By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Iron Mountain City Council is looking to put a ballot proposal before voters during the November general election.
This would allow an amendment to be made to the city charter that deals with the amount of compensation council members receive for each meeting they attend. There has been no change in the amount of this compensation during the past 27 years.
When the charter was approved by voters in 1985, the compensation for meetings was set at $10. This section, as well as the entire charter, went into effect on March 3, 1986.
City Manager Jordan Stanchina said that this amount is probably one of the lowest compensation rates for any city council in Michigan.
After looking at the compensation received by council members in Kingsford and Norway and trustees in Breitung Township, the ballot proposal will ask voters to approve compensation for council members at $40 per meeting up to a maximum of $2,000 and an additional $125 a year for the mayor.
If approved in November, the new compensation would be in effect starting Jan. 1, 2014.
The ballot proposal also states that, "the fee shall be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or to a maximum of two percent per year."
Section 4.10 of the city charter currently provides city council members receive $10 a meeting up to a maximum of $500 in a year.
The next step is to have the state Attorney General receive the ballot proposal language by Aug. 27, Stanchina said, so it can be placed on the ballot. He added that the compensation of $40 a meeting is "in the middle to the pack" when it came to comparing what other city council members are receiving for meetings.
Councilman Dave Farragh was opposed to the motion. He noted that the city has just negotiated with employees making cuts and now is going to increase the compensation they receive for attending meetings.
During the city manager's report, the council also heard of the progress on the projects at City Park. The city received a $500,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant to make improvements to the park, and this is the second year of the grant projects.
Stanchina told the council that Morin Inc. of Niagara, Wis. has completed the installation of the septic system for the bathrooms and Lefebvre Holdings LLC of Iron Mountain began digging for the bathroom footings Monday.
"I am in the process of getting a schedule from Bacco on when they will start their work at the park," he said.
This work, which began today, will include the trail around the park, two-way road going to the athletic fields and work on the pond in the deer enclosure.
"These are the big ticket items this year. Next year - during the final year - we have a few items to wrap up with the grant projects. A nine hole disc golf course and skateboard area are what's basically left to do," Stanchina said.
Council member Kay Villa, who is also involved in the Friends of City Park, said that despite the poor weather that day, the Saturday in the Park fund-raiser netted $13,000 this year. This money goes toward the city match required by the MDNR grant.
In his report to the council, Stanchina also talked about the preconstruction meeting for Lake Antoine Road that he attended recently. He noted that Payne & Dolan of Gladstone will be the contractor for the project once approval is given by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
"The good news is that this bid came in 18.8 percent under budget and they are hoping to get the project completed this year."
He added that project starts on Sept. 3 with underground work, and the crush and shape work for the entire road starts on Sept. 30. Beginning on Oct. 3, they will start paving the base coarse for the entire length of Lake Antoine Road.
This means that they will put down a 2 1/2 inch base in a week. A detour would only be for 1-2 weeks and then they plan is to use flag control and have one lane open for traffic.
"Weather permitting, it is their intent to complete the entire project this year. A project completed this year would be the desire of the city and road commission," Stanchina said.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.