By Rosemary K. Otzman
The Belleville City Council approved paying up to $4,000 to get two of its parcels appraised as the Belleville Area District Library attempts to tie up proposed library sites.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the city council, city attorney Steve Hitchcock unexpectedly turned what was planned to be a closed-door session on an undisclosed topic into a public discussion on the library site.
Hitchcock said he already talked about his written opinion in closed-door session at the July 15 meeting. That’s when he and the mayor refused to reveal the topic of the discussion.
Hitchcock said he provided to library attorney John Day the city’s options for the library property. The city wants to control the library actions so if the city took the option, the library would not be able to purchase the city property for resale.
But, he said, the library thinks if they sign it the way Hitchcock drafted it the city could collect the option money and delay and not approve the site plans and force the library to walk away from the project. And, keep the money.
In order to get a reasonable option price, Hitchcock said he would like to get appraisals of two pieces of property, which could be done within the next 30 days for a cost of $2,500 to $3,000.
“I need permission to spend money to find out the value of the property,” said Hitchcock, noting there might be another purchaser for the property.
The two lots being appraised are the site of the present library and the city parking lot across the street, which have separate property identification numbers.
The district library has announced it will reveal the three potential library sites at its next meeting, Sept. 10, and discuss them publicly at an Oct. 2 meeting.
In other business at the Aug. 19 half-hour meeting, the council:
• Directed attorney Hitchcock to put together an amended fireworks ordinance limiting times of day that consumer fireworks can be set off, as permitted by new state law. He will write the ordinance and bring it back for introduction and to set a public hearing. Council members hope the public will attend the hearing to give their feelings on limiting times of fireworks;
• Approved allowing the Belleville Area Council for the Arts to sell spaces at Victory Park for the annual citywide yard sales Sept. 7 and 8. Cost is $10 for two days. For more information, call 697-8123;
• Approved $253,746.64 in accounts payable including the following departmental expenditures more than $500: to Allie Brothers, $774.20 for police uniforms; to BioCare, Inc., $2,446 for fire department physical exams; to Clearzoning, $609 for sign permit review (building); to Fox Auto Parts, $607.31 for emergency repair (fire); to Macomb Community College, $1,575 membership dues for police; to Mcgoig, $572 for road repair (Local Street funds), and to Wayne County AR, $560 for Dickerson Facility (police);
• Was reminded that the next meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 3, because of Labor Day on Monday; and
• Heard Police Chief Gene Taylor praise the “verbal judo” of Clerk/Treasurer Lisa Long who “stepped up to the plate and did a good job in a tough situation” at a recent incident at city hall. “She has that soft voice,” he said. Chief Taylor’s comments caused Long to blush.
By Rosemary K. Otzman