At Monday’s regular meeting, the Belleville City Council approved paying an $800 fine to the State of Michigan to settle a citation against the city from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
When asked to explain the fine, city attorney John Day said the city was cited by MIOSHA for not having proper training of employees for working around water hazards and for not having the proper equipment.
The citation came from activities around the Princess Laura sinking at Horizon Park on Belleville Lake in late November.
Day said the penalty was $2,000 at first but then there was an informal settlement that brought the fee down to $800.
The city trained its people and demonstrated how to use the equipment, drafted policies, and bought the equipment – a $30 personal flotation device that was required to be worn around water incidents.
Day said the state was satisfied with the city’s efforts.
When a member of the audience at Monday’s meeting asked if this was because of Keith Boc’s actions at the incident, Day said the city was charged, not an individual.
“When we investigated we found we had other problems. We found the state’s concerns were valid,” Day said.
Kay Atkins asked if the citation was because of Boc’s actions as reported in theIndependent at the time, and Day replied, “You can’t believe everything you read in the paper. That was not the charge. It did not have anything to do with that incident. Nothing that dealt with any altercation.”
The Independent had reported in its Dec. 9 edition that witnesses saw a MIOSHA representative direct Boc to put on a life vest because he was working near the water and Boc refused, offering the F word in response.
Atkins said the fine was too bad because she is sure the city had other ways to spend that $800.
“We agree with you, but we got caught,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Dawson.
Mike Renaud asked if Belleville Lake didn’t belong to Van Buren Township, and he was told the city has several retention ponds to deal with.