Hartford Council targets blight
By Jon Bisnett At the Monday July 16 workshop session some members of Hartford City Council demanded the police crackdown on blight ordinances. “It’s not our job [as commissioners] to point out violations…” said Commissioner Terry Tibbs. “Some of this junk of this #%$! has been around for over a year…” said Frank Dockter, as the pair complained about lack of enforcement. “If we can just make an example out of a couple of these violators, the rest will fall in line,” Dockter theorized.
Guests Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chad Hunt visited to answer questions on the upcoming vote for renewal of the countywide 911 and Public Safety Millage.
Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 720 duty hours with 25 foot patrol hours which included 110 actions for the month of June, resulting in seven arrests including three felonies. Beltran announced a new hire of part-time officer Jerol Williams, a 12-year veteran of the Benton Harbor Police and Certified Taser Instructor.
Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman listed eight property inspections for the month of June. Blight postings for the month totaled 25 violations resulting in 25 follow-ups, along with 31 grass violations and a matching number of follow-ups. Fire Report Chief Rob Harting reported the Hartford Joint Fire Department had a busy month responding to 46 calls in the month of June, including 33 rescue / medical calls and seven fires. Harting reported the FEMA Air Pack Grant has begun disbursing funds. Hartford’s grant application was excluded from the first round, but still eligible. The chief will now check the grant progress weekly. With the addition of one new hire the department roster is now at 19 with 11 trained and certified as medical 1st responders. Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance report showed a total of 19 calls in the month of June. Ten Priority I calls had an average response of 5:18 minutes, seven Priority II calls, response time 8:20 and two Priority III coming in at 8:51 for an overall average response time of 6:47. Commissioner Frank Dockter remarked at the high visibility of Pride Care in the city, “…something we could just never seem to get from Medic One.” Public Works Superintendent Dan Staunton submitted a written report detailing the usual summer actions of mowing and working with the SAW Grant contractor as needed. The city pumped 6.31 million gallons for the month.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Plant Operator Tom Strand submitted a written report that all State of Michigan reports for the month have been filed. Strand reported routine tasks, with no mention of non-compliant water quality.
Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report for the month of June; expenses in the amount of $37,755.90 with nothing remarkable.
City Manager’s Report Van Buren County has expressed an interest in connecting the Van Buren Office Complex on CR 687 to an extension of Hartford’s Sanitary Sewer system. The plant was built with significant extra capacity should the plan proceed. Noise issues are still unresolved at the North Center rail crossing. Meeting and inspection by MDOT indicates no real safety hazard, meaning MDOT cannot force the railroad’s hand on the repair estimated in the range of $50,000 to $60,000. State Representative Beth Griffin will take the matter to her Lansing office.
Old business The property at 1 West Main has been sold reports Akinwale. He continues to follow up as to minimal expectations to bring the building up to standards as soon as possible. The new owner has begun work at the site. New business Trick or Treat hours were set at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 31. November and December will combine workshop and business meetings due to holiday conflicts. Akinwale introduced Resolution 2018-007 – Temporary Road Closure for Special Events from Van Buren Road Commission. Having no further business, Mayor Hall adjourned the meeting with the council’s next meeting for the monthly business session on Monday, July 23.