Boyne City Commission meeting highlights: police kudos, trail extension, budget preview

A preview of the city’s 2017-2018 budget, Boyne City Police going above and beyond, and other items of interest topped last week’s Boyne City Commission meeting.

Commissioners met on Tuesday March 14 for their regular board session. Following are the highlights:

 

Budget Presentation
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain offered commissioners a look at the upcoming year’s finances, which begin May 1, with his annual budget preview. However, The Boyne City Commission was not expected to perform its annual budget work session until Tuesday March 21.
“The budget, as proposed, maintains all of our current services and personnel levels and provides for such major projects like the completion of the city facilities project, construction of the first phase of the Boyne Valley Non-Motorized Trail—which begins at Boyne City airport and continues to the Boyne Falls schools, the purchase of the open space project, and something that we haven’t dealt with in quite some time: consideration of the approval of a special assessment request that we have received to extend a city waterline along West Michigan and Woodland to the city limits,” Cain said.
He added, “The overall proposed budget, as you go through it, is slightly over $18.3 million—of which the general fund operations portion—not one-time expenditures—is over $3 million.”
Cain said it has been proposed that the city’s operating millage remain at 15.51 mils.
“As anticipated, the city’s facilities debt millage will increase from the low rate that we had this current fiscal year of 1.32 mils, because it was a partial year we were making payments on, to 2.30 mils,” Cain said. “But, that’s still about a third of a mil less than was noted on public information when people went to the ballot on May 5, 2015.”
For the remainder of this fiscal year, which runs through April 30, the city currently anticipates its fund balance will increase by approximately $400,000.
“And, that’s going to be very helpful because, as this budget predicts with regards to worst case scenario, we currently have a gap of about $1.6 million that we’re going to need to close,” said Cain. “And that can be tied directly to the acquisition of the open space.”
Cain was careful to emphasize that the potential monetary shortage the city faces is not some type of “structural shortage.”
“A structural shortage is something that occurs year after year, or you have a shortage where you can’t even maintain your basic operating costs,” he said. “We’re nowhere near that position.”
He added, “As we have in the past, we’ve dealt with issues where we have an opportunity that presents itself, and where do we go to find that money to complete that opportunity. That’s the situation we’re dealing with here.”
A public hearing on the proposed budget is 7 p.m. on Tuesday April 11.

Good Police Work
According to a Feb. 25 letter from Jim and Jane Hawkins of Boyne City to Boyne City Police Chief Jeff Gaither, Boyne City Police Officer Kyle Smith went above and beyond recently and may have saved a person’s life by doing so.
Following is the letter:
My wife and I are writing this letter to thank the Boyne City Police Department and more specifically officer Kyle Smith.
A couple of weeks ago, an older veteran who lives in Boyne City had not been heard from in several days, and some of his co-workers were worried about his well-being.
Officer Smith tried to make contact at the man’s home but was getting no response.
He remembered from an incident a couple of years ago that my wife and I knew the individual.
Officer Smith tracked us down (we had moved) and asked if we had heard from the man.
Thankfully, the outcome was positive. The man was sick but OK.
We were able to get him some help.
He is still recovering.
If it had not been for officer Smith’s going the extra mile, we probably would not have known about this man’s condition—he’s not a person who asks for help.
We have lived in Boyne City for 12 years, and have witnessed the high level of caring and professionalism exhibited by our police department on several occasions.
We believe that officer Smith projects an outstanding example of that image. He is a true asset to your department and our community.

Trail Extension Postponed
A proposal by Boyne City’s engineering/consulting firm C2AE, at a cost of $2,800, to seek grant funding for an extension of the Boyne City to Charlevoix non-motorized trail, that would lead into Old City Park in downtown Boyne City, was postponed by commissioners.
The separate, off-road trail currently ends in Boyne City at the intersection of West Michigan and Boyne City-Charlevoix Road. Beyond that point are paved shoulder areas outside the white lane stripe that extend south to about the North Lake Street bridge.
Interest exists to extend the non-motorized further into the city.
Applications for funding for such a project would have been due by April 1 to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
However, Cain advised commissioners that it could be difficult to find the local matching funds, even if the moneys were ultimately awarded, since the city has already undertaken so many other projects.
Boyne City Commissioners Delbert “Gene” Towne and Laura Sansom said they were in favor of moving forward with the preliminary work proposed.
Boyne City Commissioner Hugh Conklin said he was torn because he wants to see the trail done.
“The process bothers me,” he said… “We have a parks and rec commission, we have a Main Street board, we have a planning commission, and we don’t have any input from them.”
Conklin added, “The reason I say that is, I have an idea of where the trail should go, and it’s not on this (proposal.) And, so, obviously I’m not thinking mine is the best but there’s a lot of different ideas out there that it seems to me it would be really good to get, for something as important as this, some community input.”
Conklin said he would rather have a good trail than to try to meet a grant application deadline.
Boyne City Commissioner Ron Grunch asked if changes could be made to the project after the moneys were awarded. He was told that some minor changes could be made but that the project must remain true to that proposed to the state funding source.
The ultimate consensus was that it would be better to take the time to properly plan for the trail, work out any issues, receive input from the community, and from various pertinent boards.
No vote was taken on the matter as it was decided to revisit the issue in the future when a more detailed proposal is compiled.

 

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