City Council Meeting
November 18, 2002
The regular meeting of the City Council, City of Mason, was held in City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Whipple at 7:40 p.m.
Present: Whipple, Preadmore, Howe, Clark, Naeyaert, Helbig.
Council Member Helbig led in the Pledge of Allegiance and offered the invocation.
The minutes of the regular meeting of November 4, 2002, were approved as printed. Howe moved, Helbig supported that the bills dated November 18, 2002, in the amount of $27,813.14 , and certified by the City Administrator, be approved and ordered paid. Motion carried unanimously.
People From the Floor: Phillip Birdsall, 164 West Maple Street, member of the Mason Holiday Celebration Committee, announced that the holiday celebration is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 29, 2002, and is sponsored by the Mason Historical Society and the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Birdsall described the slated events for the Courthouse Square and in the Antiques District.
Ordinance No. 138 - First Reading
Moved by Preadmore, supported by Naeyaert, that Ordinance No. 138 be considered read for the first time. Yes: 6. No: 0. (Note: Proposed Ordinance No. 138, as considered read, is attached to the official Minutes and constitutes a formal part thereof.)
Audit Report Fiscal Year 2001/2002: The Council received the audit documents for the City of Mason for fiscal year 2001-2002, including reports for the Building Authority, the Downtown Development Authority, the Local Development Finance Authority and the Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Rick Richardson, Partner, Layton and Richardson, Certified Public Accountants, stated that as in past years the City has again received an unqualified opinion which, since this is the highest rating given, speaks very highly of the city’s accounting system. He gave a brief presentation highlighting some of the observations contained in the report. In summary, Mr. Richardson stated that all of the funds for the City are in good shape. A brief question and answer period ensued after which Preadmore moved, Naeyaert supported, that the 2001-2002 Fiscal Year Audit prepared by Layton & Richardson, CPA, be accepted and placed on file. Yes: 6 No: 0.
Resignation of Council Member Tim Soule: A letter of resignation from Timothy J. Soule, dated November 11, 2002, was received in the City Clerk’s office on November 13, 2002. Mr. Soule states that he and his family are relocating to the Grand Rapids area; therefore, he is resigning from his seat on the City Council as Council Member , Mayor Pro Tem and as Liaison of the Council to the Mason Planning Commission. Helbig moved, Naeyaert supported, the resignation of Timothy J. Soule be accepted and the seat be declared vacant. Yes: 6 No: 0
A lengthy discussion ensued regarding procedures to fill this vacancy which includes the unexpired term and the full four-year term commencing January 2003. The current term has to be filled, by Council appointment, within 30 days of the letter being received in the Clerk’s office, i.e., 30 days from November 13, 2002. The first appointment must take place at the next Council meeting in order to meet this deadline.
Helbig moved, Preadmore supported, that notice be published immediately in the newspaper soliciting letters of interest with a deadline of close of business December 4, 2002, and, further that
a special meeting of the Council be held on December 9, 2002 for the purpose of appointing someone to fill the current, unexpired term. Yes: 6 No: 0
The four-year term can only be filled by Council appointment. Council Member Clark stressed his opposition to the Council being able to fill a four-year term by appointment. City Attorney McGinty stated that the Mason City Charter only allows special elections to fill vacancies in two instances: recall and where three or more vacancies occur simultaneously. Members of the Council agreed with Clark that they are not comfortable with the council being able to fill a four-year term by appointment rather than have a special election. Further discussion ensued and a consensus formed among Council members that the Charter should be amended so that four-year terms cannot be filled by appointment. Mayor Whipple stated that there are many housekeeping items that should be cleared up and amended in the Charter. There is consensus that a special election be held in August 2003 for Charter amendments.
Unfinished Business: None
New Business: None
Council Correspondence: An invitation to attend a reception for the new Director of the Capitol Regional Airport Authority was received.
Liaison Reports: City Administrator Colburn briefly reviewed some of the issues currently before the Planning Commission.
Administrator Colburn briefed the Council on the public parking situation:
. A parking lot behind City Hall is being constructed.
. The Traffic Commission will be placing a limit on the parking in the City parking lot located on Ash Street, between the Library and Keans.
. The City Administrator commended the members of the business community who, in 1972, took responsibility for parking issues and formed the County Seat Parking Authority. This board has just been dissolved and the City will now continue to work on parking availability.
Unofficial Housing Rehabilitation Community Development Block Grants: The Administrator announced that we (unofficially) received two $200,000 grants: a total of $400,000 over a 2 year period for housing rehabilitation programs and for the downtown rental programs. The official notification is expected shortly.
Imperial Garden Liquor License: City Administrator Colburn advised the Council that he reviewed the Michigan Liquor Control Code, and Related Laws and found an approach that may assist Ms. Jenny Liang in acquiring a liquor license for her restaurant at 147 W. Maple Street. Ms. Liang does not want a Class C license as a Tavern beer and wine license would meet her needs. He stated that under state law, there is a Tavern license available if applied for within a development district. The Imperial Garden is within the DDA. In the spirit of Ms. Liang’s commitment to the community, Mr. Colburn has pursued this option by forwarding a letter to Mr. Birdsall, Executive Director of the DDA. A public hearing will be held at the next DDA meeting. The Administrator briefly outlined the rest of the process which will end up with the State making the final determination.
The City Administrator extended an invitation to Council to the annual staff Christmas Party.
Mayor Whipple inquired as to whether a Mayor Pro Tem should be elected for the remaining meetings for 2002. City Attorney McGinty stated he will check to see if it is required. Mayor Whipple asked that if it is required, he would like the Council to be prepared to act on it at the next meeting.
People From the Floor: Barb DePue, 817 S Lansing Street, suggested that Les Bruno be appointed to fill the current unexpired term of Tim Soule since Mr. Bruno will begin his own four-year term on the Council in January. The Council could then solicit letters of interest to fill the vacancy for the four-year term. This suggestion received a very positive response from the Council. Mayor Whipple stated he will contact Mr. Bruno and ask him to submit a letter if he is interested.
There was no further business. Mayor Whipple declared the meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.
Martin A. Colburn, City Clerk Russell W. Whipple, Mayor