08-22-2019 100+ volunteers to Impact Watervliet set for success this Friday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


KYRA KRIEGER of Coloma won several champion awards and trophies at the Berrien County Youth Fair last week. She received three Champion awards, one Reserve Champion award, a trophy for her turtle topiary dish garden, and a trophy for her Fair Theme Arrangement (Country Nights and Carnival Lights). The 12-year-old is the daughter of Christian and Valerie Krieger. She will be entering the 8th grade at Lake Michigan Catholic School. Krieger also showed homemade jams, photography, show rabbits (all placing 4th or higher) and flowers.


ANNAH HART, 15, of Watervliet won the Intermediate Champion Showman and overall Champion Swine Showman at the fair last week. In addition, she won the Champion Lightweight Gilt and Reserve Champion Market Gilt. She is the daughter of Grant and Wendy Hart.


City of Hartford welcomes new housing developer, rebuffs Doranne Greene PILOT

By Jon Bisnett

At the Monday, August 19 meeting the Hartford City Commission again heard from WODA representative Craig Patterson in regard to a PILOT and Municipal Services Agreement for the Doranne Greene property in the city.

WODA wants a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes arrangement with the city to avoid ongoing tax tribunal battles over property appraisal methods used by the city. The city, guided by legal counsel of Harold Schuitmaker, will grant the PILOT for 2020, but only if WODA will pull out the two current cases in the court.

WODA, who has prevailed in past cases, is unwilling to stop the process, citing the amount they feel they were overcharged in the past. They first proposed a PILOT in 2009 that was refused by the city. The city is unwilling to grant the PILOT, citing what it calls “unfair practices” by WODA, unless the cases are dropped. And there’s the rub. With neither side willing to budge on the issue, litigation in the State Tax Tribunal will continue with a winner take all situation at stake and plenty of billable hours for the litigators.

WODA woes aside, the city also heard a presentation from Brooks Architects who spoke on behalf of Bob Dhanda seeking a rezoning of property located at 430 North Center Street for the purpose of developing a 7-building apartment complex. The parcel is currently zoned single-family residential. The Hartford Planning Commission has also heard and recommended the request be approved. The 2-story multi-family development was described as primarily market-rate 1,000 square foot apartments renting the range of $800-$1,000 with perhaps some future subsided housing as well. Dhanda is fully prepared to move on the project, but was unable to offer a time frame pending the commission vote on the zoning exception at the business session next week.

When queried by Commissioner Terry Tibbs, “Are we gonna’ have tax trouble with these people too?” Mayor Rick Hall quickly responded, “We’re not gonna’ let that happen again…” without explanation.

Communications

Potential incumbent Dennis Doss chose not to file a petition for office, leaving an open seat for Commissioner in the upcoming November election. Goss went into office as a write-in candidate. His replacement will be subject to the same process.