Boyne City Commission meeting features park and trail updates, zoning issue, bookkeeping snafu

BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR

Updates on local trail and parks projects, a new police car, proposed zoning changes, and a sizable budget error topped items of interest at the Boyne City Commission’s last meeting in November.

 

Following are highlights from the Tuesday Nov. 28 meeting. Pick up next week’s Boyne City Gazette for an in-depth look at this week’s Boyne City Commission Meeting.

Pavilion update
The project to renovate the pavilion in Boyne City’s Veterans Park continues to progress.
“The pavilion project continues to move along well,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain, during his bimonthly city business report to the commission. “The new sidewalls are going up and they’re getting ready to extend the roof up there as well.”
And, recently, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation awarded the city a grant of $3,412 for restroom improvements.
“Other fundraising opportunities to advance the project are being explored by the committee (pavilion) as well,” Cain said.

Boyne Valley Trail
Preliminary work in planning and securing funding for a trail that would reach from Boyne City to Boyne Falls continues.
“Our application for a grant to help fund the first phase of the Boyne Valley Trail … received favorable consideration from the community foundation in the amount of $30,000,” said Cain.
“It is anticipated that the first phase of this project will be under construction next summer.”
Ultimately, the trail is expected to be extended through Boyne Mountain and end in Boyne Falls.

Police vehicle
Consideration to approve the purchase of a 2018 Police Interceptor Ford Explorer from Bob Mathers Ford in the amount of $31,525 less the rebate of $3,728 for a final cost of $27,812 and authorize the city manager to execute the documents.
Boyne City Police Chief Jeff Gaither discussed the request to purchase a Ford Police Interceptor Utility, made with the Explorer body. This SUV type of vehicle would allow the police to keep all their equipment in a controlled temperature environment at all times and would allow easier access to the equipment with a lift gate door instead of a trunk.
This vehicle would replace the 2013 Ford Police Interceptor.
Boyne City Commissioner Dean Solomon asked if the old patrol car could be kept by the city for use as a staff car. Cain said the city would prefer to do that and retire the current Crown Victoria staff car.
The motion passed 5-0.

Zoning change
Commissioners considered a motion for the first reading to change a confusing and contradictory piece of language in Boyne City’s zoning ordinance relating to the setback requirements for off-the-water properties in five areas of the city’s three Waterfront Residential Districts.
There are some properties which are currently burdened with a 35-foot setback requirement which renders large portions of some lands unusable.
Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson told commissioners that the rule, which is more than three times the normal 10-foot setback requirement, was probably originally put in place to deal with density issues and to protect the waterfront but did not take into account properties in the district that weren’t actually on the water.
The Boyne City Commission unanimously approved the first reading at its Nov. 20 meeting and scheduled a second reading for the language amendment for the Jan. 9, 2018, meeting on the matter.
McPherson said at an earlier meeting that this change will allow the properties to be more easily developed while still maintaining the density and other requirements of the Waterfront Residential District.

Deficit fix
In an apparent bookkeeping mistake, Boyne City spent upwards of $220,000 on planned street improvements and maintenance but did not make the appropriate transfer of the funds it used from its general fund to the city’s street fund.
“We have to amend the budget to take care of a book and housekeeping issue that we have that our auditor brought to our attention at the last minute,” said Cain. “We’re in great financial shape still. We’re still going to end ahead of where we budgeted, even with this adjustment.”
As a result, commissioners considered a motion to approve a deficit elimination plan—required by the State of Michigan Department of Treasury in such instances—including amending the 2018 budget to add the transfer of funds from the general fund to the local streets fund in the amount of $223,119 to correct a deficit of the local streets fund in the 2017 financial report.
Boyne City Clerk and Treasurer Cindy Grice reported that, in the city’s 2017 financial report, the city reported a deficit in the local streets fund balance in the amount of $223,119.
This was primarily due to approximately $313,292 budgeted as an inter-fund transfer from the city’s general fund to the local streets fund that didn’t occur.
Solomon asked Grice if this deficit would prevent the city from having enough money to pay its share of the Open Space waterfront land purchase.
“No, because we came out so much further ahead than we needed to be at,” said Grice, who told Solomon that the city will still be well within its minimum of a 20 percent fund balance held in reserve, which is required by the city for just such an occasion.
Grice said the error was not due to overspending but merely a procedural error she made, and that the change would affect the 2018 budget but would not affect any planned expenditures in 2018.
The motion was unanimously approved.

Work continues on the pavilion in Boyne City’s Veterans Park. Photos by Chris Faulknor

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