SHERIDAN — This village has moved one step closer to seeing the last of the Carnation building on the south end of town.
Since the building has stood derelict for years, thus members of the Sheridan Village Council have been working toward its demolition and cleanup.
The process has been long and labyrinthine, due in large part to the numerous studies required by the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure the safety and long-term viability of the property.
At Tuesday evening’s council meeting, Montcalm Alliance Executive Director Franz Mogdis laid out the progress that has been made thus far. Mogdis has been overseeing the various studies that have already been done. After gaining council approval Tuesday, he will now begin the grant application process in order to obtain funding for the demolition.
Residents shouldn’t expect bulldozers any time soon, however. The grant process itself is fairly complicated and time consuming. According to Mogdis, if all goes as well as may be hoped, demolition will not begin until the spring 2015.
“The Phase One study, paid for through the Brownfield Authority and not out of village funds, showed there was some pollution problems at the site,” Mogdis explained. “Phase Two showed the the pollution problem was fairly minimal, maybe the top foot of soil. The important thing is that these studies allow us to go after a blight elimination grant.”
That grant, if awarded, would provide funding for both the demolition and cleanup of the site.
Councilman Daryl Bush suggested getting state representatives Judy Emmons and Rick Outman on board to help obtain grant approval. Mogdis agreed this was a good idea, but one that can’t be implemented until the grant application has been written and submitted.
The council unanimously approved the next step in the process. Mogdis will now write and submit the grant.
Council members also heard the results of a recently commissioned liability study, which indicated there are several areas throughout the village’s infrastructure that will need replacement some time during the next 20 years. The study was conducted by Fleis & Vandenbrink.
Any of the work recommended by the engineering firm will likely not begin for well over a year, due to the length of time required to obtain grant funding. The study showed that very little of the work needs to be done immediately; for the most part, the improvements would be replacing older, existing infrastructure.
Water meter debate
The council also heard, for the third month in a row, from Douglas Willemin, who owns several multi-family housing units in the village. Willemin has been petitioning the village to install a metered water system at his apartment buildings.
However, the high cost of installing the meters, coupled with the fact that Willemin would likely be paying far less for water and sewer after their installation, has kept the council from acting on his request.
Another option considered Tuesday by the council was simply reducing Willemin’s rates by as much as half. Councilman Don Nassif expressed concerns with this route, however.
“If we reduce (Willemin’s) rate, next meeting we’ll have five more people in here asking for a reduction,” Nassif said. “I wonder about the legality of offering just one person a reduction.”
Village President Susan Wyckoff-McFarland pointed out that other multi-family property owners would not be able to petition the council for similar water rate reductions until March 2016.
Councilman Curtis Sisson said he was opposed to any sort of reduction that didn’t apply equally to all village residents.
“If we can accomplish the same thing by reducing the rates for that class (multi-family dwellings) and not have to put the meters in at this time, can’t we do that?” Sisson said.
According to Lane, cost for the meters at Willimen’s properties alone would cost about $8,000.
Councilman Harold Arrington said he wanted to see the meters go in at Willemin’s properties.
“I make a motion that we put the meters in,” Arrington said. “I’m tired of hearing about it.”
Arrington and Nassif voted in favor of the motion with council members Pete Geboski, Sisson, Bush, Derek Wagner and Wyckoff-McFarland opposed, which means the motion failed.
Sisson again suggested offering a reduced rate to all multi-family dwellings within village limits. This, however, would likely require a change in the village’s current ordinance. The council opted to look into the legality of changing the ordinance with the intention of voting on the issue at next month’s meeting.
In other council business …
Village Superintendent Doug Lane reported that the contract for the interior painting of the village’s water tower has been signed and work there will begin in the fall.
Assistant Superintendent Doug Lingeman noted the Sheridan Community Fire Department will be hosting a benefit fundraiser barbecue on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The barbecue, to be held in the park, begins at 5 p.m.