Saline City Council Approves Summerfest, Scout Project, WWTP Bid, Tables Staff Raises

 06/17/2014 - 02:27
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Saline Middle School seventh graders from Mrs. Leigh Ann Roem's class present the finding of their Saline River water quality study to Saline City Council.  Students conducted the tests May 28, and presented qualitative and quantitative observations to city council. Students tested for nitrates, phosphates, coliform, oxygen levels, pH levels and more. Most of the findings showed the river in good health.

 Here’s a synopsis of Monday’s meeting of Saline City Council.

Council Talks Transit

Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority representatives will continue meeting with City of Saline and Pittsfield Township leadership to discuss public transportation options for the area.  The city has agreed to a one-year deal with People’s Express, which is expanding its local dial-a-ride service. People’s Express offers one service that shuttles people to and from Ann Arbor, and a second shuttle that drives people around the Saline area. On several occasions, however, Mayor Brian Marl has stated his belief that, eventually, Saline will need to partner with the AAATA to provide the city’s public transit service. During Monday’s pre-meeting work session, AAATA officials also pledged to monitor People’s Express data to help determine ways to improve efficiencies. AAATA also submitted a proposal that includes daily shuttles from Saline to Ann Arbor. Such a shuttle could have transit stops at the Rec Center, Meijer, and Briarwood.

 Marl said he’ll continue to work with the AAATA and Pittsfield Township on a plan.

“If the goal is to increase the connectivity between the greater Saline area and greater Ann Arbor area, it’s not possible without Pittsfield Township. Their participation is critical,” Marl said.

Marl said he anticipates the discussion will continue in a work group that also includes Pittsfield Supervisor Mandy Grewal.

Honorary Environmental Engineers

A number of students from Mrs. Leigh Ann Roehm’s seventh grade class at Saline Middle School appeared before council to share findings from water quality tests conducted on the Saline River at Mill Pond and Curtiss parks. Students conducted the tests May 28, and presented qualitative and quantitative observations to city council. Students tested for nitrates, phosphates, coliform, oxygen levels, pH levels and more. Most of the findings showed the river in good health.

Students have also presented their findings to the River Raisin Watershed Council and the Saline Environmental Commission.

Reinhart Agent Make Recommendations for City Land Sale

Reinhart Agent Rick Mangan appeared before council with recommendations for making 207 S. Monroe St. more marketable. The city is selling the 3.5 acre site for $275,000. Mangan said condo developers are being chased away by the inability to find financing. He made several recommendations:

  • The city lower its asking price.
  • The city pursue lower density developers
  • The city demolish the barn and house on the property
  • The city conduct a phase one environmental study on the property.

Mangan said developers are looking for shovel-ready projects. The city will discuss these recommendations at a work sessions before a special meeting June 30. The work session begins at 6 p.m.

Council Approves Boy Scout Project at Depot Museum

City Council voted unanimously approve Boy Scout Alex Kelley’s request to build a 10-by-10-foot shed that would house the velocipede at the Depot Museum. Kelley proposed the project for his Eagle Scout rank. He estimated lumber. Currently the human-powered railroad maintenance car is kept in the barn. The new shed will allow for easier transport of the machine, as the shed will be closer to the tracks. Kelley is a member of Troop 416.

Council Approves Summerfest for Aug. 8-9

Saline City Council voted unanimously to approve Saline Summerfest for Aug. 8-9. Council waived an estimated in $4,243 in fees related to the festival. Councilor David Rhoads said while he enjoys the event, he wonders if it is getting too large for downtown, and if all the street closures and parking lot closures is hurting local business.

Council Approves WWTP Rehab Proposal, Fees for Biosolid Processing

City council voted 7-0 on two motions related to the wastewater treatment plant. The city will pay Snyagro Midwest $76,000 to filter press and dispose of 550,000 gallons of unprocessed biosolids at the plant. The biosolids were collected while the digester was shut down during work on the plant. Council also voted 7-0 to approve the Tetra Tech Proposal design and bidding services associated with phase two of the wastewater treatment plant project.

Council Tables Staff Contracts

City council took no action on recommendations to approve raises to city staff. Councilor Dean Girbach found errors in the salary chart provided by city staff. Councilor Jim Roth said he wanted to see more information about merit bonuses for staff. City staff recommended two percent salary increases, step increases and/or merit increases. The raises were meant to keep staff salaries in line with those of unionized city employees.

Microphones and Hearing Aids for Work Sessions

City Manager Todd Campbell reported the city will have microphones for council members and hearing aids for residents during council work sessions. Work sessions are typically held away from the council table, which has built-in microphones wired into the speakers. Residents have complained that it’s difficult to hear council members deliberate on issues during the meetings.

Council Member Announcements

  • Councilor Linda TerHaar reminded everyone that the Summer Reading Program has started at the library.
  • Councilor Terri Sibo-Koenig announced that the Summer Music Series takes place in downtown Saline at 7 p.m. every Thursday.
  • Councilor Rhoads said a parks and trails funding group will have to reschedule its June 30 meeting due to the new council work session scheduled that night.
  • Mayor Marl said city council hosts a special meeting with members of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce and Saline Main Street at 7 p.m., June 23.

(The date of council's meeting with the chamber and Main Street was corrected.)

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore founded The Saline Post on Aug. 15, 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @tranlongmoore. Follow The Saline Post @thesalinepost. Follow The Saline Post on Facebook by clicking here.