Marine City commissioners contemplate sidewalk program

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

Marine City residents could be getting a new bill in the mail.

The city commission continued its discussions of how to repair the city sidewalks during its Thursday night meeting, with a plan involving billing residents remaining the top possible solution.

“We need clarification on who is responsible for where the sidewalk meets the street,” said Mayor Raymond Skotarcyzk. “The other issue is how we are going to fund this. We have to finance this program for the first 18 months before we can start billing residents.”

Commissioners were given the full draft of the program in their packet agendas which was originally drawn up in 2014 by former city manager John Gabor.

One of the portions that would need to be adjusted is the timeline. Skotarcyzk wanted to adopt the program with the intent of making it ready for next year.

“We have to adjust those dates,” he said. “If we changed the dates it would give us the rest of the year to get our ducks in a row since we have enough going on with budget season.”

Talks have included dividing the city into four zones, then completing repairs one section at a time.

Commissioner Terrance Avery said there were two sections of the city that he considers to have the oldest sidewalks that should be addressed first.

“I’m sure we will be getting recommendations from our DPW,” Skotarczyk said. “It would be part of the inspection process.”

Talks about fixing the sidewalks started back up due to the city’s increased insurance rates, which have been a result of trip and falls, according to officials.

Marine City has had five slip and fall lawsuits since June 1, 2011, costing the city $9,500 in insurance deductibles.

Other items

Don Tillery, police chief and acting city manager, gave commissioners an update on its search for the next city manager.

While there is no deadline, Tillery reported that the Michigan Municipal League — an advocacy group that is being paid $10,000 by Marine City to find its next city manager — has received eight applications.

Commissioners approved to pay the city’s bills by a 5-2 vote, with Commissioners Diane Lovett and Lisa Hendrick voting against. Approval of those bills included paying Gabor nearly $21,860 for vacation and sick time that he did not take as city manager.

Skotarczyk announced that a May 21 public hearing was scheduled for residents to address their concerns on the upcoming budget before it is approved.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on April 16, 2015)

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