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Manistee school millage forums Two more set BY KEVIN BRACISZESKI DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER MANISTEE — The Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education has scheduled two more forums to collect public and parent input on a proposed 2.4-mill, 25-year tax to repay about $21 million in bonds that would be used to reconfigure use of the district’s school buildings. They are both scheduled for Wednesday, March 23, with one at 2:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium and one at 5:30 p.m. in the middle school library.

THE PROPOSAL The school realignment plan proposed by the school board calls for: •discontinuing use of the

FORUM SCHEDULE | FOR MANISTEE SCHOOL MILLAGE FORUM ARE scheduled for Wednesday, March 23, with one at 2:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium and one at 5:30 p.m. in the middle school library.

district’s Madison and Kennedy elementary school buildings and possibly selling the properties. •tearing down the old 1927 high school building, which was the former junior high until 2003, and using the space for off-thestreet student drop-off and pick-up areas. •adding a wing with 12 new, larger classrooms and a new gym to Jefferson El-

ementary School and using the school for all students in grades K-2. •replacing the roof of the middle school building, adding a new entrance on the west side and renovating the building and using it for grades 3-5. •adding a gym, locker rooms and a new 12-classroom wing to the high school and use the school for all grades 6-12. •the high school currently, according to Superintendent John Chandler, has about 25 percent more capacity than the district needs because the number of students is lower than it was when the school was built.

mills for 25 years. •the owner of a home valued at $100,000, with a taxable value of $50,000 would pay an extra $120 a year for the improvements. •residents are currently paying 6 mills in education taxes on their homesteads, which would be $300 a year for a $100,000 home with a $50,000 taxable value. •additionally, they are paying about 2.4 mills to repay the bonds issued to build the high school — which opened in 2003 — at a rate of about $120 a year. •owners of businesses, industries, rental properties and second homes pay 18 mills in education taxes and 2.4 mills for the high school, or 20.4 mills total, which would be $1,020 a year on a $100,000 property with a taxable value of $50,000.

THE COST The bonds would be repaid through taxes: •at a tax increase of 2.4

Car fire

BY KEVIN BRACISZESKI DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER The Ludington City Council Monday approved a two-year contract with Ludington police officers. The agreement between the city and the Police Officers Labor Council was reached following mediation and will run through Dec. 31, 2012. It extends the current 12-hour shifts through that two years, but makes other changes. The new contract provides no wage increase in 2011 and then a 1 percent raise Jan. 1, 2012 and an-


Pentwater council approves budget amendments PENTWATER — The Pentwater Village Council approved budget amendments for the 2010-11 fiscal year and the 2011-12 budget Monday. Finance Director Al Ringquist reported to councilors that a conservative approach was taken for budgeting and that fiveyear historical data was used as a basis for determining budgeting expenditures. He also noted that administrative salaries are flat and health insurance costs are expected to increase 12 percent.

ceived a grant to purchase a large piece of equipment under the SWAP (Solid Waste Alternative Program) fund. Ringquist reported that as of Feb. 15, 2011 there was a cash balance of $40,780.77 and that the remaining value of the equipment is $12,000. The council approved dissolving the agreement and the village will receive its one-third share, $17,593.59. Village Manager Jim Miller said the money will go into the general fund. The Village of Shelby has already approved dissolving the agreement and the City of Hart will vote on it next week.



In 1995, the City of Hart, Village of Shelby and Village of Pentwater jointly re-

The village is continuing work to construct a new wastewater treatment

interest loans, $500,000 in grant money and $500,000 from the village’s sewer fund. During the construction, the two lagoons will continue being used and the DNR will want to see the village’s plans for being operational during construction of the plant.

plant near its current sewage lagoons . On Monday the council approved discharging treated wastewater into a creek on the property once the plant is completed. Miller said the council already voted on the issue in April 2010, but it was recommended that it take action Monday to make it clearly known the creek, which is sometimes referred to as Pine Creek, is the site for that discharge. The engineering firm Prein & Newhof and the Utility Advisory Committee recommended the creek, which has the lowest cost and DNR consensus. Miller said work on the wastewater treatment plant may start in the fall and it may take about a year to build. Its cost is estimated at $4 million, with the village receiving $3 million in low-

TEEN DANCES Police Chief Laude Hartrum reported that the Village Pub has begun holding teen dances once a month and that teens from many communities have been attending. That will likely result in more teen activity. Village resident Cheryl Highland commented that it was nice to have something for the local teens to do and that teen dances have been held in the village for many years. 843-1122 x346


money raised by sales of columbarium niches going back to the cemetery fund. He is also proposing spending about $18,000 to repave some of the cemetery’s roads. Both proposals have yet to be approved


other 1 percent raise on July 1, 2012. By the time the first wage increase occurs, Ludington’s police officers will need to pay 9 percent of their health insurance premiums. City Manager John Shay noted the 2012 raises would be the first for the officers since 2009 and the raises would be about equal to the amount of money the officers will have to pay toward their health insurance premiums.

