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Wednesday, July 22, 2015


The Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities' wastewater treatment plant was the primary focus of Monday night's two meetings at Hillsdale City Hall, where the BPU Board held a special meeting an hour prior to the City Council's regular meeting.

The three present Board members -- Bob Batt, Barry Hill and Duke Anderson -- took up three issues related to long-needed renovations at the plant: a construction contract for the job, a bond authorizing ordinance, and a resolution to approve state revolving fund agreements and documentation in connection with the proposed issuance of those bonds.  All three were included in one agenda item so as to pass them as a package to recommend each to the City Council, who would then vote on each issue individually.

The Board heard statements from Jeff Pugh of the design firm Fleis & Vandenbrink, and Jim White of the law firm Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones.

To start, Pugh described some changes in the construction contract that the Board was voting on that evening.

"Back about a year ago, we did a study called 'project planning' addressing what the DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] saw as needs," he said.  "There were things that we considered important and key to maintaining treatment, and there were some things that were not so important in doing that."

"In the design phase," he continued, "there's been a trend in the industry of prices going up for contractors, and we weren't sure if it was a temporary blip, because things just started to pick up, and it was known that contractors had scaled back with some of the equipment, had let people go, but they were gearing back up to do the work.  This trend has continued, and it's continuing.  During that time, we decided to take out some of the less than necessary items that were in the original project plan."

Pugh listed those items as a tertiary filter, a ferrous chloride filter system, and improvements to the plant's grit handling system.  He said that those improvements can be implemented later on, and that the BPU might find later that they can do the job themselves at less of a cost than the current bids.

He said that the board has already made improvements to the filters and grit handling system that are working well.  However, he added that there is a grit classifier that still needs to be replaced, which would cost about $70,000 for the equipment itself, and that remains on the list of improvements to make at some point.  There are some cells within the filtration system that should be replaced, as well, but wholesale replacement of the filters may not be the best use of money.

Pugh said that base bids for the project came in about two million dollars higher than expected, and that one of the major components of that cost was the planned combined heat and power system (CHP), the system that creates energy from biological waste.

"When we did the original economic analysis in the project plan, the spread between CHP and non-CHP for capital cost was between seven and eight hundred-thousand dollars.  When we received the bids, the difference between CHP or dual-fuel boil -- which is also energy; biomass utilization -- the difference was 1.3 to 1.4 million; almost double of what it was.  So when you redo the economic analysis, there isn't a good payback upon a CHP system right now, and a lot of that is due to the fact that the plant is only partially loaded right now.  It has additional capacity.  The more material you see at the plant, the more gas you'll produce, to take the bio-solids out and produce energy from."

He said that one of the possibilities that had been discussed with former BPU director Rick Rose was the use of alternative biomass feed stocks such as waste from the Bob Evans plant.

"The long and short of it is, right now, based on current loads, if we brought in auxiliary feed stocks, we could make five times the amount of gas.  The digester itself, the tank that does the work, has five times the capacity that is currently seen.  So there is a lot of potential, but there isn't a lot of payback currently, so the thought was, let's take this off the table for right now.  You can always build it in the future if you want to.  It's not essential to the project; it doesn't help treatment at all, but it does make electricity."

Pugh said that by removing that aspect of the project and some of the unnecessary pieces of the electronic remote operation system -- namely replacing fiber wiring with a radio system -- as well as some pumps that the BPU had recently replaced or rebuilt, the pre-award change order was negotiated down from an original base bid of $7.761 million to a new base bid of $5.779 million.

He concluded by stating that the DEQ required paperwork to be returned for approval of the project by this Friday, the 24th, and as such, he recommended that the board approve the contract at the new lower price to avoid negative action from the state.

"That could be severe at this point," he said.

Board member Duke Anderson asked if there had been anything that was removed from the project that the DEQ might expect or require to be built.

"I think that would be their first reaction," Pugh replied, "but I think we could successfully negotiate with them, negotiate what we're going to do.  There's been some talk about possibly going after what's called a segmented project, and maybe include the generator issue you've probably heard about.  We don't know where that's going to go.  But again, that's something we could negotiate with the DEQ; try to get something a little more reasonable."

He said that the segmented approach would allow the BPU three additional years to piggyback on this project without the need for additional studies to be done, giving the utility the flexibility to simply implement the items removed from the new change order, then contact the DEQ to report the implementation.

