New Greenville Transit bus garage will be paid ‘100 percent’ by MDOT grants

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:08 am on Thursday, January 07, 2016

The unsettling floors at the Greenville Transportation System bus garage have caused serious damage to the overall integrity of the building, resulting in many cracked walls and ceilings. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — As if sitting atop some steadily sinking quicksand, the floor of the Greenville Transit System bus garage appears to be disappearing beneath itself.

According to City Manager George Bosanic, that is exactly what has happened due to poor soil quality underneath the facility, resulting in plans to build a new facility to house the city’s transport busses, located at 240 E. Fairplains St.

“We’re going to totally demolish it, fill in the base, and rebuild on the same site,” Bosanic said at Tuesday evening’s Greenville City Council meeting. “There’s a sinkhole, the floor is sinking. We lifted it up with foam a few years ago, but the problem is still there. We can’t keep doing that, because it’s affecting the integrity of the structure.”

Greenville City Manager George Bosanic explains Tuesday evening the details behind a plan to demolish and rebuild the Greenville Transportation Service bus garage. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Council members voted unanimously to approve a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) contract in connection with funding for transit building improvements.

According to Bosanic, the approval extends a current contract to purchase two buses outward another six months, allowing the city to use extra funds from the MDOT grant to pay for engineering and architectural studies on a new building.

“We purchased both buses, however, there was funding left over in the grant,” Bosanic said. “Rather than let the funding go back to the state, we elected to formulate a new grant opportunity and use the funds to make repairs and improvements to the Transit garage.”

Bosanic said the contract with MDOT was previously extended for six months in July 2015, however, with the architectural aspect of a new building still in process, another extension was needed, with the new expiration date set for June 30.

Bosanic said no city funding will go toward the new building, as approximately $125,000 in grant funding has been set aside in total for transit improvements on the new facility. Any possible additional costs will be incurred through more MDOT grants.

“It is 100 percent funded by grant dollars,” Bosanic said. “We’ll get another grant in the future to tear it down and build it.”

Special legal counsel

The Greenville City Council also voted unanimously to approve the use of special legal counsel and to authorize Bosanic to use the attorneys at his discretion.

Bosanic presented the council with a list of the nine attorneys the city uses for various issues, from counsel on environmental items and labor disputes, to financing and bankruptcy.

According to Bosanic, the list is unchanged from last year and funding is set aside each year in the city’s budget for legal counsel, which is performed primarily by City Attorney Jim Mullendore at a rate of $4,000 per month.

Over time, sinking floors have created uneven slabs of concrete at the Greenville Transportation System bus garage. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Bosanic said most of Mullendore’s responsibilities deal with ordinance prosecution and general counsel, however, on occasion, the city reaches out to additional counsel on specialized matters.

Mayor Pro Tem Frances Schuleit inquired as to when the city previously put out to bid on city attorneys.

“We really don’t go out for bid, we seek out who we feel is most appropriate or the best fit for the city in those various disciplines,” Bosanic said. “The only ones we have soft proposals for is for ordinance prosecution and general counsel.”

Bosanic said history, reputation and proximity to the city play a large role in the selection of attorneys that the city uses.

“A lot of it is history, for example, John Gretzinger has been the labor counsel for 30 years. The others, they are the best that we are aware of within their fields within reason and proximity to Greenville,” he said. “We seek them because of their reputation, success, and who they are. Everyone is excellent to work with, there’s virtually no concern.”

Councilman Mark Lehman asked if Bosanic thought there was “any light at the end of the tunnel,” as far as needing attorneys for situations such as lawsuits or other disputes.

“A lot of that, you can’t control. When we’re busier, we utilize attorneys to make sure that we are right, so things are the way they should be. On the other hand, when things go bad like with bankruptcies, we need them for defensive positions,” he said. “As a manager, I’ve picked up a few things over the years, and my gut tells me whether it’s necessary to give someone a call, or if I think I can handle it on my own.”

Board members also unanimously approved spending $5,925 on a new boiler at the Public Safety Building, bid to Russell Plumbing and Heating of Greenville, after one of the building’s two boilers failed in late December. According to Bosanic, the boiler was nine years old and no longer under warranty.

 Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the council held an organizational meeting and selected John Hoppough to continue to serve as mayor, as well as Schuleit to continue as mayor pro tem.

Greenville Mayor John Hoppough, left, and Mayor Pro Tem Frances Schuleit, were voted back to their respective positions unanimously Tuesday evening by members of the Greenville City Council. — Daily News/Cory Smith

The process of selecting the positions is standard after an election of council members, which occurred in November.

Hoppough was nominated for mayor by Councilman Larry Moss, with a second from Councilwoman Jeanne Cunliffe.

A nomination for Schuleit was given by Lehman, however, with no support from council, Lehman withdrew his motion.

The council then voted unanimously to select Hoppough as mayor.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as mayor again, it is an honor,” Hoppough said. “This council is a great group of people to be a part of.”

Hoppough then nominated Schuleit for mayor pro tem, with a second by Moss, and with no other nominations, she was selected by unanimous vote by the council.

“I am honored to have been nominated twice this evening, but I want to offer my complete support for Mayor Hoppough and for the council,” Schuleit said. “It takes collaboration and teamwork, and I’m just proud to be a part of this team.”

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