COUNCIL CAPSULE: October 14, 2014

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 12:34 am
Alice Dreger

ELi’s weekly Wednesday feature, “Council Capsule,” gives you a quick run-down of what happened at City Council the night before. Capsules include major votes including tallies and reporting (and non-reporting) of potential conflicts-of-interest.

Note: This meeting was a “work session” so it was not recorded or broadcast. As a consequence, there is no video record available to the public.

Roll Call: Four members were present: Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods. Mayor Nathan Triplett was absent. City Manager George Lahanas was also absent, so Tim Dempsey functioned in his place.

Communications from the audience: John Dooley, since 1994 Chairman of the Board of Edgewood Village Nonprofit Development Corporation, presented a monograph he has written on the 1968 East Lansing civil rights ordinance. He also spoke to the importance of that historic legislation.

Resolution for support of MSU against sexual assault: Suchitra Webster, MSU Community Liaison, and ELPD Chief Juli Liebler, presented a resolution they want passed by City Council. The idea is to let MSU students know that just because they have “moved across the street,” i.e., off campus and into the City of East Lansing, does not mean they will not still be held accountable by MSU for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Webster described also reaching out to partner with major landlords in town to encourage students to adhere to MSU’s policies on sexual harassment and assault. Goddeeris suggested that the hospitals need to commit resources to having appropriate personnel in place to manage victims of sexual assault. Beier asked whether everyone is being kept on the same page, including MSU’s athletic department, the Greek system, etc. Webster indicated MSU is working to ensure that.

The resolution will be on the consent agenda for next Tuesday’s Council meeting. This means it is likely to be passed without further discussion.

Final budget for Kalamazoo Street Construction: Bob Scheuerman, Department of Public Works Engineering Administrator, presented the final budget for the Kalamazoo Street Construction, a project costing in excess of $3 million. The project was due to come under budget by almost $100,000 but as the project was in process, a large sinkhole developed near it. It cost $147,000 to repair and it was determined that it was not the fault of the contractor, so the city hired the contractor on site to fix it and thus ended up with an overrun of about $44,000.

Presentation on three ongoing emergency sewer repair projects: Ron Lacasse, Acting Director of the Department of Public Works, discussed three major emergency sewer repairs. The discussion broached the issue of ongoing sewer reconstruction in Chesterfield Hills, an old neighborhood with complex sewer problems.

Purchase of a “used” asphalt reclaimer machine (shown above): Lacasse is seeking permission from Council to spend $52,000 to purchase a never-used 2007 Kasi Infrared Asphalt Reclaimer for road repair work. Council will vote on it next week.

Historic District Commission Tree resolution: The East Lansing Historic District Commission sent to Council a resolution to “continue to enforce existing policies to protect trees throughout the City and investigate additional protections for the City’s tree canopy.” During this portion of the meeting, Council discussed ongoing tensions between East Lansing homeowners and BWL, including the yard sign campaign. (Read more about that here.)

The resolution was put on the consent agenda for next Tuesday’s Council meeting. Although normally this means it will pass without further discussion, in this case Council asked for more information about existing ordinances with regard to the trees, which suggests there will be additional discussion before any vote occurs.

Marijuana charter amendment ballot language discussed: City Attorney Tom Yeadon explained that the proposed charter amendment on marijuana possession requires a neutral statement of the purpose of the amendment for the ballot. There was a discussion of Yeadon’s proposed language, including with ELPD Chief Juli Liebler. A concern among the City Attorney, Chief, and Council members is that citizens understand that even if the amendment were passed, state and federal laws continue to criminalize marijuana possession.

The ballot language will be on consent agenda at next week’s meeting of Council.

This article was changed on October 15 in order to correct the name of John Dooley. (We had originally reported his first name as "Tim.")


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