The Village of Boyne Falls held another explosive and contentious meeting as arguments erupted among members of the public as well as some on the village council on Tuesday Aug. 14.
Two of three vacancies have been filled on the council.
One seat remains open to anyone interested in serving as a council member.
The current board is now comprised of Mike Kondrat Sr., Bill Carson Jr., Bill Carson Sr., Joann “Gladys” Bell, Charlie Tate, and Bill Bricker.
Some have raised concerns regarding the makeup of the board—which is now populated with Village President Bill Carson’s aunt, father, and a friend.
However, supporters say the council deserves the public’s trust.
It should be noted that, in small communities like Boyne Falls, it can be difficult to find members of the public willing to serve on various boards, commissions, and committees.
This month’s meeting saw a near record turnout of the public with nearly 20 people attending.
During the public comment period of the meeting, one member of the public complained that he cannot get a return phone call from the council regarding issues with tree removal and some roadwork.
Carson said the tree issue is not the village’s concern but that it would look into the issue with the road.
A woman in the audience requested a copy of the village’s audit.
Another woman asked about the easement near her property.
One person complained about his water bill and a surcharge for turning the water on even though he turned it on himself.
He also has concerns over a complaint he received regarding a sign he has on his garage. He said he had permission to keep the sign and has turned in a sign permit but has been turned down for the permit.
Some accused Carson Jr. of enforcing the sign ordinance in an unfair manner—allegedly allowing friends to violate the ordinance while penalizing those with whom he disagrees.
Carson Jr. denied the allegations.
Carson Jr. said the sign was denied because it’s too big.
Kondrat Sr. said the sign was up before the ordinance was passed and therefore it is grandfathered in.
The meeting then devolved into shouting, swearing and name-calling for several minutes as audience members and council members argued over who called the cops on who regarding a noise complaint during the Polish Festival.
Carson Jr. was then accused of allowing his girlfriend to park on the sidewalk while others are ticketed for such offenses.
“Hey, listen, I’ve had just about enough of this malarkey,” yelled Carson Sr., who attempted to bring the meeting back to order. “Now, dammit, let’s settle down and be civil here.”
The yelling and arguing continued.
The issue of the gravel which Village of Boyne Falls Treasurer/Clerk Debra Taylor took from the village was then brought up with an audience member complaining about the dubious matter and council member Bell saying that the person who helped Taylor move the gravel—Kondrat Sr.—should also be admonished.
“Who helped with that Afton stone?” Bell said… “He wanted Deb to be fired because of it, he should have been recalled then because he was an accessory to the crime.”
Kondrat Sr. said, “This is why it shouldn’t be all family here (on the council). They’re all gonna stick up for Bill (Carson Jr.)”
Roughly the first 30 minutes of the two-hour meeting consisted of yelling and arguing but it would continue after brief calm periods.
“You know what, this feud between the Carsons and the Kondrats and Debbie Taylor and all this stuff is ridiculous,” said Boyne Falls resident Marylin Cousineau. “You need to start acting like adults and stop (acting) like a bunch of two-year-olds.”
It should be noted that Cousineau did not attend in any official capacity relating to her County Treasurer duties.
Carson Jr. said he has concerns that every decision he makes is taken as an attack by those who don’t like him and “all-out war” ensues.
There were more disagreements regarding fees and where water bills were sent.
Ultimately, Carson Jr. said the village would waive the turn-on fee of $40 since the customer turned the water on himself.
Another audience member admonished the council for its immature behavior.
One audience member asked about changes to alleys in the village. She asked why the people near the alleys were not notified regarding the changes.
Carson Jr. said notices regarding the meeting were posted in the post office and “the paper.”
Carson Jr. claimed a synopsis was placed in “the newspaper” but then he said that, since it wasn’t a new ordinance and only a change to the ordinance, it needn’t be published.
In reality, changes to ordinances must be published in a newspaper of record within the county the municipality exists in.
A notice that the meeting will take place to consider the ordinance changes must be published beforehand, and so too must the results of any changes to the ordinance.
One audience member then complained about the double-standards in the village governance, adding, “Bill, you’re all over the place.”
Another audience member voiced her concerns over the constant infighting, saying the council is acting worse than a bunch of 4-year-olds. One woman said she left last month’s meeting sick over the vitriol expressed.
One man was told—by Carson Jr.—that he could not speak in the meeting because he is not a resident of the village.
However, there is no such law requiring residency for members of the public to attend a public meeting.
The man spoke regardless.
The arguing continued well into the second hour with back-and-forth regarding the fairness of the village noise ordinance, allegations of illegal drug sales going on unfettered, and more complaints of selective enforcement of rules.
Actual village business did not begin until an hour and twelve minutes into the meeting.
A number of routine housekeeping matters were discussed including approving bills, monthly budget, and other similar matters.
Kondrat Sr. then nominated his son Mike Kondrat Jr. to fill the empty council position.
But, Carson Jr. said they need to wait until the next election to fill the seat.
Kondrat Sr. said they didn’t wait to fill the other seats with Carson Jr.’s friend and relative.
Carson Jr. said there was a process they had to follow to get on the board which involved getting petitions signed.
Carson Jr. said they can’t put anyone on the board because he doesn’t know if there are any write-ins for the upcoming November election.
More arguing ensued.
Kondrat Sr. suggested the village enact an ordinance which makes it illegal to trap and drown cats because someone in the village brags about doing so.
No one seconded the matter.