by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
A revision of ordinance code, related to the placement of handbills on private property, was adopted by the Owosso City Council on Monday, July 3 in city chambers. The city has recognized that it is sometimes necessary for personnel to communicate with property owners by utilizing handbills. However, as pointed out by Owosso resident Eddie Urban at the Monday, May 22 meeting, handbills on doors may be a tip-off to would-be burglars that the property owner might not be home. The new handbill revision, which will become effective Monday, July 24, addresses this concern and others, by further limiting who can deliver handbills to homeowners.
City manager Don Crawford stated, “We tried to write this in such a way that alternative energy companies can’t come around and start putting unnecessary fliers on doors.”
Part of the provision in the city amendment states that this does not apply to normal mail or newspapers, “except that newspapers shall be placed on private property in such a manner as to prevent their being carried or deposited by the element upon any street, sidewalk, or other public place or upon private property.” This ordinance may be inspected at the city clerk’s office.
A second ordinance amendment regarding an update to city procedures allowing for the purchase and sale of miscellaneous equipment and services was temporarily tabled.
Owosso resident Gary Ballenger voiced his concern over the upcoming 6.3 percent increase in water and sewer rates. “I just don’t think it’s right,” Ballenger stated. “I think it should be lowered 6.3 percent.”
“The reason we raised the rates is to keep the service going. We don’t want to be the next Flint when it comes to our water system. We want a sustainable water system. We want sustainable infrastructure. It was painful to do, none of us wanted to do it. But it’s a matter of keeping our water system up. Keeping our infrastructure going,” Mayor Chris Eveleth responded.
One item of business was about the purchase of new voting equipment. The equipment will include six tabulators, four handicap accessible terminals, and a high-speed scanning set-up, and is to be paid for using funds from the Federal Help America Vote Act, state-appropriated funds, and local funds, with the first five years of maintenance being covered by grant funds. The new voting system should be effective by November.
Regarding ongoing discussion toward a strategic planning session that will allow the council to formulate and outline goals, it was decided that Don Crawford could organize that project. The suggested dates for the planning session are Saturday, Aug. 26 with Saturday, Sept. 23 as a back-up date.
A bid award of $251,000 to Fleis & Vendenbrink Engineering, Inc. for the 2018 street program was adopted. The 2018 street program will allow for the resurfacing or reconstruction of various Owosso city streets, including a section of E. Oliver Street, between Oak and Gould streets. Olmstead, Harding, and Hanover streets are also on the improvement list.