Pressing issues present hard choices for Calumet

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Damage evident at Calumet Village Hall is seen here at the entrance of the second-floor ballroom, where a green garden hose next to the ladder accesses the attic and runs through the former box office window, where it drains into a sink. The upper end of the hose is attached to a five-gallon bucket and a sump pump.

CALUMET — As the topic of a bond, issued by the Village Council and challenged by a residential petition, was discussed at the regular April meeting, the topic of a fire truck purchased on an auction site was also brought up.

However, while the Village Fire Department does have the available funding to pay for the truck, the village is short of funding for other expenses that need to be addressed.

The Village Hall building on the corner of Sixth and Elm streets is in a dilapidated condition, Trustee Nathan Anderson said at Tuesday’s meeting and is in need of immediate attention, not only because of its historical value but also as the administrative center of the village.

“We’ve got mortar falling out,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a roof leaking that we’re using a five-gallon bucket and a sump pump to keep the water from causing any further damage. We’ve got mortar falling off the backside so badly that you can literally stand up in the attic and see through. The cornice is falling off. This is unacceptable.”

Anderson said along with the existing bond issue appearing on the ballot in an August special election, he felt the village might have to propose an additional bond issue to pay for repairs to the Village Hall.

“This building’s been neglected for a long time,” he said, “just like our roads, just like our sidewalks, even like our fire hydrants. It’s time that we move forward. We didn’t make a decision on what to recommend.”

Trustee Roxanne King concurred, saying the building is need of “serious” tuck-pointing, and that from photographic evidence on the roof, the roof, which is more than 25 years old, does need to be replaced.

“I think that we need to look at getting it fixed correctly, not put a Band-Aid on it and be back here next year and again the next,” said King. “We need to take this to the public and say it’s not going to be cheap.

“Yet,” she added, “this is the cornerstone building of the entire village and we need to get it fixed.”

The initial bond issue will cover purchase a new sno-go for the Street Department. Concerns have been raised by residents, as well as the village president, that the village has no way or repaying the bond.

Faced now with necessary repairs to the Village Hall, the village is also faced with finding funding to pay for maintenance projects.