Downtown Vicksburg project continues

By Jef Rietsma

What’s believed to be the largest infrastructure project in Vicksburg’s history is moving ahead toward a seasonal shutdown. Weather permitting, asphalt paving may begin in this first week of November, Village Manager Jim Mallery said. That would reopen South Main and East and West Prairie to through traffic for the first time in weeks.

Village Manager Jim Mallery said weather would be a major wild card in determining if the final stage of work can be conducted in a timely manner. And one portion of the project will wait until next year: Underground work and resurfacing on Washington from Michigan to Mill Street.

In updates during the last half of October, the manager noted that curbs had been installed on Prairie and Richardson Streets, followed by sidewalks. Underneath the road, a sewer line was installed on Washington from Main to Michigan, and three of the leads connecting it with adjacent buildings were installed Oct. 18. A storm drain and water main were installed on that part of Washingon as well.

The block-long segment of Main Street south of Prairie, he noted, will be one-way southbound, with angled parking on the east side, parallel parking on the west.

That became apparent at the end of the last week in October when the new outline of Main Street was shown by placement of concrete curbs. The curbs on east and west sides of the street are about 13 and 14 feet apart at the narrowed entrance to the block -ong street and in the middle of the block.

Mallery said downtown streets will be 11-feet wide per lane. They were each 18-feet wide previously. Mallery said the narrower streets are expected to boost speed and overall safety. No trucks will be permitted on the one-way stretch of Main Street.

“That will be quite a transformation once the curbs are in and people start to see that,” Mallery said. “All the infrastructure is underground up through Washington. We still would love to get the furniture in and trees planted yet this year.”

Mallery also said fire-protection water-line stems have been installed in 15 buildings.

Mallery said crews were authorized to work Sundays. If weather isn’t an issue, Mallery said he expects to see a base coat of asphalt laid on Prairie Street and a significant amount of sidewalk in place downtown the first week of November. “The same asphalt company is paving some other roads, mainly Prairie from Boulevard to the west village limits.” In addition, the alley behind the Hideaway between Main and Kalamazoo will also be resurfaced in November.

“It’s our goal to have streetlights and traffic signals installed yet this calendar year … by mid-November I anticipate that,” he said.

Trustee Julie Merrill asked Mallery if the village could modify its streetlights before they are re-installed to be dark-sky compliant.
Mallery said he would look into the option. Dark-sky compliant lighting, intended to prevent nighttime light pollution, uses fixtures which prevent light shining above the horizontal.

Mallery also provided an update on the village’s social district, saying an effort is being made to develop a “hang-out” area. He explained that the concept emerged with the village’s creation of a downtown social district, and involves adding tables and benches.

The cost would be about $9,000. The manager said the purchase of eight tables would be acquired through Vicksburg Downtown Development Authority’s tax revenue.

“We would look at a minimum of three tables in front of the large bump-out on Prairie Street, in front of China One and the Hideaway, with the potential for other tables to be located at the northwest corner of Prairie and Kalamazoo, and the northeast corner of Prairie and Main, as well as Liberty Lane East,” he said.

Mallery said he expects additional fixtures to be added in the spring.

He said the tables will be bolted in place, and added that “quite a bit” of the furniture has been delivered and is currently in storage.

Mallery in an earlier update said more trees will be planted along downtown sidewalks than the number removed to accommodate construction. Later in October, he added that the trees won’t be planted until next year, saying it’s too late to expect them to survive the winter.

Schoolcraft village council discusses sewer system

By Rob Peterson

These signs aren’t permitted by MDOT.

The long-running issue – whether to build a sewer system in Schoolcraft – continued at the village’s October council meeting.
Councilmember Michael Rochholz said the council needs to decide if it is serious about installing a sewer system, because if it is not, “We’re just spinning our wheels.”

Councilmember John Stodola agreed. “We must be committed to sewer as a strategic priority with a budget and a timeline.” President Gunnett clarified that the council isn’t committed to sewer, but that it is “committed to exploring sewer.” Council members were in general agreement.

Village Manger Cheri Lutz recommended that the Council should ask its engineering consultants, Prein & Newhof, to return to give the council an overview of options for a community the size of Schoolcraft.

“If there are dollars in the federal infrastructure package,” she said, “We won’t be prepared to take advantage of it” unless we do the work.

