IN BRIEF: Howard City funeral home faces water shutoff


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:00 pm on Monday, November 21, 2016

HOWARD CITY — This village’s funeral home may have its water turned off Tuesday morning due to the owner, who is also the village manager-president, allegedly not complying with backflow device testing requirements, according to another village employee.

During Monday night’s Howard City Village Council meeting, Department of Public Works Director Mike Van Wagner informed Manager-President Randy Heckman that Van Wagner would be shutting off the water supply to Heckman Funeral Home at 225 E. Edgerton St. in downtown Howard City at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Van Wagner, Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act (PA 399) requires every municipality to have a cross connection program to test backflow devices. Van Wagner said he received a notice that Heckman Funeral Home had not complied with this retirement per village ordinance after three notices were sent to the funeral home.

Van Wagner said the funeral home’s water should have been shut off on Sept. 15, but he has been waiting for Heckman to remedy the problem. He said he’s asked Heckman repeatedly for the required documentation, but said Heckman has not complied.

“This is probably the least favorite part of my job,” Van Wagner told the village council as he explained the issue.

Heckman said he’s been out of town deer hunting and he also has a family member with a medical issue. He told Van Wagner he would produce the required documents Tuesday.

After the meeting, Van Wagner told The Daily News he doesn’t expect Heckman to produce the required documentation Tuesday as Van Wagner hasn’t been able to find a record of the funeral home’s backflow device being tested.

“I’m just trying to follow the law,” Van Wagner said.

Heckman told The Daily News he sent in the required paperwork and officials must have not received it. He said he has copies of the documents at the funeral home and he will provide Van Wagner with the documents on Tuesday.

Heckman added that what Van Wagner is doing was “defamation of character” and “a personal attack against Randy Heckman.”

“The issue was addressed and taken care of,” Heckman said. “Poor timing.”

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