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Grand Rapids Village Council Discusses Late Fees and Town Hall

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Around twenty Grand Rapids villagers watched as members of the Grand Rapids Village Council met Monday, June 13, for a regularly scheduled meeting at the old fire hall on Front Street. All members were present along with the mayor, fiscal officer, administrator, and one vacant council seat.

As bills from April 22 through May 5, in the amount of $22,424.02, and May 6 through June 9, in the amount $63,825.72, were motioned for a vote, Council Member Martha Frantz called a point of inquiry. Frantz asked if the village would be charged late fees due to the bills from April 22 through May 5 not being paid on time. Fiscal Officer Kristel Beyer stated that the majority of the bills do not charge fees. Beyer went on to say that the village was charged $70.19 from the companies that do charge the fees. According to Beyer, B.G. Wholesale Water waived their late fee which would have come to just under $1,800. Frantz stated the village can’t count on late fees continuing to be waived.

“The reason that they have not been paid seems to be a power struggle and I think it’s gone on long enough,” Frantz said to council.

A motion was then made to vote to pay the bills. Most of council voted “yes.” Council Person Lynn Sylvain voted “no.”

Sylvain stated, “Until you add receipts, no.”

Frantz then replied, “Voting ‘no’ puts it right back in the unpaid column and it seems to me as though if you really want to see the receipts all you have to do, in my estimation, is call Krystel, ask her for what you would like to see, give her time to get it together, and go and look them in the administration building so your curiosity can be satisfied and we can pay our bills.”

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Sylvain requested the receipts be posted on the Grand Rapids website for public viewing. Council President Rachel Smith stated the receipts would need to be heavily redacted due to account numbers and such. Sylvain replied she was looking for transparency. Council Person Jody Donsbach explained that the village is audited every two years by an independent auditor. Sylvain then mentioned the $70,000 payout to former administrator Chad Hoffman. A point of order was called and council moved on with the agenda.

A group representing the town hall committee spoke regarding future use of the historic structure that towers over Front Street in downtown Grand Rapids. The group stated that the town hall open house was a major success and well attended. Visitors donated a total of $171. The committee pointed out that they did not push for those donations. The group reported that visitors wrote down ideas for future use including lecture series, weddings, painting classes, yoga classes, parties, and other types of art classes. The committee stated that they are ready to put the building to use but were unsure of the next step. Council stated a structural assessment will need to be completed. Council President Smith said there had been a delay in approving the assessment due to lack of a full council, however the project has full support of council. Council then voted to approve hiring Larry Fast to complete a structural inspection on town hall at the cost of $4,000, plus the cost of the lift. The motion passed with full support of council.

Council remains short one member due to the recent resignation of Bob Krabill. Previously, Towpath Media reported council had until June 8 to fill the position. Due to the missed deadline, Mayor John Berry will make the appointment. The mayor stated he has several applications and should be making the appointment by the next meeting on June 27.

Other business:

Council voted unanimously to approve spending $1,915 with Toledo Sign Company on a new sign for in front of the administration building in Sycamore.

Council voted to approve spending $38,966.97 with Premier Patching for crack sealing and spray patching on village streets. The majority of council voted to approve with one “no” vote from Lynn Sylvain.

Village council meetings are held the second and fourth Monday at the old fire station on Front Street in Grand Rapids. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.

4th of July is coming up, so get the proper shirt! Your friends will be asking where you got it!

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