Scottville commissioners rank economic development, cleaning up blight as top goals

February 19, 2013

By Lisa Enos
Mason County Press Correspondent.

SCOTTVILLE — The City of Scottville commissioners ranked the top three goals for the city’s 2013 master plan at its regular meeting Monday. Economic development topped the list followed by clean-up of ‘blighted’ properties and increasing/encouraging cultural and recreation activities. The planning commission and main street boards will also prioritize their 2013 master plan goals. Once a consensus is reached among the three boards around the beginning of April, the planning commission will get to work on implementing policies to improve Scottville in 2013.

Absent will be Scottville Planning Commission chairman, Rob Alway, who submitted a letter of resignation last week which the board accepted, ‘with regret’ said City Manager Amy Williams, who requested that the vacancy be advertised to the public and that letters of interest be submitted before the next regular meeting, March 4.

Larsen’s Landscaping’s contract for upkeep of the Brookside Cemetery was renewed. The cemetery — located outside the city limits in Amber Township —is owned by the City of Scotttville, and would normally be kept up by the Department of Public Works. But the difficulty of mowing around the graves and the large volume of leaves make it necessary for the City of Scottville to employ an outside contractor.

Larsen’s charges $298 per mowing and $1,195 for leaf removal, and has not raised the rate it charges the city in the four years its been contracted. The job was opened up for bids last year, but Larsen’s was the only business that bid on the job, so Williams recommended the board renew the contract without soliciting new bids.

Police Chief Mark Barnett reported that there were 121 incidents that involved the police in Scottville in the past month. Of those, 47 percent were ‘officer initiated,’ he said, and 58 complaints were investigated. There were “two noteworthy investigations,” he said. One involved a 5-8 year old criminal sexual conduct case and other involved malicious destruction of property to a pickup truck.

In other police department business, Williams said she will meet with County Administrator Fabian Knizacky to discuss budgetary concerns regarding the department Friday. Since the retirement of Scottville police chief Larry Nichols, Ludington’s police chief Barnett has had his duties extended to include the City of Scottville, a solution which has proven to be only temporary.

“There are still quite a few things to work out, but I think we are getting closer to being able to bring a recommendation back to you as the full commission,” Williams said. The public safety commission has also recently consulted with Knizacky and Sheriff Kim Cole.

“The public safety committee will meet at 5:30 Wednesday to discuss future of the police department,” Williams said.

A resolution on the agenda to adopt the federal 2013 poverty guidelines was approved. Each year the federal government sets the new criteria for which tax payers can apply. If a homeowner meets the poverty guidelines, he or she may be exempt from paying property tax or pay a reduced percentage. The law requires that the paperwork must be filled out by March 1 of each year, and that anyone seeking property tax relief must fill out a three to four page form and and go in front of the Board of Review, which meets March 11, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and March 25, 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Scottville City Commission room.

A meeting to discuss future planning of transportation needs for our area will take place in Cadillac Feb. 26, 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Michigan Department of Transportation.

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