There may be a new park in Saline by the end of the night Monday. The proposed Salt Springs Park is one of several items on the agenda when Saline City Council meets Monday night at city hall. City council will also discuss the proposed rehab of Maple Heights apartments, fees and penalties for overdue bills, police vehicle video cameras, the sidewalk survey, a resolution for a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, and the Leather Bucket Alley agreement.
Salt Springs Park
Last Wednesday, the city's planning commission unanimously voted to create Salt Springs Park at the city-owned, 15-acre parcel north of the DNR fish ponds and east of the Saline River. City Council is expected to consider designating the land as a park and naming the park at Monday's meeting. The public can speak to the proposal during a public hearing. The proposal is for the park to retain its natural state but for a “Salt Flats History Trail” that might eventually be created in the park. The project was spearheaded by council member Jim Peters, who found a functioning salt spring while walking the trail. Peters has said the salt spring theme of the park will help connect the city with its pre-Orange Risdon history. The salt springs are said to be what attracted mammals and then hunters and later traders to the area we now call Saline.
Late Fees & Penalties
City council will discuss late fees and penalties for water users and taxpayers who don't pay their bills on time at the work session, which begins at 6 p.m. American Soy recently protested a penalty for late payment of a water bill. Now Plastechs Inc. is requesting the city waive a $1,600 fee assessed when the summer tax bills were paid a day late.
Tax Credit for Maple Heights Apartments Improvements
PK Housing and Management is asking the city to pass and ordinance that will allow the property to qualify for low-income tax credits through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The company says it needs the tax credits to invest $1.5 million in new water heaters, boilers, windows, roofing, landscapes and more. To get the tax credits, the city must adopt a “Service Charge in Lieu of Taxes” ordinance and grant an exemption for the apartment complex. If passed the apartment complex would pay 10 percent of rent collections instead of property taxes. At 10 percent, the apartment complex would pay $24,672 in fees. In 2012, the apartments yielded $38,000 in taxes. The city's share of the rent fees would be about $9,000, down about $5,000 from the $14,000 in property taxes.
Mullick Foundation Donates $31,695 For Police Vehicle Video Recorders
The police department is asking city council to approve costs association with installing HD video recorders in vehicles and purchasing related equipment. The cost to the city is expected to be less than $4,000. A majority of the cost is being funded by a $31,695 grant by the Mullick Foundation. Some of the existing in-vehicle cameras do not work properly. The new system will also be easier to manage and save hours of work in the department.
Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Permits Proposed
The city attorney is recommending the city impose a moratorium on issuing permits or licenses for the sale of medical marijuana in the city. Currently the city's zoning ordinance does not provide for medical marijuana dispensaries. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act allows caregivers to assist patients with marijuana. But growing and distributing marijuana is in violation of state and federal laws.
Rec Center and Sports Shack Deal
The Rec Center is asking council to approve a one-year extension of a deal with the Sports Shack, which provides Rec Center merchandise sold at the center. According to the proposed extension, the Rec Center receives 20 percent of the gross sales and the Sports Shack receives the rest.