"I think that would be the best approach, to negotiate that.  And see, we have that ability right now to have that type of relationship.  If you were to receive an executive order to do the work, it would be a little bit different scenario; be a little more difficult; you wouldn't have all the flexibility you have right now."

"So far, the Board has done an awful lot to satisfy the DEQ, and made a lot of progress in quite a short amount of time."

Referring to the previous two power outages and the last outage's causing of a 70,000-gallon spill of raw sewage into the St. Joseph River, Pugh elaborated, "There hasn't been an issue with the generator, as far as I know.  I've been involved since, like, 1992 or so.  I don't know-- the last two things happened so close together.  I don't understand exactly how that happened.  There are other options to talk with the DEQ about; the kinds of safeguards you could have in place and things you could change."

Asked for a timeline, Pugh said the project will take about 22 months.

"What'll happen is, we will get the information into the DEQ, and then we would wait about six weeks for all the gears to turn in Lansing, and then about the middle of September, there should be a loan closing, and then shortly thereafter, we can issue a notice to proceed to the contractor, and then the contractor will start.  Right now, we're kind of anticipating start of construction October 19th of this year, and completion on August 13th of 2017."

Jim White then took the podium to address the bond ordinance issue.

White said that since there were no petitions filed by the public during the referendum period earlier this year, the City Council can now take it up without a public vote.  The bond ordinance authorizes the city manager and the city finance director to approve and sign paperwork related to the bonds.

The bonds are not to exceed $7,615,000, though the exact amount slated for approval by the state is not yet known.  They will be repayable over 20 years at 2.5% interest, and amortization is expected to commence in 2018 and extend through 2037.

He specified that these bonds are only payable from revenue generated by the sewer system.

"This is a bit of a departure from what the city has done in the past.  The last few issues that have pledged revenues from the sewer system have also pledged revenues from the water system.  This ordinance is kind of intended to be sort of a first step so that sewer system finances are only paid for by sewer system revenues.  The same would be true if you had a need in the future occur in the water system, that only water system revenues would be pledged to water system improvements."

White said that another aspect to that first step is that there are still outstanding annual returnees on bonds issued in 2009.  Once those are dealt with, all prior bond ordinances for the water and sewer systems no longer apply.  This wastewater treatment plant bond ordinance would lay the groundwork for future ordinances in regard to water and sewer being separate financial matters.

In regard to the state revolving fund, White said a credit rating was required.

"S&P issued their decision today, and the city does fall within the investment-grade category."

As a result of that assessment, White says his firm believes that an additional pledge of full faith and credit will not be necessary in order to procure the requested funds.

Asked why the bond ordinance allowed for more than the estimated cost in the current change order, White answered that the figure was based upon the original base estimate with an additional ten percent as a "safety cushion."  However, the amount in the ordinance is merely a high limit for the authorization, and the actual amount loaned to the city will be determined by the state.

"The timing of all of this is such with the state," he said, "that we can't wait to get final number for the bond issue and then adopt an ordinance with everything all set.  Some of these last series of dates, you don't have a lot of time to react between those dates."

The third action item consisted of standard form paperwork that would be filled out and sent to the state.  White said that also includes a provisionary resolution authorizing the city manager and financial manager to sign a pledge of full faith and credit if that is, in fact, deemed necessary.

"We don't do this as part of the bond ordinance because the bond ordinance has to be published, and we don't want to publish all these extra documents," he said.

All three present board members voted in favor of presenting the items to the City Council at their later meeting.

At that later meeting, only Councilperson Brian Watkins was absent and was excused.  Councilperson Mary Beth Bail was also retroactively excused for her absence at last Tuesday night's joint meeting with the BPU Board.

The plant was the primary issue of the night, and the most discussed.  The Council unanimously passed the resolution to receive the recommendations from the BPU Board, which allowed them to take up the three items in the Board's packet.  Pugh and White both remained in the gallery to make their presentations to the City Council, most of it the same as what they presented at the earlier meeting.

After Pugh's comments on the resolution to award the construction contract, Councilperson Sharp took the lead and confirmed that Pugh's firm was responsible for the study to determine necessary upgrades.

"Just recently, we had a spillage, supposedly, in the river.  Why wasn't there a plan in place for a generator to be put in there to prevent this from happening in the first place?"

Pugh reiterated that he's been involved in plant projects since 1992, that this has been discussed before with the DEQ, and that this latest incident surprised him.

