Video footage provided courtesy of Warren Johnson. See more on his YouTube channel, Van Buren County TODAY.
Meetings of the Clinton City Council are held the 2nd Thursday of every month at the Clinton Municipal Airport off Hwy 16 East. The public and all press & media are invited to attend. The heads of the municipal departments (Airport, Animal Control, Advertising & Promotion, Fire, Parks & Streets, Police, Water, & Zoning, Advertising & Promotion/Economic Development) present monthly reports. Mayor Richard McCormac presides and members of the City Council consider old/new business with budget and ordinance discussions.
Summary provided by Warren Johnson
At Thursday’s regular City Council meeting, Clinton Mayor Richard McCormac stated, The year 2020 has been rotten in so many ways. However, our location to Highway 65 has helped our city tremendously, saying our city sales tax does not appear to have suffered at all. He said the city has a bond that will come to fruition early in the year, which will add about $25,000 per month back into the general fund.
He said, ” The water department is now solvent, and the city received $103,000 back in Cares Act money. “
McCormac indicated the federal minimum wage would increase to $11 per hour for 2021. He said we are financially able to give all of our city employees a dollar and hour raise, adding one year, there were no pay raises given. ” I am very confident in the production we are going to have with our Street and Water departments. I think we have an excellent crew.”
McCormac said, “I think our City Council is excellent and solid. Every one of you is honest. If you like something or don’t, you will let me know. As will most of the people in this room. That is how good government works.” He said, “I am comfortable with the budgets presented for the City of Clinton and the water and sewer departments. “
He continued, “You six people control all of the money for the city, and we all understand that. That’s why you are in these positions.”
McCormac praised City Treasurer Dena Malone. “Dena did a phenomenal job helping us with the budget. She is frugal. It helps to have someone like her who will make us prove why we need something. ” He said, “When it comes time for audits, it is a good thing.”
The councilors approved the budget for 2021.
Reports from other departments at the December 10th meeting included:
Animal control: For November, Officer Tim Pike took eight calls stating he had picked up two dogs and one cat.
The animal shelter is currently providing lodging for sixteen dogs and nine cats. In January, SNYP will transport seven dogs to other states.
Fire Department: Chief DL Webb stated the fire department has been busy this month. He said there had been a couple of grass fires and a couple of accidents to work.
Webb said the Covid-19 numbers are rapidly rising in the county. He told the group the South Side school has transitioned into virtual learning, and Clinton will remain in virtual learning through the end of the semester.
Parks Department: Charles Wilson said he was happy with the turnout for the lighting at Christmas at the Park. He wants the public to know they can view the lights from 5:30 until 9:30 each evening, and by tuning to 88.1 on their F.M. dial, they can experience a Christmas light and music extravaganza. Wilson said the city crews are once again picking up brush but request the piles be kept to a 4X4 minimum so they can make their way around to more homes in the city. He said if everyone cooperates, his crews can run the route twice monthly and get around to everyone.
Police Department: Chief of police Jay Murdock said the department had twenty-three incident reports and worked eight accidents, with four of them occurring on highway 65 in November.
He said they had fifty-five calls for service and ten motorist assist. The P.D. issued forty-three traffic citations with one felony charge.
Murdock said the department is collecting coats for kids, having already collected fifty coats. He said anyone wanting to donate coats could drop them at the police station in Clinton.
The police department is just in the collection business, adding, “we are partnering with the Clinton Schools, Bright Futures program, which will be handling the distribution.”
Water department: Will Hinchey said the department’s water loss has dropped to thirty percent in November. Water losses have been over fifty percent in the past.
Hinchey stated the department has almost completed its auto-read meter project. Hinchey said, ” If the customers have an issue getting the Eye on Water app to work, please call the office, and the staff will assist. Instructions are available on the water department’s Facebook page and will soon be on our website.”
Zoning Department: Zoning official Tim Clark told the councilors that Steve Landers has purchased the billboard near Main Street Park. Landers proposes to remove the current billboard and replace it with a single-pole digital billboard. Clark said the south-facing side would be static, and the images will not change. The north-facing side will be able to display different images.
The zoning commission submitted a proposal for the project to move forward. The council voted unanimously to approve.
In new business, the council approved Christmas bonuses for city employees full-time receiving $150 and part-time receiving $75.