In other matters, the council approved a zoning update which takes effect in November. “The Planning Commission put a lot of effort into this and I want to thank them for their service to the community,” said Rochholz. Changes to the zoning ordinance will be provided to residents in the fall community newsletter.

Stacey Sherman, owner of Craft + Grand and the Beauty Bar, is organizing the village Christmas Walk for 2021. She requested money from the village for advertising, which will include ads in the South County News and Facebook. She also requested use of the park for a petting zoo.

The council agreed to allow a petting zoo in the park and approved $400 out of the Village’s advertising budget to help promote the event. The Christmas Walk is traditionally held on the first Friday and Saturday of the month, Dec. 3-4 this year. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page by searching “Schoolcraft Christmas Walk.”

As another effort to help boost holiday shopping in the village, the gift card program is up to $4,000 thanks to donations. The program will match gift cards purchased through the village offices, allowing residents to double their spending power at local merchants. The date of the sale will be announced through the village’s newsletter and social media.

The council appointed Joe Beck, a regular attendee of village council meetings, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The village has had difficulty filing volunteer positions, so much so that it is considering the consolidation of the Downtown Development Authority and the Planning Commission.

Resident Doug McMillon asked if the Village is able to implement an ordinance against semi-trucks using their “Jake brakes” within the village limits. Jake brakes, compression-release engine brakes, use engine exhaust to help slow the trucks when the driver lifts a foot off the accelerator. This release of exhaust makes a loud growl as trucks reduce their speed coming into the village.

Village Manager Cheri Lutz said that she had tried to stop the usage several years ago, but MDOT would not permit “No Jake brake” signs.

The 2022 community garage sales are scheduled May 13-14. The spring cleanup is scheduled for the following week on May 21, 2022.

President Keith Gunnett requested that the council consider meeting virtually for the remainder of the year due to concerns of rising COVID-19 rates. Stodola countered that, while he is following the data as well, he believes that it is their job to meet in person until the federal, state, or county government recommends that meetings switch to virtual.

Stodola feels comfortable with their social distancing policy and indicated that members could wear masks if they felt uneasy with the rising cases of the disease.

Beck pointed out that the council had just approved funds to advertise an event that is intended to bring people to the community. The motion to take the meetings virtual failed, 5-2.

Council recognizes Bill Hunt as he steps down

Bill Hunt was celebrated by the village.

By Jef Rietsma

A pillar in the community was recognized Oct. 4 by the Vicksburg Village Council.

Bill Hunt was the recipient of many accolades, as he recently stepped down from the village’s Planning Commission following a 12-year membership. Hunt in various capacities has represented the village for more than 60 years.

Council President Tim Frisbie described Hunt as someone “you meet early in life and you never forget,” before citing the list of Hunt’s involvement in the community. The list is long. Highlights include: co-owner of the former Shell gas station on Prairie Street, owner of the Citgo station where Fred’s pharmacy now sits, Vicksburg ambulance board from 1963 to 1979, Vicksburg fireman and eventually assistant chief from 1964 to 1982, Rotary Club member from 1965 to 1979, and Vicksburg Jaycees from 1962 to 1969.

Professionally, Hunt retired from the Upjohn Company in 1996 after being issued the Upjohn Award in 1995.

That wasn’t all.

“He’s delivered Christmas baskets for South County as well as a Metro driver; he was a driver for the ‘Wednesday’s Winners,’ he’s helped Generous Hands pick up food deliveries from Loaves and Fishes,” Frisbie said.

Regarding the Shell station, Frisbie noted: “The building is gone but our memories live on.” After referencing the Citgo station, Frisbie added: “I recall as a kid climbing on the giant airplane tire that was between the gas station and Clark Park.”

Village Manager Jim Mallery said he has been fortunate to have Hunt as a neighbor the past 20 years and as a historical resource during his five-plus years as village manager.

Council members approved a resolution recognizing Hunt’s 58 years of distinguished service to the village. The fanfare, however, continued before their vote.

Council member Julie Merrill said she was astonished to learn the extent of Hunt’s involvement in the community. She said Hunt “is one of the good guys.” Meanwhile, Gail Reisterer, said Hunt never turned down a request to volunteer for a community function and thanked him for being someone she could count on.

Rick Holmes said Hunt and his generosity are reminders of why people volunteer their time for the betterment of a community.

