Council approves housing development grant for downtown
The Tecumseh City Council unanimously approved the use of a state grant to help in the development of upper-floor housing in downtown Tecumseh at Monday’s meeting. The grant, $287,000, was awarded to Tecumseh in September from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). Dan Meikle will use $175,000 of the MSHDA grant while supplying $200,897 of his own money. It will go towards the development of five rental units at the James Block 1894 LLC building located at 112 W. Chicago Blvd. Money from the grant will be used first. The grant has terms that must be met, and the city has to guarantee those terms are being followed. Under the conditions of the grant, Meikle has to rent the apartments to low- to moderate-income renters. “We are, for lack of a better word, insuring the terms are being met,” said City Attorney Scott Baker. In essence, the city acts as a pass through of the MSHDA money to Meikle. Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch said the city is the mortgage holder, even though it is not responsible for any funding.“This is the way it’s done. There is no way around it,” said Welch. The process to receive MSHDA funds begins when the contractor submits a bill to be reimbursed. The consultant, city and state then have to sign off on the bill. The funds are then released to the city and reimbursed to the contractor. “It’s a rather tedious process,” said Paula Holtz, Tecumseh Economic Development Director.Baker said the agreement has a number of waivers in the documentation that releases the city from any financial liability. Council also approved the spending of $13,289.60 for protective floor covering from Humphrys Cover Sports in Philadelphia, Penn. at the A.J. Smith Recreation Center for the gymnasium floor. The purchase of the covering was a budgeted item at $18,000. Previously, the recreation center had been using the covering from Tecumseh Public Schools. However, that required the usage of a trailer and a four man crew to transport that covering. “It’s great they’ve been nice enough to share theirs with us; however, it is not a perfect solution,” said Tecumseh Cultural and Leisure Services Director Shelley Lim.This item was originally thought to be needed, said Welch. Council also went on to accept a bid from Midwest Power Systems Inc. for the Trestle Pipe Project, which is an exposed pipe at the city’s building plant. The passage of the resolution also allows the city treasure to amend the 2015 fiscal year budget. “It’s exposed to the elements and needs replaced,” said Welch. “There are actually holes in the top of it.” A grant helped with the cost associated with the design plans, but $289,000 will come from the Sewer Capital Reserve to fund the project, which wasn’t budgeted. The Sewer Capital Reserve had $593,936 available prior to council’s acceptance of the bid. Council also approved the signing of the five-year State Trunkline Maintenance Contract for Chicago Blvd. It is an existing contract the city has with the state to fund some maintenance performed on Chicago Blvd. like mowing, street sweeping and snow removal. “We do more than what we pay for, but that is by our own choice,” said Welch. “It is a source of revenue for the public works department and pays for part of the work we would probably do anyway.”In the City Manager’s Report, Welch made clarification that the cost to sell bonds, which is going before voters in November to fund road repairs, can come from the funds made available from the bond. However, city council has not made the decision yet. “The City Council could use the General Fund to pay this cost and use the full bond amount for road repairs,” the reported noted. In other business, council: • Approved the first reading amending ordinance No. 2-14, Chapter 82 – Utilities, by title only. The amendments to the ordinance are for clarification purposes. • Appointed Harold Ruhl to serve in a vacant seat on the Planning Commission, expiring in May 2016. • Adjourned into close session to consider the purchase of real property.