Lori could be city’s repPublished 11:21pm Monday, February 13, 2012
Not only does state Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, intend to seek re-election to his third and final two-year House term, but the former St. Joseph County sheriff could be Dowagiac’s next Lansing voice.
Dowagiac and Wayne and Silver Creek townships are now the only part of Cass County in Rep. Sharon Tyler’s district, but Lori told City Council Monday night that changes Jan. 1 with new legislative boundaries.
Lori’s 59th District consists of all of St. Joseph County and most of Cass County.
“With redistricting,” Lori said, “I lose Milton and Ontwa townships, but gain the City of Dowagiac and Wayne Township.”
Tyler, R-Niles, announced she will be running for Berrien County clerk.
Lori chairs Community Health, a committee covering Medicaid, Medicare and senior services.
“I just read about the problem with family practitioners here at the hospital,” he said. “That’s something we’re working on, trying to make sure we have a bedrock of physicians in our communities. Medicaid payment rates are coming up a little bit for those providers.”
Council endorses Feb. 28 road mill
Council adopted a resolution supporting Cass County Road Commission’s five-year millage request on the Feb. 28 ballot after hearing a presentation at its Jan. 23 meeting.
“CCRC was specific in the roads that would be improved with this millage,” City Manager Kevin Anderson said.
Dowagiac residents will benefit not only from driving on county primary roads, but state law requires $85,000 to $90,000 be shared for road improvements within the city limits.
Asphalt maintenance equipment purchased
Council on Bob Schuur’s motion approved the $28,404 purchase of a KM International hot box asphalt patching machine built in North Branch, Mich.
Using hot mix asphalt during winter “should create a much stronger, longer-lasting patch,” Anderson said. “Also, this machine will allow city staff to patch small street cuts from utility work,” saving $3,000 annually on materials.
It should pay for itself in three years.
Over the past two years the city spent $13,457 for private contractors to patch utility repair potholes. Doing at least half could save the city $6,500 in contract work.
Department of Public Services (DPS) crews also reviewed a model that fills potholes with a sealant and stone fill applied by sprayer, which cost $44,760 for a demo model or $57,350 new. Both require a dump truck to transport and feed the unit with stone filler, according to DPS Director Jim Bradford.
Bradford said the city bought 76 tons of cold patch the past two years for $8,200. Based on $68 a ton, the same amount of asphalt would cost $5,168.
Contracts extended with Carlile, LaGrow
Council approved a 19-month extension through Sept. 30, 2013, with Gary Carlile to continue as airport manager and park consultant and a year extension to March 2013 for economic development consulting with Cindy LaGrow.
Carlile earns $14,500 annually and half of the single coverage health insurance benefit provided city employees, with 60-day termination notice.
He wrote the grant for the Russom Park project.
LaGrow’s $24,720 base contract stays the same, with incentives for successful grant writing, tax abatement processing for new equipment, brownfield plan approvals and filing environmental review materials.
New this year is a provision to reimburse up to $300, or about 10 percent, to attain or renew professional licenses and certifications.
LaGrow agrees not to compete with Dowagiac for two years after the agreement ends. She reports to Anderson “at least weekly,” typically Thursday.
“Cindy does a phenomenal job,” First Ward Councilwoman Lori Hunt said. “I don’t think a lot realize of the background work she does. She’s a catalyst for a lot of recent projects we’ve seen,” such as Premier Die-Cast.
City Planner Barb Bobik asked since LaGrow contracts with other communities, “Is there a conflict of interest? When business opportunities are brought to her, does she show favoritism to Watervliet or Coloma over Dowagiac?”
“There’s risk with any consultant,” Anderson said. “We monitor leads closely.”
Memorial Day parade set
Memorial Day parade and ceremonies are being planned by Masons of Peninsular Lodge 10, F&AM, for May 28.
“We anticipate the format, times and parade route to be similar to that of the past,” Chairman Jim Benedix said.