2017-06-08 / News

City Council Approves Football Field Lease; Auditor Says Finances Are Good

By Erich T. Doerr

The St. Ignace City Council approved an extension of the St. Ignace Area Schools property lease used for its McCann Street Athletic Field, the home of the Saints football team, at its Monday, June 5, meeting. The approved extension will run through 2040, instead of 2020, paving the way for the construction of new bleachers this year.

Other matters before the council were the promotion of Dennis Brown as water department foreman, elimination of salaried accumulated comp time, and an update on property acquisition for a new fire hall.

The school lease extension will be only for the football field, and stipulates the city can’t sell it. Other city assets leased to the school through 2020, including the shuttered swimming pool, will be allowed to expire.

The lease extension will be presented for signing by city attorney Tom Evashevski at a future meeting.

Councilman Steven Paquin suggested the city consider selling the property to the school district for $1, but other council members noted the city uses the property for summer baseball programs.

Jim North said the bleacher plan calls for the home-side bleacher section to be demolished and replaced with a shorter but wider section. The bleachers will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and have room to seat 625 people, providing enough space to seat just under one-fourth the entire population of St. Ignace. The press box will also be merged into the new bleachers, rather than being separate. The existing visitor-side bleachers will remain untouched.

Mr. North said the new bleachers have already been ordered. The process to install them will include the demolition of the old bleachers and the stabilization of the soil beneath them to assure the new one will not lean, as the current one does. Once prepared, bleacher installation will take just three days.

City Employee News

City Manager Les Therrian announced he has hired Dennis Brown to be the new water department foreman, replacing Bill Fraser, who is moving up as the new Superintendent of Public Works upon Mr. Therrian’s retirement. Mr. Brown is a heavy equipment operator for the Department of Public Works and will begin his new job Saturday, July 1. He began training with Mr. Fraser this week.

The council approved a new policy Monday exempting salaried city employees from accumulating comp time because they are not paid on an hourly basis. The approval was passed by a vote of 6-1. Steven Paquin cast a dissenting vote, as he did not like the wording of the policy.

New Fire Hall Property

The city is completing the paperwork for the purchase of the corner of Chambers and South Marley streets on which it will construct a new fire station. The property is being purchased for $13,500 from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Permits and Closed Session

Upcoming city events approved Monday night include the St. Ignace Business Association and St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce Downtown Yard Sale Saturday, June 10. Also approved was the Antiques on the Bay classic car show Saturday, June 17, and the St. Ignace Car Show Saturday, June 24.

Council approved a gaming license for fire department’s annual Fourth of July raffle, which raises money for extra equipment.

The St. Ignace Police Department has begun a search to hire a new police officer. Officer Austin Jobes recently resigned from the department to take a new job downstate.

Not discussed at the meeting was the status of the Waste Management and Mackinac Island Service Company dumpster issues at the Shepler dock. Concern was over the smelly dumpsters being left full over night and on weekends after the landfill had closed. The solution was to leave them on the Island if they couldn’t be shipped to the landfill that day. Mr. Therrian said in a report passed out to council members the issue appears to have been resolved. Residents in the area have been notified of the changes and they have not complained.

Council went into an 11-minute closed session to discuss pending litigation with Mr. Evashevski, concerning strategies related to a legal issue involving the Mulcrone Trust.

The city received the results of its audit by Anderson Tackman. Doug Welton and Ken Talsma represented the Kincheloe firm Monday night. Mr. Welton said St. Ignace has successfully increased its general fund balance from $432,913 in 2012 to $1,461,984 in 2016. Mr. Talsma said the city is about where it should be on a fund balance, with enough money on hand for about 25% of its expenditures.

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