.
Village Manager Bob Peterson, Township Supervisor Bill White, Fire Chief Pete Vandenberg, Ambulance Manager Eileen Hedin and Village resident Terry Miller will provide information and create an innovative and unprecedented 5-page combo grant to be submitted on December 1.
‘Shop E.R. Days’
Village President Dan Reszka, with resounding Whereases and a concluding Therefore proclaimed the time period between the Friday after Thanksgiving to December 11 “Shop E.R. Days.” Nods of approval were evident in the audience.
Village resident Myrna Howse voiced her concern that the new Village streetlights do not light up the crosswalks sufficiently, creating a safety hazard.
Village resident Howard Richter pointed out several unsafe conditions, such as the walkway and stairs on the island side of Library Bridge.
Village water meters are obsolete and impossible to repair, so the Village is looking into replacement options, including remote reading capability.
Parking & Storage
There was more discussion on the issue of RV and boat parking on Village streets and in residential driveways, land and alleys. The Council and Planning Commission are actively working on this issue.
Because a new law prohibits the appointment of new Council members before November 20, there will be a special meeting on November 22 to do so. It will be followed by an already scheduled budget workshop and then a closed session to deal with employee contracts.
Also note that ice rink construction has started adjacent to the Police Station.