The Ostrander Economic Development Authority board met on May 2 at 5:30 p.m. Members present were Merton Root, Christine Hyrkas, Pam Kunert, Pat Nesler, and Harlan Mensink. The board was updated on the current repayment schedules. Mensink announced his intention to resign from the board. Board members then discussed the membership expectations. Mensink read that there are to be three, five or seven members, and all are to serve a six-year term. He added, “It’s got to be a member of the community.” Hyrkas will send out letters to seek persons interested in joining the EDA.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the Ostrander City Council met in regular session with all members present: Erin Volkart, Pam Kunert, Mayor Pat Nesler, Clerk Chris Hyrkas, Heidi Jones, and DJ Start. Police Chief Tom Mosher gave his monthly report, including the recent trapping and releasing (with help from Dustin Tart) of three skunks that had become a nuisance in the city. Mosher explained that after a skunk is trapped, he covers the trap with a bedsheet during transport, until the skunk is released in the country. But he said it was so windy earlier this week that the sheet fluttered around and startled the skunk, which then sprayed. Mosher said he has changed all of his uniform except his equipment belt, but a notable scent remains. Council members said they noticed! Mosher also asked the city to consider buying a trap specifically designed for trapping skunks, which he said is a solid-walled tube, which prevents the skunk from lifting its tail. He explained, “If a skunk can’t lift its tail, it can’t spray.” The council agreed to buy a skunk trap, for approximately $60. Mosher also informed the council that all of the 16 vehicles he had followed up on regarding expired tabs are now currently licensed or have been removed from the city.
The council heard from Margaret Wierson and Mary Anderson on behalf of the Lions Club. They presented a check for $750. DJ Start accepted the check, saying, “Thank you very much; it’s very appreciated.” Wierson also asked about Section 116.14 of the city’s code, pertaining to lawful gambling, which states in part, “Each organization licensed to conduct gambling within the city shall expend 35% of its lawful purpose expenditures on lawful purposes conducted within the city’s trade area.” Hyrkas assured them that this is being followed by all applicable groups, with donations generally equally split between police/firefighter/first responders funds.
Jennifer Gumbel addressed the council on behalf of a group of residents of the Leroy-Ostrander district. She explained there’s an opportunity to apply for funding through the Rural Childcare Innovation Program. She explained such funding could help find out exactly how much need there is in the local area for licensed daycare, and she stated, “I’m really excited about this opportunity, but it’s super competitive.” She asked the council to consider passing a resolution in support of the group’s application for funding, to help set their application out from the competition. The council voted unanimously to pass the resolution as requested.
The council discussed a request from a local business owner to consider lowering the “water base rate” for the business, since the water usage is similar to most households. Hyrkas had forwarded the question to Mike Bubany and Brian Malm for their thoughts. The consensus was that the city should consider establishing a policy on this, but with the awareness that if base rates are lowered, the city would need to adjust the “usage rate” upward to cover the costs. They also pointed out the city would need a standardized system of what “look-back” period would be used to determine current rates. No action was taken at this time.
The council voted to pay a $68,000 invoice from Bolton & Menk for the design phase of the infrastructure project. Jones stated, “I wish they’d give us more detail” regarding what costs went into the invoice total. Council members agreed they’d like more detail in the future, and will ask Bolton & Menk to supply more information with the invoices. Hyrkas stated that she’s been looking into the possibility of reestablishing a Meals on Wheels program in town. The next regular meeting of the council will be Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.