The Saline City Council meeting of July 18 was abbreviated, perhaps because the July Fourth holiday forced the semimonthly meetings to only one week apart. Nevertheless, there were many items on the agenda, some rather significant.
The meeting began with a presentation by Riley Hollenbaugh about how Saline Main Street is handling the disruption due to road reconstruction. Although business is down at most downtown stores, Hollenbaugh was upbeat about the “Pave it Forward” campaign.
“We’ve received a lot of positive comments about it, which has been great to hear in the community, people reminded that, hey, this is a pain for people coming in and driving, but imagine owning a business in the middle of all this construction work,” Hollenbaugh said. “And that reminder is bringing people downtown.”
One incentive for shopping downtown is a raffle. Shoppers can turn in their receipts at three redemption centers downtown and receive a raffle ticket for every $10 spent at participating businesses. Over 8,000 raffle tickets have been distributed, Hollenbaugh said.
The raffle tickets qualify holders to participate in several drawings, with a prize of $250 or even more. A $500 drawing will be held in early August, the midway point of the campaign, and a $1000 drawing will occur in December after the reconstruction project is completed.
John Olsen. Director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce also had good things to say about the “Pave it Forward” campaign.
“We’re seeing participation from a lot of people that we had never really seen that involved before,” Olsen said.
Council Adopts PUD Ordinance
Council was then asked to approve a new Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance. This issue had been tabled at the prior meeting so that council members could have more time to study the document.
Although the document had already been exhaustively vetted by the Planning Commission, Council found language related to pathways that they wanted the ordinance author, Carlisle/Wortman Associates, to look at again.
Responding to these concerns planner Chris Atkin wrote, “We have removed the word ‘pedestrian’ where it was describing a walking path, path or ways and replaced it with ‘non-motorized path(s)’. We felt the use of ‘pedestrian’ limited the use to foot traffic and excluded all non-motorized forms of transportation, i.e., bicycling and rollerblading, etc.”
Council member Janet Dillon expressed concern about a section that seemed to give developers too much leeway to sidestep signage rules. City Manager Todd Campbell explained that this is just to allow city official room to negotiate elements of a plan that does not exactly comply with established ordinances.
“It gives the developer the opportunity to kind of dream their dream if you will,” Campbell said.
Ultimately, the city has the right to relax or tighten guidelines within a PUD project on a case by case basis.
The council was satisfied both with this explanation and with the changes in wording on pathways. They voted unanimously to adopt the PUD ordinance.
New Route for Summerfest 5K
Campbell then spoke about proposed changes to the previously approved Summerfest plans. Those changes included a change in the date to August 12-13 and the addition of a 5K run of the thirteenth.
Despite the run being a regular part of past Summerfests, it was left out of the 2016 application. This omission is being corrected and a new route has been proposed.
The new route became necessary because of construction activities taking place at Heritage and Woodland Meadows Schools. Surprisingly, organizers find the proposed new route superior to the old.
The new route would require less police staffing and would not require barricades. Total cost for policing would be no more than $400 and DPW costs would be zero.
The only hitch at this point is that the proposed new route includes a private road and organizers will need permission from the Sheffield Condominium Association. Mayor Brain Marl thought that this could be easily obtained.
City Council voted unanimously to approve revision of the Summerfest plans.
WasteWater Treatment Plant Deadline Extended
The project to renovate the city’s wastewater treatment plant is proceeding but there has been a small delay. Council was asked to grant a one month extension to the contractor, Weiss Construction Company.
Saline Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Bob Scull, Tetra Tech Site Manager Tim Ard and City Engineer Gary Roubal stood to answer questions. Scull gave an enthusiastic progress report.
“The filters were installed last week and they went on Sunday and the second one today,” Scull said. “They seem to be performing pretty neat. They’re pretty cool. Weiss has been an outstanding contractor.”
The filters have been the biggest reason for the delay. The supplier had found some defects in the design and delayed shipment until they had corrected the problem. Weiss was not at fault.
Council member David Rhoads asked about progress on the odor problem. Scull replied that work on the big Aerotech odor scrubber has not been completed, but improvements in the treatment process itself have already had a positive effect.
Council approved the deadline extension unanimously. They were also asked to approve payment number 10 for the work and it was a big one.
Payments have been made on a routine basis, but they have varied considerably in size. This one was for $1,269,943.90. The number reflected costs for expensive equipment purchases, including nearly a half million for the aforementioned filters.
The high cost came as no surprise and payment was approved unanimously.
Council Approves $1,000 for SLI
For a long time, the city has partnered with the Coalition for Quality Community (CQC) in offering the Saline Leadership Institute training to prospective leaders in the community. In this eighteenth year of the program, Council was asked to continue offering the program for a fee of $1000.
“I think this is just a worthwhile organization and an approach for us to try to train our next series of leaders in our town,” said council member Dean Girbach.
Council member Jack Ceo also liked the program and encouraged others to take advantage of it. Council voted unanimously to approve.
Council Approves $13,000 for Oakwood Cemetery GIS
City Clerk Terri Royal presented a request for $13,000 to purchase Pontem GIS (geographic information system) software to map graves at Oakwood Cemetery. This will assist residents and city staff in locating specific graves.
The mapping will also be linked to an archive of photos of headstones collected by a past intern. Besides the upfront costs, there will be a $1,500 yearly maintenance fee.
Council voted unanimously to approve the expenditure with little discussion.
Council Approves $8,100 to Make PDFs of Ordinances
The final business item on the agenda was a request for $8,100 to Municode to prepare PDF and hard copies of Saline’s recently revised ordinances. Council discussed the merits of hard copy vs. electronic and suggested ways to reduce the expenditure.
Ultimately, the request was approved unanimously.
The next meeting of Saline City Council will be on August 8.