Hartford City approves Fire Budget, concerned for future growth funding
By Jon Bisnett The City of Hartford, under old business, voted unanimously to approve the 2019-20 Fire Board Budget in the amount of $267,748.85 at the combined workshop & business meeting of Monday, Feb. 25. Mayor Rick Hall expressed ongoing concern as to exploring options for funding future growth of HFD budget which he hopes to solve through work of a joint committee set to review the fire agreement with the township. Hall however did not move to appoint the city’s representatives as was presented on the meeting agenda. When pressed Hall stated he wished to defer that decision to the March commission meeting.
Public comment Daniel Santos appeared as owner of property slated for demolition at 32 West Main. Having not responded to any of the prior communications from the city, Santos is attempting an 11th-hour move to save his building from the wrecking ball, blaming issues on the neighboring property at 34 W. Main. Mayor Hall says Santos must present the city with an approved contractor’s estimate to repair, a firm timetable and proof that he has the funds available to execute the repairs by no later than the March 18 meeting at which demolition bids for the property will be opened.
Communications The March Board of Review dates are March 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and March 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Van Buren County Sportsman’s Club has applied for use of Ely Park for Annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 13, 2019 – Rain Date April 20.
Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 740 duty hours with five foot-patrol hours which included 89 complaints for the month of January, resulting in five arrests including two felonies.
Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman reports six property inspections for the month of January. Blight postings for the month totaled 37 violations resulting in 37 follow-ups. Mayor Hall added that he has steps in place to crack down on repeat offenders. Fire Report The Hartford Joint Fire Department responded to 70 calls in the month of January, including 51 rescue/ medical calls and three fires, with Assistant Chief Kevin McGrew reporting. Total calls for the year are already over 100. McGrew says Chief Harting will keep a running total updated on the fire station’s digital sign.
Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance submitted a written report of 10 Priority I calls at 7:55, seven Priority II runs at 12:07 and three Priority III runs at 8:11 for an overall average response time of 9:20.
Public Works Superintendent Dan Staunton was present to answer questions on his written report noting January with ongoing snow removal and salting of City streets along with hauling of snow from accumulated piles in city parking lots. The department reported 12 water turn-offs took place on vacant properties and one turn on took place for the month. The city pumped 5.599 million gallons for the month.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Plant Operator Tom Strand filed a written report indicating that all State of Michigan reports for the month have been filed along with routine maintenance tasks.
Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report of $212,874.66 in bills for the month of January with nothing of note.
Minutes & reports archived Departmental Reports from January and minutes from the February 4 Business Meeting and February 13 Special Meeting were approved and archived.
City Manager Report City Manager Yemi Akinwale says he plans to pursue a Rural Development Grant to replace one of the current squad cars. Commissioner Terry Tibbs was quick to say, “We need a better car next time,” referring to the city’s Ford Explorer. Akinwale is in the process of a grant applicati