Council thanks Smith for service

Kaminski approved as DDA interim director, downtown merchants support

MANISTEE — Former Manistee County controller/administrator Tom Kaminski was approved on Wednesday by Manistee City Council as interim director of the Downtown Development Authority.

Until a full-time executive director is selected by the DDA board, Kaminski will work for $25 an hour for the DDA.

Valerie Bergstrom, DDA treasurer, told council that the DDA board approved Kaminski for various reasons.

“On behalf of the Manistee Downtown Development Authority, we respectfully request your approval of Tom Kaminski as interim director until a full-time executive director is hired,” Bergstrom said. “We look forward to your approval.”

Shelley Doyan, owner-operator of The Ideal Kitchen, said she supports the decision of the DDA board, and knows Kaminski is the right person to help out in this transitional period.

“I am here this evening to support the approval of Tom Kaminski,” said Doyan. “The DDA is so, so important to building and business owners, our whole community as a downtown… it is statistically proven that a vibrant, beautiful, thriving, unique downtown brings people to our community.

“I just think we would really like to see Tom, because I think he is going to be a really good asset.”

Nicole Knapp, with The Fillmore of Manistee, gave her support to Kaminski, as well.

“I think we need an interim, we need to come together with some sort of cohesion between the DDA and the city,” Knapp said. “Without a director, without a TIF, without a vision, none of that is going to (happen).”

Council unanimously approved Kaminski.

Also on Wednesday, council approved a liquor license for the Vogue Theatre at 383 River St., which will go through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission redevelopment program.

Mayor Jim Smith, who served his last council meeting on Wednesday, said in conversations with the Vogue board, the license would be for wine and beer to serve at the theatre.

Council member Lynda Beaton said she fully supports the decision.

“I think it would be unique if we approved it, because we do not have any theaters near us that are currently doing this,” said Beaton. “I think Traverse City has a couple, but I think it will put us in that special niche.”

The license was unanimously approved.

On Wednesday, council also adopted an 2019-1 fiscal year-end June 30, 2019, budget amendment.

Part of the amendment is an $122,000 increase for the 12th Street sewer, which was budgeted for fiscal year of 2018 for $140,000, but ended up cheaper than initially expected.

Another change is a water pilot grant for $331,000 from the MDEQ, which must be expended.

“Only increased expenditures must be explicitly authorized (through) a budget amendment,” stated city manager Thad Taylor, in a memo to council.

Additional agenda items approved on Wednesday include the following:

• Recognition of the Manistee Chippewa 350 Club as a nonprofit, to get a Charitable Gaming License through the State of Michigan; and

• Modifications to CP-23 Retiree Health Insurance Policy to align with the city’s current practice, allowing retirees on the city’s health insurance plan to receive the monthly stipend and purchase health insurance on the open market.

At the end of the meeting, council members thanked Smith for his dedication to Manistee.

“Mayor Smith, thank you for your service to the community,” said Beaton.

Council member James Grabowski echoed Beaton, “Jim, thanks for working with us.”

Smith said he is taking on a different role now, and congratulated Mick Szymanski, who was elected in Tuesday’s election to the fifth district seat. Smith also thanked the election workers for a job well-done.

“I would like to congratulate the winners of the election, those who were re-elected and I’d like to congratulate Mick Szymanski for his election,” said Smith. “I am not really going anywhere, I am going to be working a different role and look forward to it. It’s always a little bit different.”

A council work session is scheduled for Nov. 27, on dogs in city parks and other business.

The city council will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 in the council chambers at Manistee City Hall, 70 Maple St., for its annual organizational meeting, where a mayor will be selected by council members. Szymanski will also be sworn in to council at that time.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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