Cassopolis Village Council hires Wightman and Associates

Published 9:42 am Friday, June 12, 2015

Cassopolis Village Council members voted to hire Wightman and Associates for $28,000 to apply for a USDA grant to fund the renovation of seven village lift stations at its regular meeting Monday night.

If awarded, the grant would cover up to 40 percent of the project, which is expected to cost more than $1 million, and the village would be able to get low-interest loans for the remainder of the bill.

Several village lift stations are in desperate need of repair, according to village officials.

Lift station three, which malfunctioned during a storm June 1, could cost $5,000 to fix.

Members also discussed the new zoning ordinance, which they hope to have codified soon. The ordinance would allow for better enforcement of village policies. Currently there is difficulty enforcing policies such as keeping grass mowed and buildings maintained, particularly with landlords of rental properties. The new ordinance would provide a better structure to fine people for incompliance and to take legal action for outstanding citations.

Also at the meeting, the council:

• Approved the 2015-2016 fiscal budget. No money is allotted for contingencies because of the tight budget. “We are at a dire point where we have to be very proactive about our spending,” Cynthia Jackson-Ash said. “If we don’t need something, don’t buy it. Maybe we should cut back on some hours or not do some projects.”

• Declined a motion to purchase property on O’Keefe Street for a village welcome sign.

• Passed Resolution 2015-06, which established the 2015 operating millage at 16.725 mills for the summer tax bill — a rate set by Cass County.

• Agreed to close Hardings Street from 5 to 9 p.m. June 26 for Word of Life Family Worship Center’s street party

• Jackson-Ash announced that there are still three half-hour time slots open for singers at the gospel festival during Sidewalk Days July 11. Interested persons should contact her. Craft booths are also available to rent for $20.