“There’s not too many good guys left anymore but you remind us of what we all aspire to be … that’s why we do what we do,” he said. “It’s people like you and others in the community that are examples of what these people are trying to be. You inspire all of us.”

Hunt, who was humbled by the attention and praise, thanked everyone for their kind words. Hunt lived up to his reputation as a man of few words as he addressed the audience.

“I wish I could keep on going longer yet, but things have changed in the last few months … but I’m still going to be here,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of things to do yet.”

Afterward, Hunt said he was grateful for the acknowledgment and rued the fact he was no longer able to continue serving on the planning commission.

“Well, I’m very thankful for the recognition … it was very nice of them to do that,” said Hunt, whose family moved to Vicksburg in 1946 and farmed the land at what is now Key Blooms on Sprinkle Road. “I just … I just tried to help whenever I could and I’m thankful I could do what I did.”

Hunt, father of two daughters, said the village council ceremony was a surprise in terms of how personal it was. He said he was expecting little more than a few kind words and a handshake.

Several members of Hunt’s family, including his wife, Sue, were present.

Downtown Vicksburg work to finish this season

By Jef Rietsma

Asphalt paving of Prairie between Richardson and Main in Vicksburg is scheduled to begin during the week ending Oct. 9, Village Manager Jim Mallery said.

“Everything is underground on Prairie and the restoration between Kalamazoo and Main streets will be “full-throttle ahead that week,” he said, adding he is anticipating curb construction on Prairie in the week of Oct. 11 or the beginning of the following week.

Mallery said Prairie should have completed curbs and a base layer of asphalt by the end of October, with similar work on Main Street 7-10 days behind that on Prairie.

“We’re still on schedule to be out of downtown this construction season. We’ll also be putting in the sewer and water lines on Washington Street between Main and Michigan,” he said.

Earlier, the manager had provided an update for other streets east of Main. Work related to the pavement base and leveling asphalt has been completed on Prairie from Davis to Wilson and on Wilson Street.

“Work is on schedule and we anticipate the downtown work to be completed, including the new streetscape, this construction season,” Mallery said.

Mallery described work on several portions of the project, starting with Spruce, Division and Pearl. Workers have paved Pearl and Division, and disability ramps on Pearl have been poured.

On Prairie from Davis to Wilson and on Wilson, work related to the pavement base and leveling asphalt has been completed. Workers have also finished asphalt pads and prepped driveway concrete pads. Construction crews have fixed two pads incorrectly prepped for asphalt when they should have been concrete, Mallery said.

Vicksburg Foundation offers businesses a boost

Neighbors complained of feral cats in an abandoned property but none have been found.

By Jef Rietsma

The Vicksburg Foundation has stepped up to provide a financial boost to downtown businesses impacted by the village’s months-long infrastructure project.

Village Manager Jim Mallery said the agenda for the village council’s Oct. 4 meeting included a matter related to a $56,000 gift to be shared with 20 businesses as partial compensation for depressed revenue during the seven-months-and-counting project.

He said the foundation put the village in charge of administering the funds, which was expected to happen following council approval. Mallery said he developed criteria to determine compensation based on the severity of impact.

“Out of 40 businesses, 20 filled out the grant application. The grants are anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500 apiece, depending on the length of time that their business was impacted,” he said. “The businesses near Kalamazoo and Prairie streets, for example, were most impacted because that intersection has been torn up the past six months and their access to parking is so limited already.”

Mallery further elaborated: “Walk-in, retail-type stores had a higher priority than places that operate based on appointments … the hair salon and massage, all of them had their financial impact minimized due to the fact the majority of their customers are by appointment,” he added, noting there were four levels of compensation. “The foundation is an incredible blessing for the community; they’ve kicked in matching grants with the athletic boosters in the past and the foundation just continues to show its all-in support for the village.”

The village Council approved the grant process at its Sept. 20 meeting, a day before grant applications were distributed, Mallery said. The deadline was Sept. 30. Mallery said he expects the funds to be distributed shortly after council approval.

Mallery said some businesses that received funds dedicated their allowance to other businesses that had a greater need for the aid. Mallery said the “pay it forward” concept was also witnessed when COVID-19 funds were distributed to downtown businesses late last year.

In an unrelated matter centering on an abandoned residence in the 400 block of East Prairie Street, Mallery said a follow-up to an initial investigation took place in late September.

