KELLY ROSSMAN-MCKINNEY has been a regular on the county’s governmental meetings circuit recently, and she made her most recent appearance at the July 16 Durand City Council meeting. In addressing the Council, the candidate for Michigan’s 24th District Senate seat praised the Council’s bipartisan approach to governance and emphasized her disappointment in the state legislature.

  Rossman-McKinney, a small business owner from Grand Ledge, said the state legislature “has become more partisan than problem-solving” in recent years, which is something she hopes to change if elected in November.

  Rossman-McKinney stayed for the entire Council meeting, as did District 4 Board of Commissioners candidate Leslie Dietrich, who can be seen sitting one row behind the Michigan Senate candidate.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)


by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The Durand City Council met on Monday, July 16 for its first regular monthly meeting of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Among the items of business and discussion were the city’s ongoing road construction project, November election candidates and proposals, and a Project Tim update, and the Council also approved an appointment to the Durand Planning Commission and the purchase of a sponsorship plaque for the Veterans Memorial Park.

The Council approved an agenda item to allow Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) contractors in the process of reconstructing W. Main Street to work after hours. The city recently discovered that the ongoing roadwork was disrupting local business traffic, which prompted the Council to make accommodations. The city’s noise ordinance prohibits roadwork after 10 p.m., but the Council also authorized City Manager Colleen O’Toole to make adjustments to the construction cut-off time in the coming weeks should residents complain about the noise.

O’Toole also shared during the meeting that reconstruction of S. Oak Street would begin as early as Tuesday, July 17. Long a sore spot for residents, S. Oak Street is a major priority in the city’s comprehensive three-year street project. MDOT hopes to have their portion of the project, which includes work on S. Oak and W. Main streets, completed by the end of August.

Three Durand City Council seats will be up for grabs in the November election, including Connie Cobley’s Precinct 1 seat (four-year term), Rich Folaron’s at-large seat (two-year term) and Tom VanRiper’s Precinct 2 seat (four-year term). Cobley and Folaron intend to run for re-election, but VanRiper confirmed on July 17 that he will not.

VanRiper was first elected to the Council on Nov. 3, 2009. Many residents respect VanRiper for his voting integrity, even-handedness and civil engineering knowledge, and he is known for voting in the best interests of the city’s residents. Tuesday, Aug. 7 is the deadline for candidate applications, and city residents will vote to fill the three seats on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The purchase of a sponsorship plaque, the final piece planned for the city’s Veterans Memorial Park, was approved by the Council on July 16. The $6,000 needed to purchase the plaque will be taken from the approximately $37,000 remaining in the Durand Parks & Recreation’s Veterans Memorial Park fund.

Also on July 16, Michael Nazarian was appointed to the Durand Planning Commission. Nazarian, who recently moved to the city of Durand, is an engineer with education in urban planning.

O’Toole shared during the early portion of the July 16 meeting that Project Tim organizers are still waiting for confirmation of a multi-billion dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The loan being sought would fund up to 80 percent of the project’s construction costs, so organizers are continuing to seek private investors to raise the remaining 20 percent necessary to fund the multibillion-dollar project.

Although project funding is yet to be secured, organizers could begin filing for federal, state and local permits this summer. O’Toole also mentioned that the preliminary site layout has been adjusted due to one holdout property owner. So, instead of one very large facility, the tentative layout now includes many smaller facilities. O’Toole added that the project’s estimated footprint has been reduced to less than 400 acres, but she noted that the project’s layout and timeline will not be finalized until after funding is secured.

Pastor Don White, from the Light of Faith Fellowship in Durand, provided a prayer during the meeting’s opening public comments segment.

Durand Council Kicks Off 2018-2019 Fiscal Year was last modified: July 23rd, 2018 by Karen Elford