Economic Development Commission approval begins

Swanton Village Council launched the approval process for a new Economic Development Commission in the village last week. The first reading of an ordinance establishing the commission was unanimously approved by the Council.

The tasks of the commission would include making recommendations on matters relating to the enhancement of sound economic growth and business development in the village, examining opportunities to foster an attractive business climate, recommending additional steps and measures to promote economic growth and cooperation with elected officials and staff to achieve appropriate goals and objectives related to sound business practices and better employment opportunities.

Mayor Neil Toeppe said the commission received a letter of support from Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership, and Matt Gilroy, executive director of the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation.

“If we can put together a story about the village, the spaces and places, where our opportunities are, where our resources are, we will have partners with whom we can share this information and who can tell our story. But if we don’t have a story to tell, neither do they.

The mayor would appoint three members of the commission. Additional members could be appointed by the mayor on an ad hoc basis depending on the needs of the commission. In addition, a Council member may be appointed for a one-year term.

The committee will consist of a maximum of five members.

Mike Jay, the vice president of the Regional Growth Partnership for Development, spoke ahead of the meeting, as did John Schmidt who had previously collected signatures in a bid to secure an economic development commission in the village.

Also at the meeting, Council approved the request for financial assistance for the improvement of Munson Road. Tim Brock of Poggemeyer Design Group recommended seeking funding for Munson Road instead of funding for Crestwood Drive, as Crestwood was not selected twice for funding.

“I have no problem applying for a grant. Munson Road which feeds the high school. So we would have traffic there,” said David Pilliod.

On the recommendation of the water and sewer committee, the council voted to reduce Foertmeyer & Sons’ monthly stormwater surcharge to $75 per month from $289.04. Foertmeyer & Sons submitted an engineering study to the village which showed that the property’s stormwater flows primarily into the Ai stream and not into the storm sewer.

The village is also working to resolve some issues with street names in the village. For example Forrester Drive is sometimes spelled with an R and sometimes two. Also, Lincoln Avenue is sometimes referred to as Lincoln Street.

Final patches will be approved later.

At the finance committee meeting, CFO Jason Vasko suggested increasing the salaries of village employees. He wasn’t looking for a yes or no answer from the Council members, but wanted to get a sense of the Council’s thoughts.

“My intention is not to destroy the budget that we have or to spend all our money,” Vasko said. “But one of the things that seems to be causing a lot of turnover in the village is our pay rates.”

The idea is to get a salary more in line with what Lucas County municipalities pay.

“We will have a better chance of keeping these people employed in the village and not taking a fire class and running away or working a year or two to get a water plant permit and move somewhere where they can get paid $5-7 more per hour.”

Councilor Dianne Westhoven said she had a whole list of questions related to a possible increase. “One of the things I was questioning was forecasting. How is it going to happen if we grant these increases. And that was quite significant,” she said.

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