Mallery said there hasn’t been water service to the house in at least 10 years and possibly as many as 15 years. Mallery said its taxes are up to date.

The matter was brought to the attention of village officials during their August meeting, as neighbors complained about the presence of feral cats and other wild animals on the property.

“It’s been referred to as ‘the cat house’ but both times we’ve been there, it’s been during the day and there’ve been no cats there,” Mallery said. “There is a hole in the foundation that, I think, they’ve treated with some type of foam product, but that house, in its current state, remains uninhabitable.”

Mallery said an improvement-action plan has been created and, based on what he has been told, steps are being taken to remedy the situation. A status check took place in late September and Mallery said he was not advised of any issues toward progress in compliance with the improvement-action plan.

Schoolcraft village hears speeding complaints

With one police officer on duty at a time, Schoolcraft isn’t able to enforce traffic rules as much as residents might like, Village Manager Cheri Lutz said at the Council’s September meeting.

She responded to Kim and Mark Parker, owners of Marks Sales and Service, who complained about speeding in front of their business on US-131. “I see it here every day,” said Kim Parker. The village police “are not enforcing it. It didn’t used to be like this.”

“We do the best we can with the resources we have,” said Lutz. “We have some of the same problems as larger cities, like drug addiction and domestic violence, that take precedence. All of these require court dates and administrative time” which takes away from the village’s ability to enforce speed limits.

Village police wrote 33 citations on 52 traffic stops in August, according to a report from Police Chief Scott Boling. The department answered calls for 101 complaints, six traffic accidents, and 17 ordinance violations. The report is provided to the council every month and includes details of each incident.

Lutz said that the village is applying for a grant to put up a flashing speed sign to display to drivers their current speed compared to the speed limit. The hope is that making drivers aware of their speed will improve compliance.

In other business, the council had a first reading of two proposed ordinances in the village.

The first would regulate how addresses are displayed on buildings, which the council deemed necessary to ensure that first responders are able to identify buildings quickly.

The second would regulate use of the village’s right of way, which is generally 33 feet on either side of the center of a road. The regulations limit the width of driveways and restrict parking along most roads in the village.

These restrictions are meant to improve traffic safety and allow access to municipal utilities in emergency situations.

Village staff proposed a new process for enforcing the code of ordinances which will start with an informal conversation with a property owner who is not in compliance. If the violation is not corrected, the village will start the formal procedure of enforcing the ordinance, which may include fines.

The village president praised the new process, stating “This is a nice approach to a big ordinance change, and I think we’ll get good compliance.”

The council set trick or treating for Halloween, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 31.

The village will bring back a holiday gift card program from 2020, where the village matches gift card purchases to local merchants. Staff may seek sponsors to augment the $1,500 set aside from the Downtown Development Authority promotions budget for the 2021 holiday season.

Visitors to the September 20 meeting asked why the village has such a hard time recruiting volunteers for open positions, particularly the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission. The village manager explained that the volunteers must be village residents by state law, and few people have come forward despite several calls for volunteers.

“There just isn’t fresh blood – people willing to step up and serve,” said council president Keith Gunnett.

“I think some people don’t care for politics,” added council member Mike Ruchholz. “It doesn’t have to be local politics; it’s local service.”

Anyone interested in serving on village committees may contact the Village Manager Lutz.

Correction: in the August issue, village council member Kathy Mastenbrook was quoted as being disappointed in the village finance director. Mastenbrook was referring to the finance director of the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority.

Mallery addresses rumors surrounding fire station

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Village Manager Jim Mallery clarified rumors about the possible relocation of South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority from its South Main and Washington location and chastised those behind information on social media he said was exaggerated.

Not necessarily, countered council member Denny Olsen later in the meeting.

During the village Council’s Aug. 16 meeting, Mallery spent more than 10 minutes giving context to claims that he is behind a movement to evict the authority from its location at South Main and Washington.

Mallery said the issue was blown out of proportion, adding he regrets more effort wasn’t put into contacting him, and less into speculation and hearsay on Facebook postings.

“One of the downfalls of social media is when different people post, not knowing a complete story,” Mallery said. “Social media is instantaneous (and) it’s dehumanizing in that people seem quite often to extend their comments to [those] personal in nature.”

