By Sue Moore
New and old faces were introduced by Village Manager Jim Mallery at the Oct. 16 village Vicksburg Council meeting with Mallery introducing each of the new hires.
Scott Sanderson, the new police chief, experienced his first day on the job before he was given a chance to speak about his vision for policing in the village. “We want to put Vicksburg policing on the map, to be positively recognized in the community, to be accessible on a door to door basis, to do problem solving and have a good time doing it.”
Bobby Durkee, a 20-hour-per-month planning and zoning administrator, will work from home after his regular job in the zoning department for the city of Kalamazoo. Durkee, chair of the village’s Planning Commission for several years, gave up that position to take the part-time job. He will assist with redevelopment management, codification of zoning ordinances and updating the master plan.
Michelle Morgan, village treasurer, comes from 25 years of accounting work along with a deep commitment to community volunteerism. She has led the Project Graduation craft show’s fundraiser for several years while living on the outskirts of Fulton.
Tracy Speelman, customer service, lives outside the village with six children and their horses on 32nd street. She has been on board since early summer.
Matt Hines, department of public works, was hired in a month ago. He has been a volunteer with the fire authority.
Michelle Crawford, secretary, is full time and takes care of just about everything, according to Mallery. She is also a Brady Township trustee.
Other village employees introduced besides those in the police department included Mike Tichvon, golf course superintendent; Jeff Rohrstaff, golf course professional; Randy Schippers, DPW head; Chad Schippers, DPW; Steve Swiegart, zoning enforcement and Tracy Locey, village clerk.
Mallery reported on the critical needs for upgraded infrastructure in the village. The last time much was done to sewer and water lines was in the 1970s. An engineering study by Prien & Neuhof listed critical needs in the next 20 years. The firm has recommended an initial $5 million to be spent through 2022 and $22 million overall. Mallery said he is exploring various funding sources, including a possible loan-grant application to the USDA.
Approval of expansion in the Allen-Edwin subdivision was granted by the Planning Commission, then the Village Council at its earlier meeting in October. Developers are opening up a residential plat that will exit onto U Avenue off 22nd street.
In other business, Mallery reported that chlorine has been flushed out of the water tower, hydrants opened at both ends of the village system and successful tests of the water have been returned following the contamination scare in September.
Harold and Pamela Morgan, who live on Wayland street near the Shell station at the corner of W Avenue and Silver Street, expressed their concern about screeching trucks coming to a halt at the stop light, barking dogs in the neighborhood and other loud noises and asked the village to develop an ordinance to put a stop to excessive noise. “It’s like a drag strip and we like nature sounds,” Pamela Morgan said.