Pair of proposals await Village of Bear Lake voters

BEAR LAKE — Among the list of state and countywide choices to be made, voters in the Village of Bear Lake will find a pair of local proposals on their ballots in the Aug. 7 primary election.

Those who head to the polls will decide whether or not to authorize the village to issue municipal securities for the construction a new department of public works (DPW) building, and they’ll also determine the procedure of selecting future village clerks and treasurers.

Village of Bear Lake president Jeff Bair said a new DPW building is not only much needed, but will essentially save costs in the long run. He also stressed that approval of the proposal would not involve any extra costs to village residents.

“There are no new taxes or special assessments associated with this,” Bair said. “It would simply give authorization to use existing money we already have or collect.”

Bear Lake’s current DPW building — across from the township fire department along Lake Street (U.S. 31) — has structural issues that seriously limit its function.

“Our building now has a big hole in the concrete floor, which makes it unsafe to even park vehicles in there,” Bair said, citing that the new building is proposed to be constructed on the corner of Russell Street and Potter Road.

“It would house all the equipment that we have, which we feel is extremely necessary, because leaving plows, tractors and trucks outside in the winter is horrible practice,” he explained. “We don’t have a place to keep them clean or to work on them to maintain them during the winter time, and there’s been a lot of extra maintenance costs because of that.

“Right now, we don’t have that opportunity to do preventive maintenance on the vehicles, so in the long run, this will really be a cost savings by taking better care of our equipment.”

If approved, the request for bond to fund the project would be in an amount not to exceed $350,000, which would be paid back with monies from existing village funds.

“All the money to be spent, to pay back the bond, is already in the budget.”

The other local proposal involves the procedure by which the village clerk and treasurer are selected.

Since both are non-voting positions on the village board (made up of a president and six trustees), village officials are proposing they be filled by appointment rather than an election.

“Right now they are elected officials, but they do not have a vote,” Bair explained. “So, we’re proposing that the clerk and treasurer positions be appointed every two years by the village president, and approved by the village council.

The positions would remain non-voting roles, but the proposed selection process would open the door to a larger pool of qualified candidates.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of interest in those positions, partly because they involve quite a bit of technology, using computer programs for accounting and things like that,” Bair said. “With appointments, we would be able to go outside of the village if necessary to source it.

“For instance, there may be someone from the township with accounting experience that would be interested.”

Village of Bear Lake Proposals

Ordinance No. 10 of 2017

Shall Ordinance No. 10 of 2017, which provides for the appointment of the village clerk and village treasurer, and which was enacted by the Bear Lake Village Council October 18, 2017, be approved and take effect?

Authorize Issuance of Municipal Securities

Shall the Village of Bear Lake, Manistee County, Michigan, be authorized to issue municipal securities pursuant to Act 34, Public Acts of Michigan, 2001, as amended, in one or more series, in an amount of not to exceed Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000) for the purpose of acquiring and constructing a new department of public works building, together with site work, parking facilities, fixtures, furnishings, equipment, and all related appurtenances and related work?

The maximum number of years the municipal securities may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is thirty (30) years. The Village intends to use water system revenues, park fund revenues, major and local street fund revenues and general fund moneys as the primary source of revenue to be used to retire the municipal securities. The municipal securities will be limited tax general obligations of the Village and no new taxes will be levied for their payment. The Village estimates that of its current Village millage levy, 0.193 mills (19.3 cents for each $1,000 of taxable value) will be allocated in the first year to pay the municipal securities and the estimated simple average annual amount of millage allocated to retire the municipal securities is estimated to be 0.5019 mills (50.19 cents for each $1,000 of taxable value). The Villages’s power to levy taxes to make the payments of principal and interest on the municipal securities is limited by applicable constitutional and statutory limitations on the taxing power of the Village and no new taxes are authorized to pay the principal of and interest on the municipal securities.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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