Boyne City Joint Commissions & Boards meeting highlights

city summit web pic

Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

Local officials from Boyne area schools, planning departments, the city commission and other various boards met Thursday Feb. 13 for the annual Boyne City Joint Boards and Commissions gathering at Boyne City Hall.

Opening the discussion on topics of interest to the community at large was Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Moss.

“The primary goals that the board wanted was to continue providing adequate, appropriate, safe facilities space to educate our students,” said Moss. “And, as you know, in this day and age, safety is on everybody’s mind—and probably no more so than at our public schools.”

Moss detailed the new security buzzer system at the schools which force visitors to identify themselves before entering the building. Once the school day has begun, the doors are locked.

The protective wall proposed up near the road by the football field should soon become a reality.

Lock-down drills are held to allow school staff and law enforcement to hone their emergency management skills.

Another goal the schools are striving to meet is to offer a positive overall educational experience. Issues being addressed include maintaining reasonable class sizes, improving the school’s staff evaluation system and maintaining educational offerings.

Technology is another focus of the schools.

“We are making progress,” Moss said.

Boyne City Manager Michael Cain, a member of the Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) board, briefed meeting attendees on that group’s activities.

“It’s been a productive year. A lot of good things going on,” Cain said. “Probably, at the top of the list, is the relocation of Classic Instruments from one facility just outside the facility … to the old Points North Printing facility.”

Cain said there has been continued growth at both Precision Edge and LexaMar.

“On a mixed bag scenario we still have the ongoing concerns with regards to Kirtland Products,” he said. “We did not prevail in a couple of court cases that were held with regards to that matter. The city commission has asked that I be in touch with our city attorney and get to them a list or some information with regards to what if any options the city has with regards to dealing with concerns that some citizens still have.”

Boyne City Clerk Cindy Grice briefed the group on the three-person elections commission activities.

“We meet about six weeks prior to every election to approve a list of election inspectors that will be working for that specific election,” Grice said. “All of the inspectors have gone through the training provided by the county and certified by the county.”

Also in attendance were representatives of the historic district, the historic commission—which is currently seeking two members to join its committee—the housing commission and the Boyne City Main Street program.

Boyne City Main Street Manager Hugh Conklin mentioned his program’s 10-year anniversary that was celebrated last year. He also mentioned a national Main Street conference to be held in May in Detroit.

“We’ve applied, again, for the Great American Main Street Award,” Conklin said. “We are one of two Michigan communities that have applied … and it’s possible that maybe we’ll get an award.”

Conklin discussed the status of the Dilworth Hotel, which has a new owner.

“Don’t expect anything to be happening at the Dilworth for several months,” Conklin said. “There is a whole financial package that needs to be put together, a grant package that needs to be put together, but we’re very fortunate to have somebody like Bob Grove (new owner) who just stepped up and is going to make that property shine like it hasn’t probably shined in a hundred years.”

He added, “It’s just going to be such an economic boost and just such a great thing for the community. But there are going to be opportunities where we, as a community, are going to have to step up and really try to help him be successful.”

Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann updated the gathering on Team Boyne, which he chairs.

“Team Boyne is one of the four main committees of Main Street, as the economic … restructuring committee of Main Street,” Baumann said… “It’s a common meeting place where we try to get all the leaders from various aspects of the community as it relates to business together.”

Team Boyne members include the mayor, school superintendent, library officials and more.

“One thing that we do that takes up most of our meetings … we invite entrepreneurs from the community, new business people from the community to come in—people who are thinking of starting a business—so they can meet those movers and shakers,” Baumann said.

Conklin added that the overall climate seems to be much more welcoming to new businesses thanks, in part, to Team Boyne.

Baumann also reported on issues relating to the chamber of commerce, including what can or should be done with the chamber of commerce’s building … a relatively small log cabin-type office.

“We had a good year last year, last few years, and we have some money to start doing some stuff like that,” he said.

Mike Sheean of the parks and recreation committee reported on his group.

“We think we are the custodians of the jewels of the city,” Sheean said. “We think we have the finest parks of any city around or even across the state. We have a large amount of acreage—probably about 400 acres.”

Sheean said the parks benefit not only citizens but also visitors. He said his committee has been setting up committees to look into future needs or wants, including the current campaign that is determining whether a dog park may be created within the city.

Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson represented the Boyne City Planning Commission.

“The planning commission is looking forward to a couple of big projects this year,” he said. “Redevelopment Ready Communities Project—we are waiting for our assessment to get back from the state … with that assessment hopefully identifies things we can do better.”
McPherson said preliminary discussion on the matter reveals Boyne City is doing well but that it can always improve.

The master plan must also be updated, as it must be every five years by law.

The Zoning Board of Appeals representative said his group rarely meets—a point which means there is little conflict as pertains to zoning issues.

Lease fees have been increased on airport hangars, according to the airport board. The global positioning system has now been in use at the municipal airport for roughly a year-and-a-half, and this allows pilots to find their way to the airport even in bad weather. By keeping fuel prices lower—by comparison to surrounding communities—the airport has been able to increase business.

The Board of Review also updated the group on its activities. If you get your tax notice and you feel your assessment is too high, you can go to city hall and fill out a petition and the board of review will consider adjusting your assessment.

Assessments can only increase by CPI, the rate of inflation or five percent—and the highest the rate has every been was 3.7 percent, in 2007; the lowest was in 2010 and was under one percent. The rate for this year is going to be 1.6 percent.

Board of Review Chairman Oral Sutliff read the governmental definition for how inflation is calculated: “The rate of inflation means the ratio of the general price level for the state’s physical year ending in the calendar year immediately preceding the current year divided by the general price level for the state’s physical year ending in the calendar year before the year immediately preceding the current year.”

The Boyne District Library also gave its overview. The library’s assistant director Susan Conklin told the gathering about the Geek the Library campaign, which recently ended. She also discussed improvements which are being made and are yet planned for the library.
The old entrance to the library has French doors now and is called “The Nook.”

“One of the things we kind of missed at the library or felt like we didn’t have was enough small spaces just for people to meet, whether it’s just kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing or a planned meeting like tutoring or things like that,” Susan said.

She said with the new doors The Nook is a great little room.

“We’re in the middle of rearranging our young adult area so we have some new paint on a couple of the walls,” Susan said. “We’re just trying to make it a more appealing place for kids to come and use.”

The conference room and the community room will also see a change in furniture in order to create more usable space for smaller groups.

“One of the big things is trying to figure out what we’re going to do with the red building … that the library acquired a couple years ago,” Susan said. “That’s still in the early stages. We have architects we’re talking with. They have submitted some proposals and there is a subcommittee of board members that is going to be working on that and trying to come up with a plan for that.”

Boyne City Police Chief Jeffrey Gaither mentioned the new police officer his department has hired. He explained that the new officer will spend some time shadowing Boyne City Police Officers in order to learn how local law enforcement interacts with the citizenry. The new officers undergo a three-step process that gradually increases the officers level of responsibilities.

Grice closed the meeting with a recap of the findings from the Jan. 9 Boyne City Goal-Setting Session.