During his five-plus years with the village, Mallery said he has adopted a policy of not engaging in debate in online forums. Regarding the fire station rumors, Mallery said he sent messages to people who appeared to be spreading false information and asked they contact him directly.

Mallery then addressed the issue at hand.

“No one from the village of Vicksburg gave any notification, and specifically myself, that this fire department was going to be kicked out,” he said. “That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen. It wouldn’t happen.”

He explained that the genesis of the community discussion likely stemmed from his past references to the current village office and its many shortcomings, including the fact it is not compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

He said a logical step toward possibly relocating village offices is exploring spaces the municipality already owns, which explains how the fire station landed on the radar. Mallery said in the search for a new village office, not spending money and instead using space the municipality already owns is critical.

“Within this budget, we’ll be presenting to the council the exploration of looking at other options, properties, buildings accessible within our jurisdiction that could meet the needs of village hall,” he said.

Mallery then elaborated on a conversation he had earlier in August with the fire authority’s board chairman, Jason Gatlin. Mallery said Gatlin and village council member Denny Olsen confirmed the creation of a three-person exploratory committee regarding facilities.

“(Gatlin) asked me a hypothetical a few months ago – it was a short phone call – on the station at Vicksburg. We discussed it and we did talk about if this village were to move in the direction we felt, that (the fire station) would be valuable real estate,” Mallery said. “There is a formula … to determine where the station is best located (and) I’ll be a strong advocate that that station should be located in village limits, for sure.”

Mallery, who offered a sidenote in saying the village’s 2020 Census shows its population is more than 3,700 residents, stated the fire station has been at its current location for decades and has served the community well.

“However, it is prudent of Mr. Gatlin and the board he is chairperson of to look at the growth, the calls for service,” Mallery said, noting the village’s population boom in its northwest quadrant along 22nd Street. “So, with that, I’ll conclude with there’s been no decision. It’s not even close to a decision … I was asked a hypothetical and gave a timeframe. I didn’t see this coming in front of this village council for a year and a half.”

Mallery said when or if the time comes to discuss relocation of the fire department, he would follow an acceptable protocol and adhere to a formal, transparent process.

Until then, he cautioned social media users about falling for or perpetuating hyperbole.

During council member comments, Olsen offered his take on the matter.

“I’m not a liar. I did not lie … Jim told me that in 18 months the fire department would be told that their lease would not be renewed,” Olsen said. “Jim wants that property back (on village tax rolls) collecting taxes.”

Olsen serves as the council’s liaison to the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority Board. He suggested the council sell the building and its property to the fire authority for $1.

Olsen further recommended the council look ahead and schedule a sit-down discussion with the fire authority board to discuss the fate of the fire station building.

“I have suggested other sites and Mr. Mallery has shot that down,” Olsen said. “I have no problem with us building a new fire department attached to our village hall, our police department, and renting that building to South County Fire Authority.”

He said the fire authority has been offered a location at what is known as the EMS building, on Boulevard Avenue behind the hospital. Olsen said the authority has “dragged its feet” over the past 18 months and he vowed to get a definitive response from authority officials about their interest in the site.

Village checks for animal infestation at vacant home

By Jef Rietsma

A Vicksburg police officer and a building inspector met Sept. 1 with the owner of a vacant home on the 400 block of East Prairie about complaints that it’s infested with raccoons, opossums and feral cats.

The condition of the home was raised by neighbors at the village council’s Aug. 16 meeting. Village Manager Jim Mallery said he was not a part of the Sept. 1 inspection but will be issued a full report the week of Sept 6. He said he had a brief conversation with the police officer and the inspector, Chris Hamilton, administrative manager with South Central Michigan Construction Code Inspections.

“I was told there are, in fact, issues with the house that have to be addressed immediately by the homeowner,” Mallery said. “The full details will be available to me in a written report I’ll receive in about a week.” He added that utilities have been shut off at the home since 2005.

At the Aug. 16 meeting, resident John Fuller told council members the situation is “getting really bad.” He explained his proximity to the home – across the street and three houses down from the residence in question – and said it appears the house has been abandoned for more than 30 years.

“It’s infested with anything you can imagine; raccoons, opossums, cats,” he said. “You can’t even try to enter the house without smelling the rampant stench of (urine-based) ammonia coming from the house.”

Fuller said the location has become especially attractive to feral cats. He said the cats are in abundance and can be found roaming the neighborhood day and night.

