Council laying ground work for improved drainage, 2022 budget, new DPW employee
South Range Village Council, Feb. 3, 2022
EDITOR’S NOTE: While I maintain that a full video record is the gold standard of government reporting, the recording, editing, and posting of videos nearly triples the amount of time spent on meeting coverage. Because of this excessive demand on time and the other duties required of me to operate Copper Beacon, I’ll be discontinuing video coverage of Calumet and South Range village councils at this time. More traditional photo and text coverage will continue as possible.
The Village of South Range will have a public hearing at the March 3, 2022 meeting to hear comments on the 2022 Preliminary Budget.
Local businesses continue to struggle with staffing while new businesses open. Dollar General, just north of South Range on M-26, is now open. However, Campioni’s convenience store and gas station now close at 7 p.m. due to short staffing, according to Village President George Eakin. Eakin also stated that the Cozy Corner Bar & Grill has been sold and the new owners intend to reopen with less of a focus on alcohol sales, although they still maintain a license to serve.
The village’s 1986 Ford L8000 garbage truck sold for $2,000 to a buyer in the L’Anse area.
Councilors briefly addressed updating the rental ordinance, but again delayed addressing any particulars. Councilors said that beyond a general update, they’d like to address short-term rentals and some safety issues, if possible.
Councilors approved engineering work that will evaluate the cause of poor drainage on 4th, 5th, and 6th Streets in preparation for construction work to fix it.
Village Clerk Kristen Archambeau is assisting the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department by distributing free protective shields, gowns, and masks for people who want personal protective equipment to fight the spread of COVID-19. Those who want equipment can get it from the village office. Archambeau said to contact the office if they’d like the supplies to be run out to a waiting vehicle.
The village received about $153 in bonus ARPA funds because of municipalities that turned the funding down. The leftover funding was distributed to those who were approved for it.
The council agreed to post a vacancy in the village Department of Public Works, with Commercial Driver’s License Class B preferred. Because of the need for employees to be able to handle plows, graders, garbage trucks, and other equipment, the council has encouraged all of the DPW employees to attain their CDL.
Applications will be reviewed at a special meeting held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 24.
The council also approved a variety of wage increases for village employees. The president and treasurer received no increase, the clerk received a 1.5% wage increase and a $50 monthly cellphone stipend, two of the DPW employees received a 3% increase, and the remaining DPW employee received the same contingent on attaining their CDL, which they had previously agreed to do.
The council is also trying to extend a Portage Health Foundation grant that they received toward launching a community garden. The effort failed last year, but the council is hoping that this year, with fewer COVID-19 limitations, the effort can succeed.