by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

Conducting the Tuesday, Jan. 17 City of Owosso Council meeting was Mayor Pro Tsem Susan Osika. Mayor Chris Eveleth was out of town. One of her first course of actions included pulling an item from the consent agenda to items of business section of the meeting. The item moved involved a property buy-back item and authorization to do so at 1281 Holly Court in the Osburn Lakes Condominium Project.

Janae Fear spoke out about the item moved, during resident comments and questions portion of the meeting suggesting the item was a necessary item to have discussion about to maintain transparency since the issue involves removing a piece of property from the city tax roll. She was also concerned that the approval of the item might set a very negative precedent for the city, “Will other people that have purchased property from the city be allowed to work out refund agreements?” She also stated, “I want to also point out a mistake in the memo from city manager to council that restrictions of the property made it impossible to place their chosen dwelling upon the lot with the time frame for construction. There is no time frame for construction set out in the Osburn Lakes Master deed and this misconception was corrected back in 2014.”

The property buy-back was approved later on in the meeting. The cost of the buy-back was just over $15,000 reimbursed to the property owners. Councilman Robert Teich, Jr., added that he did vote in favor of the property buy-back only because the amount of money it could eventually end up costing the city. He encouraged City Manager Don Crawford to figure out what kind of signage needed to be on the property, possibly including a waiver at closing. Ideas were considered and Councilman Burton Fox added, “We should be more transparent about the property being a wetland.”

Newly elected County Commissioner Dan McMaster also attended the meeting to update council on the latest happenings at the County Commissioner level. He announced he was the face to see for the next two years and informed council of items on their agenda. From the issues with the wind moratorium to health insurance upgrades, McMasters said, “We are off to a frustrating start.” He also blamed some of those frustrations on editorials in newspapers and comments on social media posts. Councilman Fox added his concerns by telling McMaster he wanted to see more accountability and to do that they needed to meet later in the evening. McMaster agreed and said he tried, but other commissioners wanted it at the 5 p.m. hour. Fox added that meeting at 5 p.m. was when most people are home eating dinner.

An update was given by Susan Montenengro on the upcoming grant process for the city’s skate park. Funds will need to be acquired from city residents for a 50/50 match grant from DNR. Residents will be able to come to city hall to view the proposed around the end of January. Montenengro proceeded to tell council some of Parks and Recreation Committee’s ideas on how to raise these necessary monies. She also added that to get the grant, the committee will have to reach $110,000 (some monies have already been raised to reach the matching $150,000 grant requirement) and not a dollar less. If that amount isn’t promised before the deadline, they will have to forfeit obtaining the $150,000 in grant funding. Concerns were voiced from council regarding how many area residents will be using the park. Councilman Teich said the committee needs to, “Educate the public, might go over better.”

Also approved at the meeting was the auction property sale of 300 W. Washington St. to Trust Thermal for the amount of $8,580 as well as setting a public hearing for proposed special assessment for Oliver Street from Washington Street to Oak Street for street reconstruction. The authorization of the street special assessment will give the city clerk permission to send out notices of the assessment to residents.

Some of the items on the consent agenda included a bid and contract amendment for the Hintz Road well access drive reconstruction. A bid was approved from Perrin Construction Co., for reconstruction of the drive in the amount of $18,000 and an additional $6,000 for contingencies. A sanitary sewer cleaning service contract was approved with Safeway Transport, Inc., for the cleaning, televising, and PACP coding of storm sewer mains in the vicinity of upcoming street projects in the amount of $20,835.46 including a $4,000 contingency. A bid award was also approved to All Around Basketball, LLC for the purchase of a Dodge-Balder screw pump gear reducer for $9,486.10 and a contingency of $1,000.

The next city council meeting will be Monday, Feb. 6 as well as a special meeting to discuss upcoming road updates and other items on Monday, Jan. 30. Both meetings are at 7:30 p.m.

Item Pulled from Consent Agenda at Owosso City Council Meeting was last modified: January 23rd, 2017 by Karen Elford