October 25, 2014

Omer submits 2-percent grant proposals

Prepares for library bathroom work, road patching

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com

Posted

OMER — The Omer City Council approved submitting four grant proposals to be considered for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s 2-percent gaming revenue grants at the council’s meeting Sept. 25.

The city has put in for a new lawnmowing tractor, money to help finance repairs on South Michigan Avenue, money for a new playground, and funds to help pay off the city’s water plant debt more quickly.

The council needed to prioritize their proposals, even though Mayor Alice Sproule said it does not have an impact on what projects the tribe selects.

According to Sproule, the lawnmower grant request is about $7,500, the playground equipment is for about $20,000, and the water debt request is for $25,000.

“The (water debt) is not an emergency,” Sproule said. “We have no problem paying it off, it will just take a while.”

The city ordered the requests with the lawnmower taking highest priority, followed by the playground, the road repairs, and finally the water debt.

The city is also applying for an estimated $26,250 grant for South Michigan Avenue work, roughly 50 percent of the total cost of work on the road. Councilman Larry Daly said the city has already paid $6,000 on it.

Sproule said if the bridge along US-23 over the Rifle River is shut down for maintenance, traffic would likely be detoured down South Michigan to Arenac-State Road. As a result, she believes it is important to get the road repaired.

The grants are due by the end of the month, and the tribal council will select which projects get approved across Arenac County for the fall distribution, which usually occurs in December.

Councilman Robin Berry also reported that work should be underway within days on the women’s restroom at the Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library. The total cost is expected to be about $9,726.

Of that, $5,000 comes from a grant through the Iosco-Arenac District Library, while another $3,000 was put aside in the city’s library fund for renovations. The renovations will make the bathroom handicapped accessible, with two stalls and two sinks.

The council also approved crack filling along North Main Street. According to City Clerk Sue Oliver, cracks will be filled in along North Main, from Greg’s Market to City Limits Road, with additional work being done around Ye Olde Courthouse.

The total cost of the crack filling is estimated to be $8,322, according to Daly.

“Those cracks in the asphalt need to be filled in with tar,” Daly said. “There is grass growing in there and if we let it go it could split up the road.”

Main Street is part of the Arenac County Road Commission’s five-year plan for road maintenance, and Daly said filling in the cracks should keep the road together until its time comes on that plan.

Funding for the Main Street work comes from the city’s major roads fund, and Councilman Berry said it should leave $41,000 remaining in the fund for other projects.

Oliver said money in the major road fund can’t be used for roads designated as local; those have a separate account. Under a state mandate, money cannot be transferred between accounts, she said. South Michigan Avenue is designated a local road, so the money in the major road fund cannot be used to work on it.

The crack filling is scheduled to be done along with other crack filling the county road commission is doing throughout the county.

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