City Council pondering $50,000 donation to veterans monument effort

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles City Council and city officials are pondering a donation in the neighborhood of $50,000 to the effort to construct a monument honoring Niles' veterans.
Fourth Ward Councilmember Scott Clark at Monday's City Council meeting, proposed a motion, which was supported by Fourth Ward Councilmember Bruce Williams, to make the donation to the group raising private funds to construct the monument.
That effort, in total, is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $100,000.
The City Council, prior to the beginning of the group's fundraising effort, approved earmarking a portion of city-owned property at Riverfront Park in the area between the promenade and the amphitheater on which to locate the monument.
Clark said the group has raised about $40,000 in private donations, and he said it's time the city put in its share. His motion called for donating $25,000 from the current city fiscal budget and $25,000 from next year's budget.
However, the effort hit a snag when First Ward Councilmember Patricia Gallagher questioned from where the funds for the donation could come.
And, Third Ward Councilmember Robert Chute asked whether such a donation of city funds to a private project is even legal.
Robert Landgraf of Hadsell, Landgraf, Lynch and Drew of Niles, the city's attorney, indicated to City Administrator Terry Eull that the city's general fund coffers cannot be spent as a donation on a private project like the monument effort.
Niles Mayor Mike McCauslin questioned whether such a donation, even if its found to be something the council can make legally, would set a costly precedent.
Clark agreed to withdraw his motion in order for Eull and Landgraf to study the issue and identify potential funding sources.
Eull said Thursday afternoon that city funds from the water and sewer fund also can't be used for the project.
That leaves the city's electric division.
Should money from the electric division be considered, Eull said proper procedure would be to seek a recommendation from its citizen advisory board first.

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Union High School closes for three days due to COVID-19

Cassopolis

Resolution to ask Cassopolis Board of Education member to resign fails

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary donates to Rotary Villa Apartments’ trunk or treat efforts

Cass County

Accessory to 2019 Cass County Courts bomb threat sentenced to prison

Buchanan

Local DAR chapter donates to second-grade classroom

Buchanan

Buchanan event inviting community to partake in traditional practice of peace, hope

Cass County

Cass County law enforcement agencies host Halloween with a Cop event

News

Niles City Clerk offers voting advice

Dowagiac

Dowagiac residents finding creative ways to have fun, safe Halloween

Dowagiac

Dowagiac restaurant manager fired following criminal sexual conduct arrest

Berrien County

MDHHS extends emergency orders

Cassopolis

Cassopolis opens new municipal complex

Edwardsburg

Duo Form donates face shields to Edwardsburg Fire Department

Edwardsburg

PHOTO STORY: Community celebrates Edwardsburg firefighter with parade

Berrien County

Berrien County health professionals warn residents to remain vigilant

News

South Bend Police Department seeking information regarding missing Niles man

Cass County

DASAS welcomes new executive director

Business

Cass County businesses struggle amid increase in COVID-19 cases

News

MDHHS adds testing requirements for homes for the aged, large adult foster care facilities

Berrien County

Two injured at Old U.S. 31 and Ullery

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports additional COVID-19 death

Dowagiac

Dowagiac restaurateur arrested on criminal sexual conduct charges

Buchanan

Bike Buchanan pedals last ride of season

Buchanan

Caring Circle Services relocating to Niles