"There may have been some better ways to deal with it," Pugh continued, "and I think [Interim BPU Director Nate Rusk] has come up with some good ideas to make some simple system changes, basically the way power's fed and also using an existing generator; a small one, it's not capable of handling the entire plant, a small generator.  It would basically pump the sewage in and then pump the sewage out.  Generation at least for your treatment."

"In general, the outages have been fairly short in duration over the last twenty-some years.  There is some storage capacity in the inlet, plus the 24-inch line that carries the sewage has some storage capacity in it, and I've calculated that, but I think that's helped in the past to not have these incidents."

"Generators are quite expensive," he added, "and the plant has three feeds coming in, so you can't put a single generator there and handle the entire system.  You need to put in at least two to handle the inlet works and the main treatment system.  The third one serves mainly the digester, so I suppose we could leave that alone."

Pugh estimated that each generator would have to put out about 500 kW of power, and each generator would cost $500,000.

"We felt the funds were better used in other areas of the plant, more critical areas involving treatment every day."

"So when the DEQ possibly comes down here and could possibly fine us for this," Sharp pressed, "and they're going to wonder what was the plan in place.  Because we sat with the BPU Board last week.  It was mentioned that we produce a million gallons of waste... is that correct?  Basically?  The only plant in the state of Michigan that produces a million gallons of waste that does not have a generator for that purpose.  Would you say that's correct?  This is coming from the guy in charge down there at the wastewater treatment plant."

"I don't know for a fact that that's true," Pugh replied.  "I know other plants have used dual feeds, had power fed from two different areas.  The issue is, when something happens, someone has to physically go out and throw switches."

"Right, but this did happen; we were without power for four hours and had a discharge in the river," Sharp asserted.  "We've had other power outages before, but we've always sidestepped and gotten lucky.  This past time, we weren't so lucky.  And that's my concern, we should have something in place to make sure we have our bases covered this next time."

City Manager Mackie threw in that he's been asked a lot of question over the last couple of weeks, particularly pertaining to this issue.

"I do agree with Jeff and Nate that there were some operational issues there that lent itself to this particular issue," Mackie said.  "The idea of power generation equipment there has been discussed with the DEQ in my understanding.  It was just felt in the past that our ability to reroute power within our system from different areas was sufficient enough to handle it."

"We also have a portable generator down there," he clarified, "that could potentially move between treatment stations.  That was not utilized during this time, and we had issues with the rerouting of the power.  I don't want to say that it was kind of a perfect storm, but there were a number of issues that lent itself here."

Mackie went on to inform the Council of the segmented construction process that Pugh had mentioned at the earlier meeting, which would allow this immediate project to deal with the issues that the DEQ has been most concerned with for the largest amount of time, then allow the city to address additional issues down the road, which could include the power generation issue.

"Jeff and I had a discussion over the last couple days about the last 90, 120 days of issues we've had, and that's probably something that would be wise for the future.  But that is something we are actively talking about, that is making the DEQ aware that we want to pursue this segmented relationship where they will allow us to add it to our SRF [state revolving fund] project without going through another process.  So we are addressing it.  We're also addressing the operational issues."

"So you're saying we have a standard operating procedure?" Sharp asked.  "If something happens, this is the policy we're going to do from now on, from this point forward?"

"Absolutely," Mackie replied.

"So do we have assurance that this won't happen again?" Councilperson Adam Stockford asked.

"I can't guarantee anything," Mackie answered, "but I can tell you this: that Nate, I, the supervisors in the particular departments, we had a meeting to discuss the issue, as the DEQ has sent us a number of correspondence via e-mail.  So they want to see it addressed, we want to see it addressed, and I'm drilling down to the specifics of operational plan, an emergency management plan, to make sure it doesn't happen."

"In this situation, there were some basic issues, simple issues, that probably could have prevented it."

The resolution to approve the construction contract was approved by a unanimous vote.

Jim White once again took the podium to make his presentation on the bond issue and reiterated much of what he'd said at the earlier meeting, with most of the same questions and answers.

Councilperson Patrick Flannery, however, asked a couple of questions that had not yet been brought up, starting with the rating from S&P.  Paul Stauder of Stauder, Barch & Associates, who worked with White on that aspect, took the podium to answer.

"Standard and Poor's didn't actually sign a rating; they were asked to do an assessment of the credit, because the cost of having the rating assigned would have been about 40% higher, and it's already a pretty expensive process.  So we simply asked them, if the issue were rated, what category it would fall into, and it came in at low investment grade."

