by Heather Asiyanbi
Mount Pleasant trustees Nov. 11 voted to approve three items on the agenda:
–the 2014 village budget: Trustee Jerry Garski said he wished more money taken from reserves to help pay for identified purchases had instead gone to pay down the village’s debt.
“Only Mark and the public works department had a budget that returned anything to the village,” he said. “Otherwise, it was like Halloween, handing out ’emergency needs’ like candy.”
Trustee Sonny Havn reminded the rest of the board that just because the budget includes an expense, doesn’t necessarily mean that item will ultimately get the green light.
“I say this every year with every budget,” he said. “Just because things are there in the budget doesn’t mean we have to spend the money. We still need to look at things as they come.”
With a 4-3 vote – Garski and Trustees Gary Feest and Don Schulz dissented – the budget passed.
–approving the change of bi-weekly board meetings from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Before the board started tackling the agenda for the night, resident Terri Wentiss spoke up during public comment to object the change.
“I’ve been attending board meetings for 50 years, and it’s been at 7 p.m. for as long as I can remember,” she told trustees. “I object to the move to 6 p.m. because it would interfere with my charity work. This is another case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Trustee John Hewitt made the motion for the change to open the discussion, and Havn said he’d be willing to back a compromise for a 6:30 p.m. start time.
“I like 6, but can we compromise on 6:30?” he asked. “I like the idea of starting earlier to avoid meetings going late.”
Hewitt said he was willing to amend his motion, but he wanted more discussion about why the change was requested.
Village President Mark Gleason said he had no issue with 6:30. The earlier time was proposed so people could come right after work and to alleviate stress on staff after they’d already worked a long day, he added.
Schulz said a 6 p.m. start time would be too hard for him since he works until 5 p.m. and needs to get home and eat dinner before heading out for board meetings.
Hewitt amended his motion, and it was approved 6-1, with Schulz casting the only “no” vote.
–approving the rezone petition of Renee Sparks to divide a 4-acre lot into 3 parcels. One of those parcels will have a home built on it for two developmentally disabled adults.
Schulz voted no two weeks ago when the item first came before the village board, according to a story in the Journal Times. He apologized to Sparks and her during the meeting that he only did so because of stormwater drainage concerns.
“I appreciate and understand what you do for people,” he said. “Please forgive me, but my job is to look to the future and circumvent any possible issues that might come up.”
Trustees unanimously approved the rezone, giving Sparks the greenlight she needed to proceed with her plans.
The village board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25 at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.