President Pat Weiss updated the Constantine village council Monday evening (December 17) on the status of the proposed bypass along U.S. 131.
Weiss said she attended a December 11 meeting of 35 Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives, and contractors at the MDOT office in Kalamazoo.
“All properties necessary for the bypass to go through have been secured, and everyone is eager to start the project,” she said. Weiss reported to the council that work is scheduled for February 1 through November 1, 2013.
A delegation from MDOT will attend the January 21 council meeting as a “kick off” celebration, with an opportunity to ask questions.
“When the project is completed, they plan a big ribbon cutting ceremony,” she said. “When the bypass opens I feel we will have achieved our dream.”
Weiss also told the council she was interested in joining the Michigan Association of Mayors, and asked if there was interest in a mayor exchange program. “It’s a good way to learn tricks other communities use to cut down expenses,” she said. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun and you get the chance to show off your community.”
Trustee Gary Mathers approved, saying he has attended exchange programs twice, and it was a good opportunity to learn.
In other council business, Village Manager Mark Honeysett told the council he spoke with County Clerk Pattie Bender and Village Attorney Howard Bush, and they both indicated an election should be scheduled for February 26, 2013 to decide whether to appoint, rather than elect the village clerk and treasurer.
Earlier, the position of clerk and treasurer were elected positions. The council passed a new ordinance to appoint persons for the position on October 1. At the November 19 council meeting petitions challenging the ordinance were submitted that required the matter go to a referendum vote.
“Ms. Bender told me she must receive official notice of the election (from the council) by tomorrow in order to schedule the election for February,” Honeysett said. “Part of me thinks just get it done, but the Village will be on the hook (to pay for) ballots, election workers and other expenses at a cost of $1,000-$1,600.”
Several council members asked if the election could be scheduled with another one, to share expenses. Honeysett offered to consult with the election board, and said he thought the election could be canceled if the council so chose.
Honeysett reported someone failed to notify Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus of a meeting between Constantine sewer attorney Scott Smith and representatives of Three Rivers Clean Water Plant (wastewater treatment plant). The meeting has been rescheduled for December 26. “We still need a little more paperwork from Clean Water, but it’s just an oversight,” he said. “They’ve been very cooperative, and we’ll have more dialogue about it at the meeting,” he said.
Honeysett said Nature’s Fuel representatives said they were putting down a portion of a down payment on the former Rexam building within the next several weeks. “There’s been nothing officially said since the last meeting, but they’re not quite ready to close on the building yet.” He added Nature’s Fuel said they had been fielding inquiries from potential investors.
Honeysett reported he was contacted by the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College to arrange a tour for ten people of Pioneer Hi-Bred, on November 20. “It was a politics and policy class, so they were interested in how the company interacts with local government, and how we benefit from them,” he said. “Since we’re the World Seed Corn Capital, we’re pretty ‘pro Pioneer.'”
Source: Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.