"So around triple-B, probably?" Flannery asked.

"It would be, probably, in the high triple-B range.  They like everything they see.  The one item that they thought was a little bit below average was the liquidity of the system, meaning you don't have a lot of idle cash within the utility system.  I think that probably would have put it up into the A category."

Councilperson Emily Stack-Davis had asked earlier about why this particular sewer bond issue had been split from the water finances, and Stauder took the opportunity to address something sbout the matter that hadn't been stated previously.

"From a historical perspective, the water and sewer utility were combined.  They were operated on your books as a combined system.  It was often done back in the early days when the utilities were created in order to enhance credit and attract bondholder interest.  As history has gone on, the city has developed the practice of separating those utilities.  Right within your audit report, you maintain separate assets on both sides, separate revenues, expenses and so on.  And so it's sort of just a natural transition; you have an opportunity here, because the old bonds are nearly matured, to get rid of the provisions of the old ordinance, separate the systems as they already are in practice, and then move ahead on that basis."

"It makes sure, in the end, that water system customers are not paying for sewer system improvements and vice-versa.  In the end, when you have these separate utilities like this, separate pledges of revenue, that can't happen."

Councilperson Flannery asked if there were any unusual covenants that the city has included in this bond agreement, and Stauder replied that there were none at all.

"Very, very typical, common covenants made under a sewer revenue bond ordinance."

The bond authorizing ordinance passed unanimously.

Jim White again described the third resolution as approval for the city manager and city finance manager to approve and sign documentation for the project, including the possible additional pledge of full faith and credit.  That resolution passed unanimously, as did the statement of work detailing the plan to be implemented by Fleis & Vandenbrink in their execution of the project.

Later in the night, other BPU issues were addressed, beginning with an upgrade to the Internet connection provided by the Michigan Merit Network.  Currently, the city's service plan allows for 10 megabytes per second (MBPS) of bandwidth, but combined usage of the city's connection between various departments has been anywhere between 8 and 18 MBPS, forcing the city to pay undesirable overage charges.

This upgrade will change the service plan to allow for 25 MBPS of bandwidth at a current base cost of $250 per month.  That cost will vary due to the expiration of existing credits applied to the city's Merit membership, eventually resulting in a monthly fee of $330.83, but by the time that amount comes into effect in December of next year, that cost is estimated to be less than the cost of the overage charges and the 10 MBPS contract.

The City Council voted unanimously to pass the new contract.

The BPU also sought approval of a contract for inspection of and possible removal and disposal of bottom solids from a 200,000-gallon fuel oil tank at the city's Baw Beese Lake electricity generating plant.  The plant is currently inactive, but the city is preparing to bring the facility up to regulatory requirements for emergency power generation should the grid lose its power from outside sources, which has not been done since the Northeast blackout of 2003.  The resolution in question would authorize an inspection of the tank and testing of its contents for contamination at a cost of $19,966.

City Manager Mackie opened discussion by relaying that the BPU Board, when voting to send this matter to the council, did not know the amount of fuel still in the tank or how much it would cost to have it cleaned out.  However, an estimate had come back in the time since, determining that there are about 15,000 gallons currently in the tank, and that removal and disposal of it would cost approximately $6,000 in addition to the base cost of the inspection and testing.

Councilperson Sharp asked when the plant was last brought online, and Interim Director Rusk replied that it was brought online last year for testing purposes.

Councilperson Stack-Davis asked for clarification on costs, in answer to which Rusk explained that testing the integrity of the tank and the viability of its contents was included in the base cost of $19,966.  The additional $6,000 is for removal and disposal of the fuel currently in the tank if it is contaminated.  Rusk said the fuel can be used if it's not contaminated.

The council voted to approve the contract unanimously.

On the following item, the BPU's request to purchase several pieces of fiber networking equipment, Councilperson Adam Stockford asked why there were no price comparisons besides the total cost of $47,892.95 given in the summary.  Rusk explained that the equipment was found online rather than through a bidding process, so price comparisons were not necessary.  City Manager Mackie also noted that the BPU's initial budget for these purchases was $100,000, so the savings were significant.

The council approved the purchase by unanimous vote.

The council also unanimously approved the purchase of a new transformer that will supply underground power to McIntyre Dorm on the Hillsdale College campus, replacing a section of overhead lines that are inaccessible due to their path through Slayton Arboretum.