LUDINGTON: Budget surplus of $320,000 for 2010 FROM PAGE A1

Pere Marquette Township firefighters check out a vehicle after responding to a reported car fire at AutoZone Monday. Workers from the store extinguished the fire before the firefighters arrived, according to Pere Marquette Township Fire Chief Lyle Collins. Collins said the 1999 Porsche had an electrical problem.


Council approves new police contract

Ludington was able to save about $320,000 in 2010, but Shay told the city council Monday he expects the city will spend more than it receives in 2012 and 2013, which is why he built a surplus into the 2010 budget. Shay actually expected Ludington to save about $200,000 during the past year, but said the actual amount is higher because revenues were about $207,000 above projections while expenditures were only $87,000 above projections. The savings will increase the city’s fund balance to about $1.23 million, a figure that represents about 24 percent of Ludington’s general fund budget. Since the council has previously voted to transfer money from the fund balance to the capital improvement fund when the fund balance exceeds 20 percent of the general fund, Shay is anticipating that transfer. The bad news is that Shay still expects the city will spend about $175,000 more than it receives in 2012 and $248,000 in 2013. Mayor John Henderson suggested the council consider placing the extra money in a budget stabilization fund instead of the capital improvement fund because the city is expected to need the money to fill holes in future budgets. “It really isn’t meant for that,� Henderson said about capital improvements.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the council held a public hearing on a proposal to apply for about $143,000 in grant money from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to fund façade improvements for two downtown buildings. The buildings are at 115 W. Ludington Avenue — the old Dean’s 4-in-1 — and 125 S. James Street — the current Blu Moon. No one spoke during the public hearing and the council approved applying for the grant money, which will require about $48,000 in local matching funds, which will be paid by the building owners.

STAFFON STREET The council agreed to authorize Shay and City Clerk Deborah Luskin to sign a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for reconstruction work on Staffon Street between Ludington and Tinkham avenues. Work to repave the street is expected to begin in June, after school is dismissed for the summer, with bid opening expected April 1.

LAWN, TREE SERVICE The council accepted a low bid from Larsen’s Landscaping for lawn and tree service. Larsen’s bid was about $6,500 and it was lower than the other bid received. The council can later approve a contract with Larsen’s for the service.

ANNUAL REPORTS The council heard and approved 2010 annual report from the treasurer and the 2010 annual report from the recreation department. 843-1122 x346



Prescription drugs The Michigan State Police, Hart post, investigated the sale of prescription drugs at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Pere Marquette Township. The case has been

sent to the prosecutor for review.

Sunday on Angling Road north of Manales Road.


Mason-Oceana 911

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a car-deer accident at 8 a.m.

Monday • 3:29 a.m., property damage accident, LP, Ludington • 7:18 a.m., medical, MA, Mason

• 8:46 a.m., medical, MA, Mason • 10:31 a.m., medical, OA, OCFD, Oceana • 10:36 a.m., fraud, MSP, Hart • 11:13 a.m., all fires except str fires, MCFD, Mason • 12:13 p.m., medical, OA, Hart • 12:14 p.m., medical, MA, Ludington • 12:15 p.m., medical, MA, Mason • 12:21 p.m., medical, OA, Oceana • 12:25 p.m., warrant, OS, Hart • 12:49 p.m., PDA, LP, Ludington

• 1:35 p.m., medical, OA, Oceana • 1:55 p.m., break-in, MS, Mason • 2:15 p.m., car deer accident, OS, Oceana • 2:16 p.m., carbon monoxide/hazmat, MA, MCFD, Mason • 3:24 p.m., medical, OA, Hart • 4:07 p.m., car deer, MS, Mason • 5:23 p.m., medical, MA, MCFD, Mason • 6:11 p.m., larceny, LP, Ludington • 9:43 p.m., medical, OA, Hart

• 11:19 p.m., medical, MA, MCFD, Mason 911 log key MS ......... Mason County Sheriff’s Office MCFD .... Mason fire departments MA ......... Mason County EMS LP .......... Ludington Police Department OS ......... Oceana sheriff’s office OCFD .... Oceana fire departments OA.......... Oceana County Ambulance MSP ....... Michigan State Police


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The council heard and approved 2010 annual re- port from the treasurer and the 2010 annual re- port from the recreation department. The bond...