Schoolcraft Village Council

Schoolcraft village council trustee John Stodola
John Stodola discusses the changes to Schoolcraft at the Village Council meeting.

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft Village Council awarded a contract to Kalamazoo-based Balkema Excavating to install a second water main from the well house.

The main is redundant, a fail safe in case of an issue with the other main. Balkema was the only bidder on the project which was initially estimated at $178,000 by engineering firm Prein & Newhof. Balkema’s bid came in well under that at $160,455.

“We were pleased with the price. And we were very pleased with the contractor who gave us that price,” Prein & Newhof representative Thomas Wheat told the council. “Balkema is one of the better contractors in town. Especially with it being such a critical part of the system.”

Wheat said they felt confident Balkema would be able to handle some of the bigger challenges of the project, such as running the pipe through the foundation of the old block well house building.

Prein & Newhof also got an estimate on an alternative that would have dealt with the removal and replacement of hot mix asphalt at the site. But the cost of that project was bid at $52,192, causing the village to postpone the work.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Rob Coffman noted that work will also be done to some aging infrastructure in the well house where they will be adding items such as new pumps for chlorine. He budgeted $15,000 for that work.

The council also approved two new ordinances. The first, ordinance 236, deals with solicited printed materials and primarily affects newspapers. It restricts newspaper deliveries to approved newspaper boxes. It also prohibits leaving unsolicited materials on or in mailboxes or anywhere on sidewalks or public parks.

The second new ordinance, 237 now limits the dates fireworks can legally be used in the village. Under the new ordinance fireworks use is limited to December 31 and until 1 a.m. Jan. 1, the Saturday and Sunday preceding Memorial Day, and June 29 to July 4. Fireworks will now only be allowed on July 5 if the day is a Friday or Saturday. The last dates fireworks will be allowed are Saturday and Sunday preceding Labor Day. With these dates, use is limited until 11:45 p.m.

Violation of the ordinance, which is now more in line with the state, could result in a $1,000 fine. Police Chief Bryan Campbell said officers will issue one written warning with a copy of the statute. A second violation will result in the fine being issued. Campbell said they rarely see use outside of one major holiday.

“Really, from what I’ve seen, it’s mainly the Fourth of July,” Campbell said. He noted there are several other subtle changes that address adult supervision of minors and the use of fireworks that go across property lines. “Even if it’s legal to do it, if your fireworks are going into your neighbor’s yard, that’s a violation,” Campbell said.

Village Council President Keith Gunnett called the new ordinance an improvement because of the reduction of noise it would bring.

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