Scottville commissioner accused by peer of telling half truths to the public.

December 21, 2015

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — A Scottville city commisisoner shot back tonight at his fellow commissioner, accusing him of misinforming the public and insulting other commissioners, during the commission’s regular meeting tonight. Commissioner Bruce Krieger told Commissioner Ed Hahn that he owed an apology to himself and newly appointed Commissioner Sally Cole for stating in a letter that the commissioners do not do anything in the community. Hahn had recently passed a letter to select residents in his ward, the west side of town. 

“I have lived here 50 years,” Krieger said. “Taught school 35 years. I was on the (Mason County) Rural Fire Authority board. I sat on this board as the mayor. I volunteer all my time and say we don’t do anything?”

Krieger also spoke of Commissioner Cole who, along with her husband, moved her business, Cole’s Antique Villa, to Scottville over a year ago after 28 years in Ludington. “Commissioner Cole is active and done all kinds of wonderful things,” Krieger said adding that Cole has been involved with cleaning up the Scottville mall (pocket park) and taking charge of overseeing care of the west parking lot islands. Cole also serves on the Downtown Development Authority and has served on the planning commission.

“I think you are wrong and I think you owe us an apology,” Krieger said.

Hahn said that wasn’t his intention in the letter he had distributed to select residents in his ward (the west side of Scottville). In his letter, Hahn states: “There have been numerous openings on the commission, but residents failed to step up and fill the void.”

Hahn said he meant that he was disappointed that more residents didn’t chose to run for city commission. Krieger said that is not how the letter comes across.

Further, Krieger pointed out that the letter states mistruths about the city’s water and sewer funds (known as enterprise funds).

“I have shown the residents are paying three times the amount for water and sewer that the city pays out,” Hahn stated in his letter.

Krieger referenced a recent audit by the independent firm Brickley Delong of Muskegon and a presentation made by the auditor in October that showed the city is not making a profit on the enterprise fund.

Hahn attempted several times to over-talk Krieger as the commissioner pointed out that Hahn is misinforming the citizens intentionally.

“If you are going to put stuff on paper, I want you to get your facts correct,” Krieger said. “You put in there that we are making money on the sewer and water and you know that’s not true.”

Earlier in the meeting Hahn said he had three ways the city could save almost $300,000 a year: Eliminating the police department, eliminating waste hauling and getting out of its legal obligation to the state for the former Mason County Landfill, located on the southwest side of the city.

Hahn stated reducing refuse would save over $77,000 a year and claimed he got the figure from the city’s current budget. City Manager Amy Williams pointed out that the city’s refuse contract is for $58,000, which includes $46,000 for waste hauling (including two clean-up days per year) and $11,000 for recycling. The balance is the city’s obligation to the state of Michigan for cleaning up the former landfill, which the city has 30 more years to pay on.

Hahn said he was going to contact State Representative Ray Franz to discuss how Scottville can get out of that obligation, but did not refute Williams’ figures. Instead, later continued to state he could save the city over $77,000 a year by eliminating waste.

Hahn also lectured the commission about how the city will continue to see a decrease in property values if it doesn’t start cutting costs, not seeing the irony that a city without police protection or waste hauling would most likely result in reduced property values.

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