Moratorium modified on exterior boilersPublished 10:02pm Monday, September 24, 2012
Niles City Council Monday night modified a Feb. 14, 2011, moratorium prohibiting installation of biomass exterior boilers citywide to exclude industrial-zoned districts so it can save $13,200 burning wood.
The street division stockpiled wood from annual tree trimming in preparation for installation of such a boiler at its service building, saving $13,200 annually depending on future changes in natural gas prices.
City Administrator Ric Huff said this has become a common method of heating on the east side of the state due to the significant number of ash trees emerald ash borers destroyed.
“This destructive insect is now affecting trees in our area,” Huff said. “We will also be faced with significant amounts of wood to dispose of either by recycling as heat or paying a contractor to remove from the city.”
Council approved spending up to $26,000 for a boiler.
Paying the bills
• Niles outsourced producing utility bills to Cash Cycle Solutions (CCS) of Charlotte, N.C., effective Nov. 1.
Utility bills have been printed in-house and mailed by office staff on a weekly basis, which Finance Director/City Treasurer Sandra Naugle said is time-consuming and expensive to keep pace with software/hardware regulations for bulk mailing.
The $40,748 contract would save $6,806 immediately.
• A fulltime position can be eliminated in the future by not replacing a retiring employee for total annual savings exceeding $53,000.
• The city hired McKenna Associates of Kalamazoo to prepare the 11th Street corridor overlay zoning district. Once the zoning ordinance is revised, Niles can lift its June 11 moratorium on building permits.
• Council accepted a $7,200 quote from Migala Rug and Tile of St. Joseph for overstocked carpet at $9 a square yard to cover 800 square yards of floor space in the new city hall, 333 N. Second St.
• Council approved a $21,066, three-year contract — $7,022 annually — with low bidder M.A.A.C. Property Services of Niles for Chapin Mansion and street department grounds maintenance. M.A.A.C. has not increased its prices since 2006.
Council unanimously rejected an administrative recommendation for a three-year, $188,000 contract — $62,666 per year — to low bidder Simmons Tree and Lawn of Niles so Silverbrook Cemetery ground maintenance stays with Kaiser Landscaping of Stevensville for $192,780 after a personal appeal by Dan Kaiser.
“I have been the contractor for 16 years, and I hire local people,” Kaiser said. “I’ve donated sod cutters to the city. During the drought, when mowing was slow, we went down to the future city hall and cleaned that up. I’ve tried to give back and not just be a taker.”
“He’s correct,” said Councilman Tim Skalla. “There’s a lot to be said for experience.”
“Mr. Kaiser knows what he’s doing, and his people know what they’re doing,” Councilman Scott Clark said. “They do a good job for a reasonable price.”
Traffic light sought
Karen Vinnedge, R.N., reiterated her Sept. 17 request to Niles Charter Township Sept. 17 for a stoplight at South 11th and Fort streets.
Public Works Director Joe Ray said the last traffic study was conducted in 2004.
The centerline of Fort Street divides the city and township, according to Ray.
“The City of Niles receives all Act 51 money for the entire roadway, a local city street intersecting a state highway,” Ray said. “Signals are not decided by traffic volume, sad to say, but fatalities.”
A night out
Council approved a request by Downtown Development Authority/Niles Main Street and Niles District Library to conduct the 13th annual trick-or-treating and the 10th annual Halloween costume contest from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 27.
Tags: Niles City Council