Bessemer City Council advanced charter and ordinance changes at its Monday meeting

Written by on May 21, 2019

BESSEMER — The Bessemer City Council advanced charter and ordinance changes at its Monday meeting. Two proposed charter amendments were advanced. They would allow the council to create standing committees and allow the council to set spending limits for the city manager. The charter restriction adopted decades ago severely restricts the manager’s ability to make day-to-day purchases, and the council believes its resolutions would be adequate to protect city interests. A third charter change, which would reduce the mandatory number of meetings of the city board of review, was sent back to the planning commission for fine tuning, with a council proposal to have the minutes of the board of review by the city clerk or a designee. The council voted 3-2 to hold a first reading of an ordinance to regulate the placement of shipping containers in the city. Mayor Adam Zak voted and
Mayor pro Tem Allan Archie voted against the ordinance. The first reading and public hearing for June was ultimately approved. The council approved a contract with the state relating to demolition of the old store building at 508 S. Moore St., and immediately approved establishing a tax increment finance district for that property. City manager Charly Loper said the state suggested creation of the TIF district, under which the city could potentially recapture the $30,000 cost of demolition and then use those funds to pay for other blight remediation. The vote to approve was 5-0. In a related matter, the council voted 5-0 to hire recently retired Gogebic County deputy George Beninghaus as its code enforcement officer. In other business, the council:
—Heard a proposal from Jim Harter, White Pine, to study making the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park into a federal lakeshore.
—Adopted a capital improvement plan. It calls for a first project of replacing a roof at Bluff Valley Park.
—Tabled the bids for lead and asbestos testing on two blighted properties.
—Offered a counterproposal to Emily and Zebulon Skytta-Magley, who offered $1,000 for lots 9-12, block 13 of the East End Addition. The lots have an appraised value of $2,891, but can’t be built upon.
The council asked that the couple pay the related legal fees for the transfer.
—Adopted a $3.55 million 2019-20 budget, as published earlier. The tax levy will be 18.3564 mills, including one mill for the public library, and raise a total of $504,125.
—Approved change orders related to the current water-sewer project. 
Work is to be completed by the end of June, engineers indicated.
—Heard an update on recreational marijuana. Kryshak provided several documents related to the issue, and said it appears marijuana sales are not providing any significant income to local communities.
—Agreed to buy $4,850 in new shelves for the library and a used pickup truck for the Department of Public Works, estimated at $10,000.
—Learned that the city will qualify for a low-interest loan to pay initial engineering costs related to the next water-sewer project, which will be coordinated with the rebuild of U.S. 2 through the community and ultimately assure that most of the city has new water and sewer lines, and improved streets.
—Thanked Judy Palmeter for her work in obtaining a $30,000 grant for facade improvements within the city.

More Detail and comment in this weeks Wakefield News / Bessemer Pick and Axe.

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