By Rosemary K. Otzman
At Monday’s Belleville City Council meeting, the council approved hiring interim employees to fill the vacancies left by DPW Director Keith Boc, who retired Feb. 28, and Police Chief Gene Taylor, who will retire March 28.
• Approved a DPW services contract with Hennessey Engineers, with Keith Tackett as the professional who will come into city offices eight hours a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to take care of water operation, DPW management, street administration, and soil erosion services. Tackett has MDEQ S-1 certification. Cost is $1,600 a month. Tackett was Director of Public Works for the City of Southgate, 2010-12, and was a Southgate employee since 1990, after his discharge from 10 years in the U.S. Navy;
• Designated Tackett as the city designee to the Downriver Sewer Joint Management Committee at no additional charge by Hennessey. Boc had held that position;
• Designated City Manager Diana J. Kollmeyer as the designated representative for the MDEQ S-2 Grant. Boc had held that designation;
• Hired building inspector Rick Rutherford as the part-time, interim Building Official, a position Boc had held. Rutherford will be paid on an hourly basis for 25-30 hours a week at pay of $25-$30 an hour. Kollmeyer said she will negotiate the figure; and
• Hired former Police Chief Hal Berriman as the part-time, interim police chief to fill in after Chief Taylor retires March 28. Berriman will be paid on an hourly basis for 25-30 hours a week at a pay of $25-$30 an hour. Kollmeyer said she will negotiate the figure.
At the beginning of the hour-long meeting, Mayor Kerreen Conley presented a plaque to Chief Taylor to mark his service to the community. She called former Mayor Tom Fielder (now a councilman) and former Mayor Richard Smith to stand with her for the presentation. After people gave their glowing remarks about the police chief, Conley invited them to go out in the hall and eat the cake she had baked in Taylor’s honor while the meeting continued.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:
• Approved the fire department’s request for an Autism Boot Drive from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., April 2, at the corner of Main and High streets and Main and Liberty;
• Learned the city will go out for bids for a new newspaper of record, since the city’s newspaper of record, the Belleville Lake Current, has ceased publication. Deadline for proposals is April 21. The Independent will be publishing the city’s legal notices until a newspaper of record is selected by the council;
• Set a public hearing for 7:30 p.m., April 7, to receive comments and suggestions on use of the estimated $57,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds coming to the city in 2014;
• Heard Councilman Fielder say he would like to discuss the details of a new pedestrian sign for the Fourth Street crossing on Main Street with the new police chief before presenting it to the council for action. When Councilwoman Kim Tindall said she wondered where they will get the $376 for the sign, Fielder replied, “I have no shame in taking it to the DDA. It’s in their district”;
• Approved accounts payable of $404,387.49 and the following departmental purchases in excess of $500: to Auto Value, $558 for maintenance supplies; to Blue Ribbon, $5,077 for street repair; to Emergency Services, $725 for subscription for fire department; to Metro Environmental, $2,161.25 for city hall flooding, from the sewer budget; to R&R Fire Truck Repair, $901.82 for vehicle repair; and to WC Accounts Receivable, $1,435 for police maintenance charges;
• Heard Mayor Conley invite everyone to the Mayors’ Ball she is hosting in cooperation with Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff on April 11 at the Romulus Marriott Hotel to earn money for operation of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Belleville and Romulus. Cost is $100 per person to attend and sponsors and silent auction items are being sought;
• Learned a joint meeting of the DDA, planning commission, and city council is being called for April 16, with the location yet to be determined. They will discuss the newly proposed Sign Ordinance; and
• Noted the city’s new zoning map that has been hung in the council meeting room.
By Rosemary K. Otzman