The Pine River City Council will reduce city employees' hours as a cost-savings measure, effective June 1 through January.
City employees will reduce their hours worked by one hour per week resulting in a savings to the city of $5,915 over the seven-month period.
Employees are each asked to use five unpaid furlough days as well.
The council's action is in response to looming local government aid cuts and in delinquent taxes and fees owed to the city.
Currently $33,961 is owed to the City of Pine River, Cass County and Pine River Area Sanitary District in residential back taxes and delinquent water/sewer fees.
And $60,221 is owed in commercial back taxes and fees to those entities.
The city will send letters to delinquent accounts explaining that the city and county need the funds and would like the individuals to pay their back taxes or at least set up a payment plan to do so.
"It gets tougher every month, I'm not looking forward to budget time," said Mayor Jim Sabas.
In other city matters:
The council approved waiving a transient merchant license for the Pine River Market Square in exchange for a sponsorship which includes listing the city on the market's Web site, displaying the city's name along with other sponsors at the market, and mention in paid advertisements and press releases related to the market. The market will also display Ride With Us city bus brochures at the Community Booth on site.
Audit report approved
The council approved the audit report. Auditor Judy Moravec reported that the city is in good financial condition and complies with all required legal provisions.
Police department news
Police Chief Josh Ebert reported that the squad car the city purchased has been repainted and the graphics completed. The sheriff's department donated in-car mobile vision cameras and a radio.
Ebert reported that he's discussed with city residents along Third Street the possibility of designating a portion of that street as a one-way in order to improve safety for students walking to and from the school. Residents may attend the planning meeting at 6 p.m. on May 25 at city hall for more discussion.
The council also voted to add five more individuals to the Pine River Volunteer Police Reserve.
Revolving loan policy to be discussed
City councilors will meet with representatives from the Pine River Area Economic Development Group to discuss revitalization of a revolving loan committee and a revolving loan policy.
Legion to host
All-Class Reunion dance
An All-Class Reunion dance will be held at the Pine River Legion during Summerfest on Friday, June 26. The council approved extending the legion's liquor license to cover the event - including allowing an outside tent serving alcohol to those 21 years or older.
Improvements planned at
Norway Brook Apartments
Alice Taylor from the Pine River Housing and Redevelopment Authority reported that they are going to begin Phase I improvements at Norway Brook Apartments following a bidding period. The project includes selective demolition, miscellaneous concrete walks repair, low retaining walls, lawn sprinkler system, a marine dock, site furnishings, metal entry canopy and miscellaneous electrical.
Fire Dept. liquor license
approved for Summerfest
The council approved a beer license for the Pine River Fire Department from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, June 25, and for blocks of time on Saturday and Sunday, June 26-27, during Summerfest. The council said that individuals must be 21 years or older to participate in the firemen's street dance fundraiser held Saturday night.
Attorney Ted Lundrigan reported that a collection complaint has been served on Sue Stroinski, former Pine River Pantry owner, for unpaid city revolving loan funds.
Meeting date changed
The council voted to change their August meeting date from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12. The primary is Aug. 10 and with the meeting held on Aug. 12 they can canvas the election results at their regular meeting and save the expense of having a special meeting.
The council approved an agreement with S.E.H. for future engineering services.
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