Coloma receives funding for Randall Park improvements from church & power funds
By Nancy Albright The Randall Park renovation project is in full swing and more help is on the way. Mayor Pro-Temp Marsha Hammond announced at the Coloma City Council meeting on Monday, Apr. 22 that the city has been awarded a “Heart of Cook” grant in the amount of $3,500 for the renovation, and the Coloma First Congregational Church, which originally spearheaded the park, donated $1,300 from the initial maintenance fund. The church also chooses a monthly cause and is donating 100% of the proceeds from the March, April and May Fish Frys to Randall Park. The Heart of Cook grant program is funded by Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant and administered by the Berrien County Community Foundation to help non-profits in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana. Eight new picnic tables have been installed in the pavilion and rubber mulch will be delivered on May 7. Volunteers are welcome from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 to help seal the wooden structures, and anytime during the day Friday, April 26 to help prepare for the work to be done on Saturday. “The Coloma Rod & Gun Club has offered their help and we have gotten a really positive response from all over the community,” said Hammond. “It’s a feel-good project, and a lot of people are excited and working to make this happen.”
Roses and organic eggs Steven Barnhart of 539 Northwest St. asked the city council for help to determine the maximum size allowable for a sign in his front yard advertising organic eggs for sale. After building the sign he learned that, as per city ordinance, signage of this type cannot exceed a 4-feet surface area. The wooden sign is now 13’ 7” and can be resized to 5’ 5” without having to build a new one. The sign is mounted on cedar stakes 6-7 feet from Barnhart’s mailbox and can easily be removed to resize as per the council’s decision. The council agreed to resume the discussion at the May 13 meeting after commissioners and Department of Public Works Supervisor Rod Burkholder have seen the sign. Commissioners also granted Barnhart permission to plant climbing roses on the fence belonging to the water pumping station backing his property. “I want to plant roses for all who see them to enjoy,” said Barnhart. Financial news The council approved the motion to renew its contract with the Plante Moran auditing firm for the next five years. The annual fee for 2019 will be $14,900; 2020, $15,500; 2021, $16,000; and the cost will level out to $16,500 from 2022-2024. According to Deputy Clerk/ Treasurer Roseann Clements, these fees are in the ballpark for most auditing firms and that Plante Moran does not charge for additional services like most auditing firms. “They are on top of everything – recording, reporting, transparency – and it’s nice to work with them because they know our systems,” said Marsha Hammond. “They are one of the best.” The council approved payment of bills in the amount of $412,615.41; $376,482.01 for accounts payable and $36,133.40 for payroll. The larger than usual total amount includes one of two bond payments that must be paid in 2019. They also approved a 6% increase on city sewer service to cover growing costs. The increase will be reflected on water bills and in turn be passed on to the Paw Paw Lake Wastewater Plant. According to Clements, the 6% increase is equivalent to about 25 cents per $1,000. If the increase had not been approved, the city would end up paying. The increase is for city service only and does not affect customers in Coloma Township. Clements’ last day as Deputy Clerk/ Treasurer is on Friday, April 26 after 23 years of service to the City of Coloma. The city encourages all to stop by City Hall on Friday, 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., to celebrate Roseann’s retirement with cake and punch. Hammond congratulated Clements, “We certainly appreciate you and all you have done. You have done a wonderful job and we wish you well.” Clements thanked the council for the opportunity to serve her community. “It’s going to be hard to leave, but it’s time for me to go, all good things must end. Rachel Edwards will do a great job.”
State legislators Q & A The North Berrien Community Development & Coloma-Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce will host a legislative luncheon on Friday, June 14, 2019 at Coloma Charter Township Hall, 4919 Paw Paw Lake Rd. A complimentary luncheon will be served at 11:30 a.m., followed by updates from Congressman Fred Upton, Senator Kim LaSata, Representative Pauline Wendzel and Sheriff Paul Bailey. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (269) 757-2457, or fax (269) 468-7088 by Monday, June 10 to reserve your spot. The association also invites the community to the grand opening of the Blackbird Waterhouse, 4896 Paw Paw Lake Rd., on Friday, May 10 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for 4:15 p.m. to welcome the new business to the Coloma area.