The City Council meeting on Jan. 17 lasted 29 minutes and was attended by a dozen people. Items on the agenda were passed unanimously with little to no discussion.
In an update regarding the biodigester City Manager Mike Burns indicated talks between city officials and Lowell Light & Power management with representatives from LEAD continue. The facility continues to halt operations, unable to produce electricity without a wastewater discharge permit which was revoked by the Wastewater Superintendent following direction after a joint City Council and Lowell Light & Power meeting held December 1, 2016. During this meeting via unanimous vote the City and Lowell Light & Power were directed to terminate the lease through the City and terminate the purchase power agreement with LL&P with LEAD if an agreement could not be established by Monday, January 16 to dismantle the facility. This week City Manager Burns and Lowell Light & Power General Manager Steve Donkersloot issued a joint release indicating regular talks have been happening but more time is needed to reach a resolution. Burns and Donkersloot will bring a recommendation to City Council and the LL&P board once the complex discussion has resulted in an effective outcome.
A resolution to establish the compensation for board members of Lowell Light & Power was voted upon. The resolution is more of a formality as this resolution is to be reviewed every year. The resolution reads in part, “That for the 2017 calendar year the compensation for the Boardmembers of the City’s Board of Light and Power shall be $35 per meeting or special meeting for a maximum of 20 meetings and a total annual amount of not to exceed $700.” The resolution was adopted.
Council voted to revise the ordinance which allows city residents to hunt on their property if they own 10 or more acres of land. The current ordinance allows the use of bow and arrow to hunt. The changed ordinance, which was approved by council also allows the use of a cross bow.
City Manager MIke Burns requested council approve hiring Attorney Stephen Schulz, current City Attorney for the city of Fenton, whom he has worked with in the past. This special counsel would be used during upcoming union negotiations. Both the police and DPW have contracts which expire on June 30, 2017. Mr. Schulz has experience representing labor and municipalities. Council voted to retain Attorney Stephen Schulz at an hourly rate of $200 to handle forthcoming union negotiations.
Finally the five member council voted to accept a bid from Industrial Painting out of Taylor, Michigan to repaint the 500,000 gallon reservoir roof at the Water Treatment Plant. The $67,400 job is part of routine maintenance previously completed in 1994.
During Councilmember Hodges’ update he reported reestablishment of Coffee with Council. The first Saturday of every month from 8-10am members of the council will be at the Chamber building for any community member to come and chat. It’s an open house format where visitors can come and go. This meet and greet type event allows people to meet with council in an informal setting to voice concerns or let them know about a job well done. The Chamber building will be open Saturday, February 4 for the first gathering of a mostly new council.
The next City Council meeting will be Monday, February 6 at 7pm at City Hall. If you’re unable to attend a City Council meeting they can be viewed at the City of Lowell YouTube Channel. They are typically uploaded a day or two following the meeting. Agendas and minutes for council meetings can also be found on the city’s webpage. Items being discussed at a Monday meeting are typically posted the Friday prior to the meeting. Both of these resources are a good way to keep informed about what’s going on in the city.