By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Byron Village Council voted to hire two Department of Public Works (DPW) employees and agreed to a settlement with the Byron Area Schools over an outstanding debt that the district owed the village during their Monday, Oct. 12, meeting. The village was left without a regular DPW employee after their former director, Mike Granger, retired in September. The village hired Hughes Environmental Services of Fowlerville in September to handle their water and sanitary sewage treatment.
The two new employees, Zach Ritter and Dale Hibbard, will initially team to work 24 hours per week at $12 per hour, but the council has discussed adding hours during the colder months to handle snow removal and salt application. Their jobs will include mowing, maintenance and monitoring the village’s systems. They will begin their duties on Monday, Oct. 19, by doing a complete inventory of the DPW barn.
The council also voted during their meeting to settle with Byron Area Schools over a $20,000 disputed debt the district had with the village. The village was ordered by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2011 to clean and repair all sewage lines throughout town, including those that service the schools. DPW Director Granger had the lines investigated and submitted the results to the village, which presumably passed that along to the district. Village President Kit Brunell met with Byron Sup’t. Tricia Murphy-Alderman in the Fall of 2014, and, unable to come to an agreement on the cost and the need for the repairs, the two parties allowed their legal professionals to handle the ensuing negotiations. The result is that the school district has agreed to pay the village $12,000 for the services rendered. Brunell and the council are glad the matter is behind them.
“I think there was fault on both sides,” Brunell said when reached for comment. “The village did not inform the (school) district before they did the inspection, which would have been the right thing to do, even though the work had to be done. For us, it is better to settle now rather than dragging it out further and incurring more legal fees as a result. It was time to clear this up.”