Clare County Review & Marion Press

Good news for Clare, Lake Shamrock dredging can begin

City Commissioner, and Mayor Pat Humphrey was officially sworn in for another four-year term on the Clare City Commission by City Clerk Diane Lyon at Monday evening’s meeting.
Nick Loomis, who recently resigned from the City Commission, was honored for his “dedicated community service.” He is shown with Mayor Pat Humphrey.

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Clare City Commission got some good news at the first meeting of 2023 Monday evening.
City Manager Jeremy Howard said in his report to the board that the City “has finally gotten a response from EGLE (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) and have been given a partial permit (modified) to start mechanical dredging in the first section of the lake,” beginning at the McEwan Street Bridge and going approximately to Shamrock Court (the Year 1 area).
He added, “We don’t have any approval at this point to go any further.”
Howard continued, “The approved site for disposal is at the airport in two very specific areas on the north end of the property. Our plan is to start dredging as soon as we have the signed permit back from EGLE, which I signed and sent back to them on 12/21/22. We will do as much as we can through the winter months as weather allows until we have to pause for fish spawning during April and May.”
He said, “We are continuing to work with EGLE to get further permits and also soon will be sending out the RFP for Hydraulic dredging of the main portion of the lake which will require its own set of permits from EGLE.”
More good news came when Commissioners approved accepting a Drinking Water Asset Management (DWAM) Grant which Clare had been turned down for earlier last year. The City was notified in mid-October that the newly passed Public Act 53 had allocated an additional $20 million in federal ARPA funds to the DWAM grant program, and that the City was now eligible for a portion (approximately 25 percent) of the amount the City originally applied for.
With the approval of the Commission at Monday’s meeting the City can accept the grant for $129,750 to help offset the costs already incurred for a vac truck and asset management work.
In another bonus, City Treasurer Shannon Sirpilla reported that the October Revenue Sharing payment, received in the last week of December was $3,488 greater than the original $71,602 estimated amount.
Responding to Mayor Humphrey’s query, she said the “General Fund is looking good.”
Also at Monday’s Clare City meeting, Mayor Pat Humphrey was sworn in for another four-year term on the City Commission and another newly elected commissioner resigned.
Because he “has taken a position out-of-state,” and won’t be able to serve his four-year term on the City Commission, newly elected John Myers, resigned before he was sworn in to serve on the Clare City Commission.
In a letter to the board and City Manager Jeremy Howard, he wrote, “Due to a change in my career, I will need to resign my seat on the City Commission as well as [the] Planning Commission. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the great city of Clare and wish the board the best of luck in selecting my replacement.”
He was elected to replace Commissioner Nick Loomis, who recently resigned.
In fact, Loomis was on the agenda and was honored for “his active involvement in the advancement and betterment of community life, which evolved to his appointment on the City Commission on March 6, 2020, serving there through December ’22. He was honored for “his outstanding service to our community,” City Manager Jeremy Howard wrote on the agenda report.
Howard also reported to the board that the Clare County Board of Canvassers had certified the election results.
The vacancy on the City Commission will be filled in the next 30 days.
Other business at the meeting included:
*The annual review of the Commission’s by-laws which governs procedures, processes and the conduct of board members and their decisions, was also approved at the first meeting of the new year. No changes were made in the by-laws.
*The Commissioners approved, with a 4-1 vote, leases on lots 203 and 401 at the Clare Municipal Airport requested by Tracy Bolle, who, with the passing of his father Richard Bolle, now owns the hangars on those two lots. The cost for the lease is $167.87 for the first year with a Cost-of-Living increase for the subsequent years.
*The City Commission also approved a Poverty Exemption Policy and Guidelines to be administered by the Clare Board of Review. The matter is approved each year, a requirement of Public Act 390, which the Board of Review follows in their review of property tax poverty exemption applications from the owners of residential properties in the City. The Act, bulletins and regulations from the State Tax Commission provide the federal poverty income levels, required asset tests and other requirements.
Howard reported the work is continuing on the new Verizon tower, saying, “I am hopeful that Verizon will be able to activate the signal soon.”
*The Commission approved bills totaling $34,466.72.

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