In other council business, City Manager David Mackie reported that the state will be sending the city roughly $95,000 divided over the course of four quarters for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

"It's not a whole bunch, but every bit helps," Mackie said.

The Code Enforcement Office submitted a report updating the status of 25 properties under their watch.  While no recommendation was made for council action, the staff's report stated that they are "working with legal counsel to determine the best method to obtain court order to bring properties into compliance where the owner has not been willing and/or able to do so and the violations are presenting a public safety concern."

While Code Enforcement had headlined 55 S. Broad Street in their report -- a property that has been posted unsafe since 2009 with no improvements made other than mowing the grass -- Councilperson Bruce Sharp pointed attention toward a different pair of properties.

"58 and 60 [N. West Street], those are the ones that concern me the most.  One's a meth lab they had in the house, and the other one is owned by the same gentleman.  We keep approaching him and he keeps putting stuff on the back burner.  He keeps trying to push it off, push it off.  I hope that we would just say enough's enough and move forward and do what we have to do to get this cleaned up, because they're two big buildings, and there's animals living in there, all kinds of issues going on there that are not savable as far as it's concerned."

"I know we've been pushing hard on 55 S. Broad Street," Sharp continued, "and that's just another pain in our side, but the lady is making some efforts.  But the other one over here at 58 and 60, he just keeps playing games with us, and I would like to see something resolved on him soon.  Because he owns more than just those two properties; I believe he owns six properties in the City of Hillsdale."

"I know they're working on it, but I would like to see something done soon with him," Sharp said.

The Code Enforcement report states that 60 N. West Street has been posted as unfit for occupancy since 2014 due to structural and sanitation violations.  The owner claims to have contacted the county inspector for what the report refers to in quotes as "final" inspection, but has not obtained any permits for repairs.

During discussion on city clerk and treasurer issues, Councilperson Adam Stockford took the opportunity to remind the public that Tuesday, August 4th is the date of the election in which voters in the City of Hillsdale will decide whether to keep the city clerk and city treasurer positions elected or change them to appointed positions.  A "yes" vote means they will become appointed positions.  A "no" vote means they will remain elected positions.

Two respective resolutions were presented to approve the Community Development Block Grants for both 42 Union Street and Stock's Mill and to authorize the mayor to sign and submit the related paperwork for each.  They were passed unanimously at the appropriate time, however City Clerk Michelle Loren was notified later in the meeting that no resolution numbers had been assigned as required, so the two issues were voted on again at that later time with the same results, and the appropriate resolution numbers were assigned to each item.

The council voted unanimously to schedule two public hearings for their regular meeting on August 17th.

The first is for an amendment to the city's parking ordinance.  In light of current and anticipated Rental Rehab projects in the city's central business district, the Planning Commission formed a committee including members of the commission itself, the Department of Public Services, the Hillsdale Police Department and the Economic Development Department, and that committee came to the conclusion that the city should expand overnight parking spaces downtown to be utilized by new tenants.

The second public hearing is for an amendment to the city charter to alter the language governing the Board of Review.  The current charter language does not reflect current state statutes and terms of office, and language has been added to the state law to allow cities to adopt an ordinance changing the membership and manner of appointment of the Board of Review without holding an election to change charter language.

Assessor Kimberly Thomas wrote in her report that the ordinance will address three specific issues:

  1. Under the current charter language, Board of Review members are appointed in April.  State Tax Commission approved training for Board of Review members is generally scheduled by the county, the Michigan Townships Association and other organizations in January and February in order to accommodate membership terms beginning in January under the statute for general law townships, thus Hillsdale's Board of Review members serve through both the July and December meetings without having received any formal training.
  2. Current charter language limits membership to three consecutive terms of one year each, which gives Hillsdale Board of Review members only three years maximum in which to serve in that position.  Statutory appointments are two-year terms, which would give Hillsdale Board of Review members six years to serve before they reach their limit; an advantage to both training and finding willing appointees.
  3. Current charter language does not provide for the appointment of alternates, which presented a specific problem this spring when the Hillsdale Board of Review has one member out of town and another member in poor health.  This being only a three-member board, it is essential to have alternates available to serve if needed.  Statute for general law townships allows for appointment of up to two alternates and provides cities with the option to create up to three separate Board of Review committees should the need arise.

Again, both of those public hearings will be held at the City Council's regular meeting on Monday night, August 17th at 7:00 PM in the council chambers.

