The Saline City Council meeting of May 16 was preceded by a stimulating discussion of the future of the Farmers’ Market. This work session ran late, delaying the start of the regular meeting for about 25 minutes.
The regular meeting began with recognition for police officers. Police Chief Larry Hrinik honored those nationwide who died in the line of duty and presented various awards to Saline officers.
The items on the agenda were mostly housekeeping functions. The first was to set a date for a public hearing on the city budget. It will be at the June 6 meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Department of Public Works director Jeff Fordice spoke about an ongoing effort to convert the city’s mercury vapor street lights to LED. LED lights use less energy for the same amount of light and do not need to be changed as often.
For the current effort, Fordice requested $21,398 to convert 105 lights. This is the third round of conversions that have already replaced 180 lights with LEDs.
The work is partly made possible by a labor donation from Consumers Power worth $6,500 and the city will receive over $4,000 in rebates in 2017. With the reduction in energy costs the project could pay for itself in less than three years. Fordice expects the project to be completed by November.
Bible School on Hall Street
Taylor Jacobsen spoke on behalf of First Presbyterian Church of Saline, requesting permission to hold Vacation Bible School from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 20 through June 25. Police barricades would be required on Hall Street.
Councilman Rhoads moved to approve and waive fees, noting that there really are no fees. Later he amended the motion to strike the part about waiving fees since it could be misleading to some. The request was approved unanimously.
City Joins Alliance for Park Equipment
Carla Scruggs, the Parks and Recreation Director, petitioned council to allow the city to join a group called NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance). It is a municipal contracting agency that works like the MiDEAL program that the city uses to get the best price for road salt.
Scruggs want to use NJPA to get the best price from Miracle of Michigan Playground Company for an installation at Tefft Park. Cities must join NJPA to take advantage of their price negotiating services. The application was reviewed and approved by city legal counsel.
City Council gave unanimous approval to seek membership. Rhoads asked Scruggs about the project to raise money for a play structure at Brecon Park as well. She said they were still $34,000 short.
Tiskono & Associates Gets Cleaning Contract
Early this year, the city ended its contract with a cleaning service that was doing substandard work in city buildings. To fill in on an interim basis the city hired Tiskono & Associates, LLC, a Saline-based company.
Since Tiskono began, city staff like Fordice and Scruggs have been very impressed with the quality of their work. It was noted that they even cleaned the tops of cubicle dividers and dusted the plants.
To replace the temporary agreement with a more long-term contract, the city received two bids, one of which was from Tiskono. The Tiskono bid was about $16,000 less expensive although the $73,164 annual bill will be an eight percent increase over the rate paid to the prior contractor.
Tiskono Cornelius Crawford came to represent his company, but not much needed to be said. The contract was approved unanimously.
Council Member Announcements
In the discussion section of the agenda, the council members reported on other committees on which they serve and made announcements of upcoming events.
Linda TerHaar reported that the Arts and Culture Commission is planning a joint project with Two Twelve Arts this summer. Dean Girbach reported on the the opening of Rentschler Farm Museum.
David Rhoads reported that the Relay for Life was successful, but was cut short by adverse weather. The planned lighting of luminaries did not happen but will be rescheduled at a later date.
He also announced the Saline Stone and Thistle Garden Club plant sale on Saturday morning May 21 and the grand opening of Saline Area Social Services new building on Saturday afternoon. In addition, he pointed out that at the LPGA golf tournament at Travis Point next week, one of the competitors will be Scruggs’ niece.
Downtown Parking Analysis Proposed
Mayor Marl spoke about a downtown parking analysis proposed by Phoenix Contractors, Inc. (Bill Kinley’s company). The cost of the survey would be $5,000 of which $2,000 would be paid by Phoenix and $2,000 by Saline Main Street. Marl asked Council to think about contributing the remaining $1,000.
An additional work session was scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. on June 6, prior to the regular council meeting at 7:30. The purpose will be to provide more details of the proposed parking study and to consider a contribution.