Dexter Community Report from the City’s New Property

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The Dexter City Council meets for the first time in its new office space. Renovations to the property will be forthcoming. Until then, City Offices remain downtown. Photo: Doug Marrin.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Dexter City Council’s September 13 meeting marked two significant moments. The Council returned to in-person public meetings, and the session was held in its newly purchased facilities at 3515 Broad Street.

Note: While the City intends on using the new space as much as possible for public meetings while renovations take place, City offices remain downtown until the necessary improvements are completed.

Proclamations: The City declared two proclamations.

  1. The Dexter Little League State Championship. See article: Dexter Softball Club Recognized by City for State Championship
  2. Constitution Week. See article: Dexter Council Proclaims Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week

Public Comments:

One citizen expressed concern over what he believes is the Council’s discouragement of its members to publicly express their opinions of council matters. He considers such action crosses the line of free speech.

Another citizen expressed concern and frustration over speeding issues in his neighborhood and asked the City what traffic control measures they could take to mitigate the problem.

Community Development: Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol submitted her written report to the Council. Recent updates include:

  • 3045 Broad St development: The City has sent written correspondence to Norfolk Development Corp expressing appreciation for its work in partnership with the City over the empty City-owned parcel. The City also voiced concern over Norfolk’s lack of progress and communication over the past year. The City is questioning Norfolk’s intention going forward and is ready to explore other options for the development of the property.
  • The City has received grant funding which will be used for pedestrian mobility, i.e., ADA curb cuts to create crosswalk ramps at Wilson Dr/Taylor Ct in Huron Farms and Wellington Dr/Carrington Dr in Dexter Crossing.
  • The City Council approved a Club Liquor License for The Encore Musical Theatre with the condition limiting sales to 1.5 hours before and after a show. The State withheld approval for the license because it requires a clear “Yes” or “No” decision from the City. During Ms. Aniol’s report, the Council motioned to approve The Encore’s liquor license without conditions. The resolution was approved.
  • A new business is going into the Dexter shops next to Busch’s, Wild Bill’s Tobacco Shop, a cigarette and cigar retailer.

City Manager Report: City Manager Justin Breyer’s written report to the Council included the following:

  • Interviews for an assistant to the City Manager begin September 15.
  • The Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival Sale is live and can be found at https://sales.paintdexter.com/. Staff anticipates that the paintings that are posted will remain for sale through the end of the year.
  • Slams and S’mores. The Arts, Culture, and Heritage Committee is organizing a Slams and S’mores event on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at 6:30 pm in Monument Park, following the Apple Daze festivities. The Slams and S’mores event is being planned as an opportunity for the community members to perform for others by telling stories, singing, or reading poems.
  • Carol Jones, the City Council and Planning Commission Recording Secretary, has indicated that she plans to step down from her Recording Secretary duties at the end of September 2021. Carol began her career with the Village of Dexter as the Village Clerk in 2008.
  • City Staff is meeting with Partners in Architecture on concept designs for the new city offices. Staff anticipates building designs will be shared with Council at its October 11 meeting.
  • Fire Facility Binders containing documents and previous fire discussions have been assembled and distributed to the Council.

Mayor’s Report: Mayor Keough reported that the Road Commission had contacted him regarding a joint effort in pursuing grant money to construct a roundabout at the Main St/Dexter-Chelsea Rd intersection. If received, the funds would also be used to enhance the Island Lake Rd/Dexter-Pinckney Rd intersection. If successful in obtaining the grant, the Mayor doesn’t expect work to begin before 2026.

“On a fun note, I got to meet Gerry McIntyre who is known as the ‘Mayor of Broadway,’” said Mayor Keough. “He is a choreographer in town from New York City working with The Encore. Gerry is quite a dynamic personality. The Encore continues to be a destination and attraction here in our city and doing great things.”

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

  • Bills and payroll for $375,308.77.
  • A proposal from Excavators II, Inc for Hudson St sanitary sewer main replacement from Third to Fourth St for $12,590.
  • Closure of Central St from Main to Fifth St for Apple Daze on October 2.

Organizational Matters: The Council approved the list, which designates Council and Staff representatives to various city boards and commissions. The list also establishes which firms and individuals will provide the City with certain professional services. The entire list can be found in the meeting packet beginning on page 60.

B2B Connector Grant: The Council approved an application to the Washtenaw County Connecting Communities Grant Program, which, if received, would be applied to a proposed connector trail from Mill Creek Park to the Dexter-Chelsea segment of the B2B Trail.

Succession Planning Discussion: City Manager Breyer informed the Council that the City has three positions eligible for immediate retirement and seven or eight positions eligible for retirement in the next four years. Two of these positions, DPW Superintendent and City Treasurer, need a succession plan. Breyer’s idea is to hire an Assistant DPW Supervisor who could step into the role when the time comes. He also recommends hiring a Deputy Clerk/Treasurer who could transition into that role. Breyer told the Council his next steps are to work with current DPW Supervisor Dan Schlaff to hire an Assistant DPW Supervisor as soon as possible.

Transportation Improvements Discussion: City staff was notified by the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) at the end of August that applications for the FY 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) are due September 24, 2021. WATS is the regional organizing body for distributing Federal Highway Administration dollars set aside for allocation to local road projects. The City intends to submit three requests: 1) Reconstruction of Baker Rd between Main St and Grand St, 2) Resurface Ann Arbor St from Meadowview to Dan Hoey, and 3) Reconstruct Broad St from Fourth St to Main St.

Public Hearing for Ethics Ordinance: The Council’s agenda included setting a public hearing for the City’s Ethics Ordinance. The ordinance under consideration can be found in the Council’s September 13 meeting packet beginning on page 111. After discussion, the Council voted to postpone setting the date until its next meeting on September 27 to make suggested revisions.

Review of Fire Station Documents: City Staff has prepared a binder organizing documents from prior City Council fire station conversations. City Manager Breyer presented this as a discussion item to get feedback from the Council on any further document needs.

Breyer also announced an onsite consultation with MIOSHA regarding current station hazards has been scheduled for November 10.

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