Edwardsburg Village Council discusses master plan, library plans

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

EDWARDSBURG — A future master plan as well as a first look at the plans for the village’s new library were among the topics addressed by the Edwardsburg Village Council Monday evening.  

Council President Dennis Peak reported that a joint master plan would be in the works, in partnership with Ontwa Township. As part of a plan, a parks and recreational committee would be formed. This would be required for a grant for a planned path at Elkhart Road and would also foster collaboration between the township and village for other park projects. The council appointed Peak and Trustee Laura Hughes to join the committee. Peak also noted that a separate citizen parks and recreation group was being formed.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, concerns were raised about a recent reported increase in semi-truck traffic on Section Street. While village staff noted that the occasional authorizations were given for village vehicles, the complaints referred to what seem to be commercial traffic, which is prohibited. The council responded that they would follow up with the chief of police, potentially asking for more patrols in the area.

Two public hearings were also offered, one regarding Special Assessments for unpaid sewer assessments that would be rolled onto tax bills and one for the Truth in Taxation, which is required to stop the yearly Headlee reduction in the millage. Without this council action, the village would face a decrease in funds. There were no public commenters on either issue. Later in the meeting, an approval to maintain the current millage level was passed unanimously.

The newest library plans were reported, showing the new building would be nine thousand square feet, three times larger than the current library. Contractor Abonmarche was chosen for the work, which would be designed to place the building and amenities, including walking paths, around trees 18 inches or larger, in order to maintain the aesthetic of the property. Cost estimates may be available as soon as next week.

The council approved the purchase of a new front end loader, which has been in discussion for a few months. The chosen loader would employ a telescopic function that would allow the village to reduce use of contractors for certain work, including tree trimming and hanging holiday decorations. It would also allow the city to trade or sell the old loader. The cost of the unit would be just under $168,000, with the village making no interest payments once a year for just over three years.

The council passed Resolution 2023-02, which would allow the village to continue to collect overdue taxes. Normally, delinquent taxes were sent to Cass County, where citizens would have to go for payment. This would also allow the village to keep penalties and interest earned from delinquent taxes, instead of the county.

The council approved a variety of financial reports and expenses, noting two larger than normal expenses, including a payment on bond principal and interest for $145,500 and the payment of $11,807.83 toward a new police department car. The expense of the car is shared with Ontwa Township. Street Administrator Terry Bidwell reported an unexpected award of $17,000 from a class action lawsuit against Monsanto. He asked the council for funds up to $8,000 to flush and then run a camera through storm drains on Cass Street in order to identify an impediment and verify the condition of the drains.

The upcoming Planning Commission meeting was moved to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 23rd, in order to avoid conflicting with the Memorial Day holiday. The next Village Council board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, June 19.