Cassopolis named finalist in Michigan Municipal League contest

Published 11:01 am Tuesday, June 28, 2022

CASSOPOLIS — At a special meeting Monday night, the Cassopolis Village Council approved a pair of agenda items and learned that it has been named a finalist in a Michigan Municipalities League contest.
In new business, the council approved a Uniform Guidance for Federal Grants and Uniform Guidance for Liens. Both were approved unanimously. Village President David Johnson was not in attendance at the meeting.
The Uniform Guidance for Federal Grant says that once a municipality or non-federal entity receives over $750,000 of federal money in on fiscal year, they are subject to additional regulations from the government, according to Cassopolis Village Clerk Tonia Betty.
“This is the policies and procedures for when that happens regarding our financial systems, payments, procurement, etc.,” she said.
The Uniform Guidance for Liens [Law Enforcement Information Network] is for the police department and is for policies and procedures for being a part of the network.
“It includes how to safeguard the personal information that is reviewed and who is responsible for what items,” Betty said.
Before giving her updates, Cassopolis Village Manager Emilie LaGrow announced to the council that Cassopolis was named a finalist in the MML Community Excellence Awards, which will be decided at the MML Convention in Muskegon in October.
Cassopolis had to put together an entry by May 13 that highlighted local success stories and best practices, as well as share innovative community programs or projects.
LaGrow said the entry was based on the community’s Imagine Cass project that has revitalized the downtown area, added a beach and a pier, as well as other projects.
A small voting board for the MML selected four finalists, of which Cassopolis was one of them. The others were Farmington Hills, Traverse City and Royal Oak.
The final part of the competition will take place at the annual conference. Cassopolis will need to create a video representing their project on the main stage and then market their projects at a booth, where it will try to convince people to vote for the village to win the award.
All of the final voting will take place at the conference.
“We went up against some pretty heavy hitters, communities that had a lot of money and a lot of resources,” LaGrow said. “Who hired firms to this package together that we did in-house. Our team — Alexis [O’Flynn], Tonia and Ben [Anderson] spent hours and hours on this project.”
The council also received an update from Ted Gogel, of the Stone Lake Improvement Board on the 2022 treatment of Stone Lake to control invasive species.
The lake undergoes a two-step approach — a chemical treatment, which is used sparingly, mainly to kill invasive species that cannot be mechanically harvested, which is the second step in the process.
The treatments, which began in 2017, have proven successful. Gogel said that two more inspections of the lake will take place later this year to evaluate the progress of the treatments.
In other business:
• LaGrow updated the council that the village, after reviewing its Unum Policy [insurance] that it would be switching providers to Mutual of Omaha, which would save the village money.
• LaGrow said that a new artist has been selected to complete the mural on the retaining wall behind The Twirl that faces the beach.
• LaGrow updated the council that Phase 2 of Stone Lake Beach was in the early planning stages but moving forward.