Erickson named to housing commission

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette Ontonagon Village Council member Don Chastain addresses the Village Housing Commission on the board absentee bylaw.

ONTONAGON — After a year of issues between the village and the Ontonagon Village Housing Commission (OVHC), the village Council appointed Village Manager Joe Erickson to the board.

Erickson attended his first meeting as an OVHC Board member on Monday. Village Council Members Don Chastain and Tony Smydra also attended the meeting.

During public comment period, Chastain questioned the board’s absentee bylaw. He said according to the bylaw, a board member is not to miss more than four meetings during a fiscal year.

Smydra also brought this issue up, along with other issues, during the public comment.

OHVC President Pam Cooey missed her second straight meeting, so the meeting was led by vice president Richard Ernest.

Ernest led an extensive discussion dealing with flooring replacement in the apartments.

“The flooring issue has come up many times by tenants and fellow commissioners,” Ernest said. “I think the material that is in is a quality product. Average cost is $1,800 per unit. Two bedroom runs about $1,000 more. Having been a contractor and having done the flooring here about 8 to 10 years ago, vinyl and carpet was half the price of what we are doing now. I personally don’t have a problem with this, but I think this should be discussed.”

Commissioner Dot Phillips stated her preference for carpeting.

“Vinyl is cold, and can be dangerous to a resident if it gets wet,” she said.

“We also have an issue regarding spills and (cigarette) burn holes in carpeting,” said OHVC Director Sally Jarvey.

Ernest led a discussion with the board about installing new concrete around the foundation to prevent the flooring from getting too cold. Ernest offered to work with OHVC Maintenance Director Billy Marks on doing this project on a selected apartment.

While Ernest said he has no problem with purchasing locally, he emphasized a vigilant use of the bidding process by outside sources. OHVC secretary Sue Lockhart volunteered getting and bringing product backs from different Menard’s stores, which prompted a lengthy discussion.

Lockhart has taken the transportation costs, including the use of her own travel, without reimbursement.

“Sue (Lockhart) has done this to save the commission money,” Jarvey said. “She should be commended for this.”

Ernest inquired about taking advantage of Menard’s rebate program, and when the OHVC does use this promotion, he wanted to know where the accounting shows the rebate. Erickson also questioned the accounting of the rebate program with Menard’s.

Jarvey and Lockhart said the documented receipts from Menard’s shows the rebate money and how it is used for future purchases or to reduce the costs of the products purchased.

Compliance with the federal Americans with Disability Act (ADA) drew a discussion. The board is going to look into walk-in showers. Currently none of the apartments have a walk-in shower. Lockhart will work with Marks in the possibility of getting an apartment with this option.

The OHVC has two apartments for physically-challenged residents.

Jarvey reported that the OHVC received one bid for accounting and paperwork services was from Housing Authority Accounting Services (HAAS), which the board voted to renew the contract.

HAAS has numerous other commission accounts. Jarvey commended Marks and the staff on the June re-examines, and the 60 units that received maintenance inspections.

Those maintenance inspections are done prior to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) doing an inspection of the OHVC. The last one HUD did was last September.