The council also voted unanimously to approve the application for a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone certificate for a new residence to be built at 216 N. Manning Street by William and Janet Brodbeck.  This property lies within the newly-created Neighborhood Enterprise Zone #2, which the council established at their meeting on June 1st.

The council voted unanimously once again to approve the 2015 National Functional Classification Resolution, a decennial report to the Michigan Department of Transportation mandated by federal law.  This report lists any changes to the functionality of the street system, such as ingress or egress to new developments, industrial or commercial facilities and similar projects.  There were no such changes in the City of Hillsdale, and this report will reflect that fact.  The background on the agenda item, prepared by Department of Public Services Director Keith Richard, also notes that no such changes occurred under Hillsdale County's jurisdiction either, and the Hillsdale County Commission passed this same resolution at a recent meeting.

In final matters for the evening, the City Council appointed Eric Moore to the Planning Commission, filling a vacancy for a term that will end in November of this year.

In a somewhat humorous moment, some off-topic discussion resulted from a bit of confusion between the Stock's Mill CDBG re-vote and a wedding in Stock's Park that the council had approved in the consent agenda.

Councilperson Stockford asked if the city offered a discount for rental of the park to city residents.  City Clerk Michelle Loren, who also serves as the director of the Recreation Department, replied that the fee is set by the Community Development Committee, and that it's a flat rate for all applicants.  Stockford suggested that the council should look into changing that.

Councilperson Sharp added that he was on that committee when the rate was set, and pointed out that it's simply a flat rate to act as a security deposit.

Councilperson Stack-Davis politely interrupted to state that this should be discussed during the council comment period, and the matter was dropped.  Most of the discussion already having taken place, it was not brought back up during the council comment period.

In his report, City Manager Mackie had several issues to inform council of:

  • The land purchase contract for the new 911 facility should be finalized this week.
  • Union contract negotiations also begin this week with three unions, including those representing employees of the BPU, the police department and the fire department.
  • Advertisements have been placed and submissions will be accepted through July 31st for the position of City Attorney.
  • The Fields of Dreams Late Summer Classic takes place this weekend featuring 10U and 12U teams.  All proceeds will go to Fields of Dreams improvements.
  • Signup for football will be taking place in August.

Mackie also said that, as suggested by the City Council, he's contemplating the formation of a five-member review board, himself included, to assess the state of the Board of Public Utilities.

"I want to make sure that everyone understands that this is not a simple task, because this is a big business entity and a critical part of the community.  So it's something that I'm not taking lightly, as we're looking into the audits and the finances and the operations, and it might require a third-party evaluation to determine the cost as we're thinking forward."

"The key here, as with any business that you're potentially looking at putting on the market and selling is getting it in the best position possible for evaluation.  I think that, though some of these things that have happened over the last week or two have been negative in regard to the operation and the community, it's actually shined a light on some of the deficiencies that, once we get them addressed and get things operating well again, it will help with the value of the operation."

"Those are all things that need to be taken into consideration, and my hopes are that, maybe at the next meeting, we'll look at some names for the council to take into consideration on this committee."

Mackie stated that his desire would be to see the committee populated by someone from the City Council, someone from the BPU Board, and someone with a financial or accounting background, as well as someone from Economic Development to bring a business-oriented outlook to the table.

And in the council comment session, Councilperson Stack-Davis asked about the city's dealing with Jay Easterday, who was taken to court for cutting down a city-owned tree in the right of way despite the tree posing a public hazard.  City Manager Mackie said that the city has submitted a resolution to the court that he believes will be favorable to both Easterday and the city.  Councilperson Stockford clarified later that the matter had gone to court, and Easterday requested a payment plan, which is the arrangement that Mackie was describing.

Councilperson Sharp had two points to share.  Firstly, he addressed garbage left on the curb by residents thinking that the city has street-side pickup service.  He made it clear that the city does not have street-side pickup service, and that these items need to be dealt with accordingly, not left in the right-of-way for others to collect.

Secondly, Sharp mentioned that the council had planned on setting up a meeting with City Manager Mackie to outline job goals, and while making it clear that he wanted to give the new manager a month or so to get his feet wet -- to which Mackie jokingly replied "in more ways than one!" -- Sharp said that such a meeting should be discussed soon.

The soonest opportunity for that discussion would be the City Council's next regular meeting on Monday, August 3rd at 7:00 PM in the council chambers at Hillsdale City Hall.

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