2010-04-10 / Top News

City Faced With More Costs at Rowe Condominium It Wants To Sell

By Karen Gould

About $36,000 in additional landscaping charges at Rowe Condominiums will cost the city about $6,107.55 more than expected for its share of the project. The city owns one of the six units in the complex. The city's total bill for the landscaping comes to $21,407.55, and it was reluctantly approved during the city council's meeting Wednesday, April 7.

In addition to the $6,107.55 charge, the new amount includes the original $15,000 project estimate and $300 in interest expense after payment was delayed as the city hoped to sell its unit.

The bill would have been even higher, but the association dipped into its savings account and deducted $1,000 from each condominium owner's bill to defray some of the dray and delivery charges incurred to do the landscape work, said Kelly Bean, assistant to Mayor Margaret Doud. Otherwise, she said, the bill to the city would have been $22,407.55.

Council members said they had no option but to pay the charge. The landscaping work originally was estimated at $15,000 for each of the six units.

“I don't suppose we have a real choice,” said Alderman Mike Hart.

Added Alderman Armin Porter, “That's $21,000 we'll never see.”

He also asked for an accounting of the expenses.

The city owns one of six units in the complex with all units sharing the cost of the landscape work done by Barnwell Landscape & Garden Services, with the total cost for the project estimated at more than $128,000. A wider drive to give access to drays and taxis was one part of the project at the Church Street complex.

At one time, the city owned units one and two, which were used for police housing. In 2006, both condominiums were offered as a package to interested buyers. Later, the city marketed them separately and sold unit two in 2007.

The remaining condo is listed for $289,900, said Ms. Bean, fielding a question from Alderman Frank Bloswick.

“We're asking too much for it,” replied Mr. Bloswick. “It just cost us a lot of money.”

Ms. Bean said Bill Borst and Jim Smith of Mackinac Island Reality, which lists the unit, suggested the price remain as is to allow those interested to make an offer.

Last fall, the city had the unit assessed when resident Margaret McIntire offered to trade it for a home she owned in Harrisonville. Then, city accessor Joe Stakoe valued the condominium at $248,000. The city subsequently declined the housing trade.

In other business at the meeting, the council eliminated the summer greeters program and will spend the payroll savings on a seasonal police officer and part-time weekend dispatcher. The revenue to pay the positions comes from 50¢ tourist bicycle license fees, which are collected by ferry boat lines. The boat lines also make 50¢ for selling the licenses.

Last year, the city received $33,939 from the license fee. This year, estimating a 15% drop in traffic, the city anticipates making $28,750.

During a Public Safety meeting Tuesday, April 6, seasonal policeman Byran Gipson was authorized to be rehired. He will begin work Monday, April 12, to help cover patrols while officer Andy Dziobak is on vacation.

To consider a request from Wawashkamo Golf Club to exceed maximum weight limits on roads to take delivery of sand, Mayor Doud called for a meeting to be set up with representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Mackinac Island State Park, Department of Public Works, Street Committee, and city engineer Dennis Dombroski. In a letter to the city, Wawashkamo President Steve Rilenge said the club is asking the city for help in finding a way to deliver the sand it needs in a less costly way. The club uses 45 tons of sand each year to fill sand traps and for top dressing on greens.

City officers also want to meet with representatives from MICOM of Montague, the city's cable provider, before making a decision on its request for a yeararound vehicle permit. Company representatives were unable to attend Wednesday's meeting.

Council supported the work of Lansing attorney Tom Waters, who has been researching the purchase of Edison Sault by Cloverland Electric. No rate increase is proposed, said Mayor Doud, and there are mechanisms in place for the city to protest any increase that might be considered by the company.

“Just to be clear, however, Cloverland and Edison Sault have not proposed a rate increase at this time,” read Mayor Doud from the letter. “Both Cloverland's and Edison's rates will remain as they are today, until the Michigan Public Service Commission approves a rate increase in a subsequently filed general rate proceeding. The City of Mackinac Island may participate in the general rate proceeding and may raise concerns with a proposed rate increase before any such rate increase would talk effect.”

Council agreed to pay more than $1,300 for gutters for St. Martin's Place. The former medical center building is being remodeled to house police officers.

A payment of $19,701.18 to cover salary and wages due to firefighters from October 1, 2009 through March 31, of this year was approved, and, in a related matter, the city will purchase one firefighter jacket and two pairs of firefighting boots for $1,405.93.

To meet a state code requirement, the city will spend $2,400 to install guards on elevator doors at Community Hall, Court House, and the Stuart House Museum.

Council approved holding a joint meeting with the Board of Public Works at noon Friday, April 30.

City Clerk Karen Lennard was directed by council to execute resolutions for Grand Hotel submitted by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The hotel is seeking to transfer ownership from Grand Hotel Holding Company to Grand Hotel LLC.

Council approved two temporary motor vehicle permits. A dumpster will be delivered to Mission Point from the Beaver Dock. Generator maintenance work will be performed using a utility truck at Grand Hotel, Iroquois Hotel, the Medical Center, and the Department of Public Works.

Five temporary trailer permits were approved. A trailer will be used to deliver golf course equipment to Grand Hotel. Seasonal goods will be delivered by trailer to Haan's 1830 Inn. A trailer was used by the Michigan Department of Transportation to repair manhole covers. A lift was used by Native Painting and Barnwell Landscape.

Council's next regular meeting is Wednesday, April 21, at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Community Hall.

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