City makes decisions on library improvements and water rates
ISHPEMING — The approval of a bid to make improvements to the main entrance of the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library was met with a bit of resistance, and plans moved forward to fix the city’s leaky pipes this morning.
Three fifths of the Ishpeming City Council voted in favor of awarding the job of restoring the library’s columns and entrance structure to the sole bidder, A & F Construction. Mayor Mike Tonkin was in opposition, expressing concern about the high price — around $27,000 — which would be paid using the library’s special donation fund.
“I don’t like to see us spend money that people have given in good faith to this project,” said Tonkin. “Yes, there’s money in that fund, but there’s also at least another $100,000 or $200,000 worth of work to be done on the exterior of the library. So every $10,000 you save is another wall that could be tuckpointed or whatever else you want to have done to it.”
The city also approved a revised water fund deficit elimination plan. That plan proposes an increase in water rates by up to 35 percent in 2017. Council members expressed distaste for the increase, but agreed that it was necessary, as eliminating the fund deficit is a requirement for securing the USDA loans necessary to fund the renovation of the city’s ailing water system.
“To me it’s completely disgusting to have to beat up the customer that way,” said Councilman Mike Tall. “I’m not in favor of this, but they’ve got us backed into a corner.”
Another meeting will be held in the near future to talk more about rate increases, including how they will be distributed between the base rate and the consumption rate.