Baraga to discuss past due rental bills

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette Baraga Village Manager LeAnn LeClaire, left, council members Nick Lozier and Sandra Johnson, President Wendell Dompier, Anthony Mayo and Paul Mayo discuss business at Tuesday's meeting.

BARAGA — The Baraga Village Council will conduct a special meeting next week to discuss the budget and ongoing issues with past due bills on rental properties.

“People are leaving without paying bills,” Village Manager LeAnn LeClaire told the council Tuesday, or just not paying water bills during the winter when shut-offs could cause pipes to freeze. The village spends a significant amount of time handling the problems.

“If you shut them off (at other times of the year), they leave,” she said, explaining unresolved past-due accounts.

“We do have a problem,” Village President Wendell Dompier agreed. “The bills just keep going and going and going.”

The village hopes to resolve the matter at an upcoming budget meeting.

Landlords and renters are invited to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the village office, about which LeClaire will send out letters.

The village will also inform the community about its intention to borrow up to $2.1 million to issue revenue bonds to fund planned water supply system improvements.

“We have provided for a reasonable cushion in the ‘not to exceed’ borrowing amount above the current loan estimate of $1,901,000,” wrote Steven D. Mann from downstate legal firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone in a letter last month. “This is customary and provides a safeguard in the event the project scope is adjusted or final bid costs are higher than anticipated.”

If 10 percent of voters or more ask for a referendum during a 45-day public comment period to be announced in the L’Anse Sentinel, the issue would be put before voters.

In other news, Police Chief Irv Smith reported two arrests, 31 complaints, 370 property checks and mileage of 1,444 during 334 man hours in January.

“It was pretty slow,” Smith added.

In other action, the council paid OHM $5,254 in sewer and water grant costs, donated $500 to the Baraga Senior Class Lock-In and appointed Baraga resident Will Wiggins to the Joint Wastewater Authority.