Economic Development Commission approval begins

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

Swanton Village Council last week started the approval process for a new economic development commission in the village. The first reading of an ordinance to create the commission was unanimously approved by Council.

Duties of the commission would include making recommendations on matter relating to improvement of sound economic growth and business development in the village, examining opportunities for fostering an attractive climate for businesses, recommending additional steps and measures to promote economic growth, and cooperating with elected officials and staff to realize appropriate goals and objectives related to sound business practices and better employment opportunities.

Mayor Neil Toeppe said the commission has received a letter of support from Dean Monske, Regional Growth Partnership President and CEO, and Matt Gilroy, Fulton County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director.

“If we can put together a story about the village, spaces and places, where our opportunities are, where our resources are, we will have partners that we can share that information with that can tell our story. But if we don’t have a story to tell, they don’t have one either.”

The mayor would appoint three commission members. Additional members could be appointed by the mayor in an ad hoc basis depending on the needs of the commission. Also, a member of Council may be appointed for a one-year term.

The commission will consist of up to five members.

Mike Jay, the vice president of the Regional Growth Partnership for development, spoke before the meeting, as did John Schmidt who previously had gathered signatures in an effort to get an economic development commission in the village.

Also at the meeting, Council approved seeking funding assistance for Munson Road improvements. Tim Brock, of Poggemeyer Design Group, recommended applying for Munson Road funding instead of Crestwood Drive funding, because Crestwood has not been selected for funding twice now.

“I have no problem applying for a grant. Munson Road that feeds into the high school. So we would have some traffic there,” said David Pilliod.

On recommendation from the Water and Sewer Committee, Council voted to decrease the monthly stormwater surcharge for Foertmeyer & Sons to $75 per month from $289.04. Foertmeyer & Sons submitted an engineering study to the village that showed storm water from the property runs mostly into Ai Creek and not the storm sewer.

The village is also working to fix some issues with street names in the village. For example Forrester Drive is sometimes spelled with one R and sometimes two. Also, Lincoln Avenue is sometimes referred to as Lincoln Street.

Final fixes will be approved in the future.

In the Finance Committee meeting, finance director Jason Vasko suggested raising pay for village employees. He was not looking for a yes or no answer from Council members but wanted to get an idea of Council’s thoughts.

“My intention is to neither destroy the budget we have nor spend all of our money,” said Vasko. “But one of the things that appears to be causing a lot of turnover in the village are our pay rates.”

The idea is to get pay more in line with what Lucas County municipalities are paying.

“We’ll have a better chance of keeping those people employed with the village and not taking a fire class and running off or working a year or two years to get licensing at the water plant and moving somewhere they can get paid $5-7 more per hour.”

Councilwoman Dianne Westhoven said she has a whole list of questions related to a possible increase. “One of the things that I was questioning was forecasting. How is this going to look down the road if we give these increases. And it was pretty sizeable,” she said.

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]