Dexter Community Update 07-26-21

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

A synopsis of the Dexter City Council meeting on July 26, 2021

Public Hearing: A public hearing was held to hear comments on an amendment to the General Code of Ordinances for Small Cell Wireless Infrastructure. The Council took action following the public hearing.

See article: Small Cell Towers are Coming to Dexter

Communications: Dexter Area Fire Chief Robert Smith submitted a letter and a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1500 Report.

Chief Smith’s letter was in response to a question posed at the last council meeting – How do the firefighters feel about the current station conditions, and/or do they think it’s an unsafe working environment?

The Chief wrote in part, “It's difficult to characterize the emotions of 12 separate individuals, but they see the Council's recent decision to invest $3M to remedy the deficiencies of the City Hall. A facility that doesn't have nearly as many critical issues as the fire station, a facility that is used less than a third of the time as a fire station, a facility that no-one has to live in for a consecutive 24 hour period, a facility that no one sleeps at, a facility that doesn't do anything to directly preserve life, property or the environment, and a facility that has not responded to a single emergency incident.”

Chief Smith's entire letter can be found on page 43 of the council meeting packet posted on the City’s website.

Chief Smith also submitted, per Council’s request, an evaluation of the Fire Department Occupational Safety, Health, and Wellness Program using the NFPA 1500 standard. The assessment score was 81.91 out of 100. The detailed evaluation can be found in the Council’s meeting packet posted on the City’s website.

City Financial Report: Finance Director Marie Sherry presented the City’s Fourth Quarter Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21. The General Fund had a year-end revenue over expenditure balance of ($156,750). From an operating budget perspective, the year-end revenue over expenditure balance is $660,000. Ms. Sherry reminded the Council of the peculiarities of the past year. “We will be recording invoices attributable to this fiscal year through the end of August,” said Sherry. “All other funds have performed as expected.”

Community Development Report: Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol submitted her written report with several verbal updates.

  • Bikes, boards, and skates: Aniol briefly discussed ideas with Council on downtown signage emphasizing the sidewalks are for pedestrian use only. Use of bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and scooters on the sidewalks are prohibited.
  • In-person meetings are scheduled to return beginning in September for local government groups. Some details are yet to be worked out regarding the electronic options for council members and the public who cannot attend.
  • Street Tree Planting: The City has put out a Request for Bid for street tree planting services for 2023 and 2024.
  • Resident Cost-Share Tree Planting: The application period for applying to participate in the Resident Cost-Share Street Tree Planting program is now open. Residents pay $150 toward the new tree, and the city is responsible for the balance. In most instances, the cost is equally shared. The application period will remain open through the end of August. Fall street tree planting will take place in September or October, depending on the weather.
  • Scio Master Plan: Dexter city officials met with Scio Township officials to review and discuss concerns regarding proposed development projects in the Township and changes to the Township’s Master Plan, specifically the Baker Road Corridor I-94 to the southern boundary of the city.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Report: See article: Dexter Police Report, June 2021

City Manager Report: City Manager Justin Breyer submitted his written report with verbal updates.

  • Dexter Daze Train: The Dexter Daze Committee requested the use of the Mill Creek Park boardwalk to give train rides. The Council was in favor of the train idea but preferred another route be found.
  • Dexter Daze Mini-golf: The DDC also communicated to the Council regarding preferred locations for planned miniature golf.
  • 3515 Broad St: The Phase 2 environmental inspection results for the proposed site of the new city offices show initial contamination concerns were not present in the soil. However, contamination was found on the western edge of the property. More sampling is required and could take up to a year.
  • Broad St. Truck Route: Residents living near the corner of Third and Broad streets asked the City to include them in the August 9 agenda to make a formal request to Council to delist the two roads as designated truck routes.
  • Twisted Fish Sculpture: Last fall, the Twisted Fish Sculpture in Mill Creek Park was vandalized. Attempts to repair the sculpture have been made without success. Mr. Breyer informed the Council the replacement cost for the sculpture is $5,000.
  • Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival: The Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival is from August 16th – 20th. Artists will be painting in and around the City. Following the week of painting, the pieces produced will be posted online for sale. Full details about the Festival are available at paintdexter.org.
  • Ping Pong Tables: During the July 20, 2021 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission further discussed ping pong tables in the City’s parks. One new idea was to temporarily use the concrete area near 3045 Broad St. closest to Mill Creek Park as an installation location. This concept will be presented to the DDA at their next meeting.
  • WRRMA Recycle Project: The bin-to-bin recycling review program has been completed. The number one most reported issue from the program is residents putting their recycling in plastic bags. Items to be recycled should be placed directly into the 96-gallon toters and not placed in plastic bags.

Consent Agenda: The Council approved the following items in its consent agenda.

  • Bills and payroll for $361,315.84.
  • Contract extension with K&B Asphalt for crack seal services for $18,000.
  • Contract extension with JV Contracting for pavement marking services for $19,000.
  • Terminal server replacement for $6,618.50. Note: City Staff uses a terminal server to access City records and software remotely.

City Manager Contract: The Council approved a contract with Justin Breyer for employment as City Manager. The three-year contract includes a starting salary of $85,000, a 7% contribution to a retirement fund, and a $3,000 stipend for maintaining an Elections Administrator Certification.

Conflict of Interest Ordinance: The Council discussed different avenues of reaching a final draft. Council members are to bring their final ideas to the August 9 meeting, at which point a public hearing date will be set for the new ordinance.

Second Street Project: The City’s engineers, OHM Advisors, updated the Council on a Second Street water main and sidewalk project design. The current scope of the project is only for the installation of the sidewalk and water main. A meeting for Second St. residences is scheduled for August 12. Work is expected to begin in spring 2022.

Traffic Control Policy: The Council began a discussion of city Traffic Control Orders (TCO). A TCO is a written order used to establish regulatory control of traffic on public roads under the jurisdiction of a municipality. The City does not have a TCO. The Council was presented with an initial draft. Its comments will be included in a revised draft to be discussed at a future meeting.

Engineering Services for 3515 Broad St: The Council approved a proposal from Partners in Architecture for services for the proposed site of the new city offices for $60,000.

More Information: More information can be found in the meeting packet and video link that the City has posted online.

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