Public urged to get involved in fixing Calumet finances

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The April meeting of the Calumet Village Council was an eye-opener for village trustees, who were faced with the need for a new Sno-Go and major repairs to the Village Hall, and no way to pay for either.

CALUMET — The regular April meeting of the Village Council last Wednesday put into perspective some financial dire straits facing the village, including the need of a Sno-Go before the onset of winter, and a new roof for the Village Hall. Due to lack of matching funds, the council signed off on a grant for a second vehicle for the Police Department.

While discussing the bond passed by the village, which was countered with a petition to put it on a special August ballot, Trustee Nathan Anderson said part of the reason for the petition was residents knowing the council did not have a good plan.

“If we don’t come up with a good plan, then it’s been a failure,”said Anderson, “and if we don’t come up with a good plan, then I’ll campaign against it myself.”

Anderson said the village does not need long-term debt, adding short-term debt was a viable option, but the trustees need to work with the public to come up with solutions.

“Calumet is at a cross-roads,” Anderson said. “It’s time. It’s time to stop kicking things down the road. It’s time to start making repairs to our infrastructure, it’s time to start replacing our equipment, it’s time to start to make the hard choices to make the cuts necessary to get things done in the village. It’s passed time. We got our work cut for us, but we need to get it done, and get it done quickly.”

Anderson then made a plea to the residents, encouraging them to attend committee meetings.

The Streets/Sanitation/Public Buildings Committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 4:45 p.m., he said.

“And I encourage everyone sitting in the audience, please come to the meetings, give us your input. Tell us how you would make the cuts. Tell us what equipment you would get and what you wouldn’t get.”

This is not the first time Anderson has addressed the need for the council to look at cuts. At the March regular meeting, Anderson entered a motion to reduce the Police Department from two full-time officers to one full-time officer and one part-time officer, which would save the village $30,000 per year. Last year, the village was forced to abandon its trash pickup, leaving residents on their own to remove their garbage.