“This is something that desperately needs to be taken into consideration, that the village can take care of either the house and the feral cats, or get something under way so we can get some resolution because it’s going to get to the point where I’m going to end up going out and getting my .22-gauge and start putting them down,” Fuller said. “They’re entering my garage and my garage now smells like ammonia. The neighbor next to me has a garage whose door won’t go down and that’s another place where they’re living.”

Dean Frantz, who lives in the 500 block of East Prairie Street, also voiced his concerns. He said it’s not unusual to see raccoons walking across his front yard, going to or from the offending location.

“Tons of raccoons and cats (at the residence),” he confirmed. “There are cats everywhere.”

Grant, crowdfunding to pay for Oswalt Park redo

Vicksburg plans to redo little Oswalt Park at the northwest corner of Prairie and Main with more seating, family-friendly game spaces and a heating element for cool weather, financed via a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a matching crowdfunding program.

The MEDC will provide the $50,000 grant if the crowdfunding campaign raises a matching amount by Oct. 8, the MEDC and the village said in a joint press release. The fundraising campaign will use a Michigan-based crowdfunding site, Patronicity, via the link

The MEDC’s Michele Wildman, senior vice president for community development, said the campaign “will ensure that an underused public space is activated and updated for a variety of community uses well into the future.”

The press release also notes that the design will “enhance the Village’s newly established social district.”

The village last year applied for and won a social district designation for part of the downtown area from the state Liquor Control Commission. It permits patrons at five downtown liquor-licensed businesses to carry beverages in designated containers among participating restaurants. Oswalt Park, surrounded on three sides by live music, art activities and the village’s downtown shops as well as the restaurants, is included in the district.

“Opportunities like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places grant match program are a lifeline to small communities such as ours,” said the village’ council president, Tim Frisbie. “Thinking big just becomes bigger with programs like this and growing into these types of dreams are essential to life in Vicksburg growing into a visionary future.”

Schoolcraft receives American Rescue Plan Act funds

By Rob Peterson

Schoolcraft Village is scheduled to receive $162,341 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act approved in March. The village will receive half the money in 2021 and the rest next year. The funds may be used on COVID-related needs or infrastructure.

In preliminary discussions, the village is considering improvements to the water system, which may include replacement of some lead-based pipes and purchase of property for a new wellhouse.

“We have until 2026 to spend the money, so we want to take the time to make the right decision,” said Village Manager Cheri Lutz. “Staff will come up with recommendations and present them to the Council.”

At its July meeting, Lutz reported staff is spending extra administrative time on the ordinance violations that the Council wants enforced, especially fences installed without permits. Some residents are complying with the requirements, but others are being referred to the court system.

The manager requested the council appoint a hearing officer to deal with dangerous buildings. There are apparently two structures that qualify, a distinction which allows the village to take action to protect the safety of village residents.

Larry Piper of Clark Logic has offered to serve in the position. The Council agreed with the appointment. Lutz indicated that she has only used the powers of declaring a building as dangerous once in the last 10 years.

The Council reviewed the South County Fire Authority audit, which again came back with the same concern as before: Financial statements are being prepared by the same people who are conducting the audit. According to the audit, it would be preferable to have an independent financial professional prepare the financial statements.

Council member Kathy Mastenbrook said she is “very disappointed in the (village) finance director and concerned that the board has taken no action on this.”

The council did not accept the report, and a letter was sent to the authority explaining the reason. Since the financial reports were accepted by a majority of the municipalities in the authority, it made no changes to the policy.

The Planning Commission will be reviewing a site plan for 300 Cass Street, a former public school being developed by Clark Logic for two non-profit educational organizations.

The developer has requested that the Village allow on-street parking on Cedar Street, which is contrary to the village’s current ordinance. Lutz recommended a compromise on the regulations, “because we need businesses here.”

The change in the parking ordinance will allow churches and schools to park in the right-of-way, which will allow the development at 300 Cass Street to move forward.

At the August meeting, village staff reported that they are testing a “point and pay” online system so that residents can pay water bills. When it is ready to use, the village will send information along with the mailed water bills.

The village manager mentioned at both the July and August meetings that the village needs one more member for the Planning Commission and two or three more for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Residents of the village who are interested in joining either board are encouraged to contact Lutz.