THIS KUTE KID … Sophie Butler, daughter of Jim & Ashley Butler was surprised and delighted by an unexpected visit from her favorite superhero Spiderman (aka, T.J. Hoffman) on her 5th birthday. Sophie’s proud grandparents are Tina & Randy Schultz, Jim & Debbie Butler, and Teresa Smithers and John LaPlante. Also big fans are her great-grandmothers Carol Davis, Sheran Lahndorf and Pat Russell. Annabelle, Theo and Genevieve are Sophie’s siblings.
City of Hartford passes Recreational Marijuana; Overview of 2020-2021 budget
By Jon Bisnett The May 11 Hartford City Commission meeting began with a Public Hearing for the 2020/2021 Fiscal Year Budget. City Manager Yemi Akinwale gave an overview on the proposed budget of expected Revenues, $1,135,000, and Expenditures, $1,355,334. There are unknowns as to revenue due to the COVID-19 impact on State Shared Revenue and Road Funding. Further un-known impact in the form of lost revenue is yet to be determined from the Casino Revenue Sharing. The Department of Public Works contract has been ratified with a 2% increase, clothing increase and change in Christmas & New Year holidays. Police Department contract negotiations have been delayed due to the COVID-19 shut down. Increase in Taxable Value revenue based on the consumer price index of 3.1%. An overall increase in expenditures is due to increases in the Fire Board Budget last year, which was 30% and new annual request increased by 11%, also the City website revision and several computers are scheduled to be replaced. Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 744 duty hours with 12 foot-patrol hours which included 111 complaints for the month of March, resulting in eight arrests including three felonies. Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman noted six property inspections for the month of March. Blight postings for the month totaled 45 violations resulting in 45 follow-ups. Council expressed concerns over the condition of the property at 40 Marion Avenue. 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. There is nothing new to report regarding the UV light solution, as meetings have been put on hold until after State of Emergency has been lifted. Fire Report Commissioner Helen Sullivan gave an update from the Fire Board meeting at which initial approval was given to the fire truck bid from Spencer’s Equipment in the amount of $689,523. HFD responded to a total of 49 calls for the month of March including 20 in the Township 18 in the City and two on I-94, with 39 medical calls on the list. Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance forwarded a written report of activity in the month of April showing 14 Priority I calls at 7:57 and a 12 Priority II at 10:36 and 4 Priority III runs at 9:36 for an overall average response time of 9:13. Mayor Rick Hall reported to the council that he has spoken with Bill Mears and Covert Ambulance coverage concerns were addressed. Council has requested dispatch reports and/or run sheets, and clarification on pertinent coverage response times. Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report of bills for the month of April in the amount of $71,740.65, noting the 2016 Police Interceptor was sold to Tappers in Paw Paw. City Manager’s Report City Manager Akinwale began by thanking the administrative staff for their work during the pandemic. Office staff has been alternating days they come into the office. Attached to the report is a plan to reopen City Hall when the time comes. The large junk pick-up scheduled in April was canceled by the contractor. Hopefully it may be rescheduled in the fall. Council requested status on 32-34 West Main Street demolition, Akinwale responded he will contact the contractor on scheduled date to begin. The PFAS grant has been approved by the state for the expansion of water connections in the affected area; however, the pandemic has slowed the process on the States completion and funding of the project. The report received the approval of the Commission. Goals / Objectives City Manager Akinwale is completing Union Contracts in addition to submitting Transportation Economic Development Application for Category B Funding. Communications Petitions are available for three Commission seats to be elected November 3, 2020. Petitions are due by July 21, 2020 at 4 p.m. Commissioners Burleson, Dockter and Miller’s seats are up for vote in the November election. City Census reporting is a little over 50%. It is imperative that every city resident complete the Census forms as future funding depends on the number counted. Old business Proposed Fire Department 2020/2021 Budget, requesting an 11% increase over last year’s budget. Concerns were expressed over the prior year’s audit opinion. Next year’s audit has been budgeted at double the prior year’s fee, which Chairman Starner was unable to explain. Council requested additional bids, but none have been received. The Mayor had requested the Fire Board update a proper budget to include revenue, as to date only projected expenses had been presented. Mayor Pro-Tem John Miller moved to adopt the Michigan Regulation & Taxation of Recreational Marihuana Act (MRTMA) Ordinance no. 320-20. The motion received unanimous approval. The Council also approved the City of Hartford fee schedule as presented. Miller, supported by Commissioner Sullivan moved to approve $1,000 to the Hartford Lions Club to provide the 2020 Concerts in the Park Series. The motion passed unanimously. Discussion – June City Council Meeting will remain scheduled for June 22, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. subject to new directives by Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders or legislative action. Ordinances & Resolutions The Council adopted the following: Resolution 2020-006 Michigan Regulatory Taxation of Marihuana Act, Ordinance no. 320-20 License Fee Resolution 2020-007 Approving Fire Apparatus and Equipment Millage Ballot Language Resolution 2020-008 Establishing a request for funding, designate an agent, attest to the existence of funds and commit to implementing a maintenance program for the City of Hartford 2020 Local Street improvements project funded by the Transportation Economic Development Fund Category B Program
Getting through the pandemic: You’ve got resources
As we go through the coronavirus pandemic, with its constant threat to personal health and its devastating impact on the economy, it can be hard to find a silver lining. But if there is one, it’s that government agencies, private businesses and nonprofit organizations have contributed, in one way or another, to helping relieve some of the stresses – financial, physical or emotional –that many of us are feeling. So, it’s important for you to know what types of help are out there. Here are some of the key areas in which resources are available: Unemployment – The CARES Act, a major piece of the recent economic stimulus packages, expanded several aspects of unemployment insurance, including eligibility, amount and duration. To learn more about unemployment insurance flexibility during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to find a link to your own state’s unemployment insurance office, visit: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance. You might be able to collect some benefits even if you’re still working. Specifically, if your hours have been reduced, you could receive part of your unemployment benefits as short-time compensation. Your company’s human resources area can let you know if you’re eligible. Banking / Credit Cards / Consumer and Student loans – Many financial institutions are offering loan modifications, fee waivers or new lending products to help consumers during this time. To see what’s available, contact your own bank or credit union. Credit card issuers and other consumer loan providers are also offering programs to help borrowers; to learn more, visit these creditors’ web sites or call their customer service lines. And, as part of the CARES Act, borrowers can stop making payments on federally held student loans through Sept. 30, 2020. Health care – Losing employment often means losing health insurance. If you’ve recently lost your coverage, you may be eligible to participate in the special enrollment period to sign up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plan. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for subsidized health insurance. To see if you qualify for the special enrollment period, or for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) go to https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP and can’t afford health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost services at a community health center. To find one near you, go to https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/. Mortgage – Another provision of the CARES Act allows you to apply for suspension or reduction of your mortgage payment for a limited time if you have a federally backed mortgage (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). You’ll need to contact your own mortgage service provider to request this relief. Utilities – Many gas, electric and water service providers are temporarily suspending disconnections of customers unable to pay their bills due to the effects of the pandemic. Also, some utilities are suspending late fee charges. Contact your local utilities to determine the benefits for which you may be eligible. Telecommunications / Internet – Numerous broadband and telephone service providers (https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected#pledges) have agreed to temporarily stop terminations and waive late fees for customers facing financial struggles arising from the pandemic. And some providers (https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected/above-and-beyond) are also offering other benefits, such as free internet service to students and teachers and increased broadband speeds for customers working remotely. These are challenging times, to say the least. But by availing yourself of the appropriate resources, you may well be able to make your life easier. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones. Member SIPC.