By Tony Wittkowski | Contributing Reporter | The Lowell Ledger
Three of the five council members were at city hall Monday evening to discuss the replacement of damaged sidewalks and choosing a new auditor for the city.
After 133 letters were sent out to property owners who would be affected by the street and sidewalk construction areas, only four people showed up to the impromptu town hall meeting last month, said Council Member Andrew Schrauben.
What first started as an internal discussion on developing a sidewalk replacement program in August of 2011, has now developed into a schedule to break ground nearly two years later.
The city also approved a new audit proposal from Vredeveld Haefner LLC for a new three-year extension for Lowell Light and Power worth $7,500 a year.
“They are in the final year of a five-year deal,” said Police Chief Barry Getzen. “That audit cost is going up based on additional work they are doing for the city.”
Vredeveld Haefner LLC will also begin to audit the city as well, now putting one auditor in charge of Light and Power and the city.
Doing so will cost the city $11,500 every year for the next three years. The proposal was passed by city council by all present council members which included Schrauben, James hall and Mayor James Hodges.
The company that is taking on the city’s responsibilities was established to provide service and expertise to governmental and nonprofit entities having already worked with Ottawa County and cities that include Cedar Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Ionia, Mount Pleasant, Rockford, South Haven and Walker.
The fees are expected to end on June 30 every fiscal year.
City Manager Mark Howe was excused from attending the meeting because he was on vacation. However, Getzen was on hand to fill in.
Council Members Chris Schwab and Sharon Ellison were not present, and were excused.
Howe, along with the other absent council members, will be back for the next scheduled meeting on July 15, at city hall.
A pre-construction meeting was held for the Riverwalk extension project and is now scheduled to begin construction on July 15. On a further note, all city of Lowell offices will be closed this Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 3, 2013)