Swanton Village Council last week approved the second reading for creation of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, with some changes.
Multiple area residents and business owners spoke in favor of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) at the Oct. 24 meeting.
Village resident Eric Butler decided to comment after watching the last Council meeting, and said the DORA would help give the village an opportunity to grow. “I am old enough to remember the downtown area when I was a kid was vibrant. You went uptown for everything. That’s lacking today.
“The idea that the boogeyman is going to come out because people are allowed to take an alcoholic beverage outside, personally to me, is ridiculous,” he added.
Gary Waterstradt, president of Swanton Area Community Coalition, commented on the proposed hours. He said the coalition can support the amended area, but that they didn’t think the DORA hours needed to start at noon on weekdays. Adding that weekends are a different story.
Julia Benfield of Benfield Wines said they had it earlier to use at events in the downtown which sometimes start as early as 10 a.m.
The hours of the DORA, if given final approval, would be 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., with beverages consumed no later than 12 a.m.
Council approved the second reading to create a DORA by a vote of 5-0, with the DORA encompassing a smaller area. It now only includes a small portion of Main Street at the corners of the intersection with Zeiter Way, a portion of the alley off Zeiter Way, and village property on Zeiter Way east to the village parking lot, according to the map supplied by the village.
Early in the regular meeting Swancreek Township Trustee Rick Kazmierczak spoke to Council about the fire contracts and levies following some discussion at a previous meeting about Swanton’s fire levy that is not being collected. He explained the process that got the village and neighboring townships to where they are today. Village residents no longer pay fire levy taxes to both the village and township.
“We worked with previous councils over the course of six years to get that dual taxation, residents paying to the village as well as the township…. we worked really hard to get that addressed,” he said. “It took a lot of back and forth on everybody’s parts and it finally came to fruition last year so I would hate to see that we would want to go back to or entertain the notion that you would like to tax your residents additionally for fire.”
Derek Kania said most members of Council were newer and did not have all the details on the fire levy situation. Now that they have them, it has been decided no changes will be made.
• Council voted 5-0 to move forward with a proposal from Foertmeyer to fill and maintain the flower beds on Main Street. The motion stated the village would like to clarify some details and costs.
In the proposal, the village would remove all current plantings. Foertmeyer would then prep beds for spring planting.
Foertmeyer would donate all plant material used for spring 2023.
The village will pay for mulch and labor. The hourly rate proposed by Foertmeyer is $26.50 per person.
Foertmeyer would use the village truck to water and fertilize the plantings as needed. They will also maintain the plantings at a rate of $26.50 per hour. The proposal said the maintenance will require 2-3 people averaging 5-10 hours per week.
• Alva Conger was sworn in as a lieutenant with the fire department.
• Mayor Neil Toeppe read a proclamation marking the Rotary Club of Swanton’s 60th anniversary. The local club was established Nov. 14, 1962.
“The Rotary Club of Swanton has shown by its actions and good works for the past 60 years, that it is a significant asset to the community, providing leadership and funding projects that have greatly benefited the area and its citizens, as well as people around the world, such as college scholarships to Swanton High School students, Early Learning Stations at the Swanton Public Library, a thermal imaging camera for the Swanton Fire and Rescue Division, as well as multiple projects at Village of Swanton municipal parks.”
• Council approved, on emergency, a resolution allowing the village administrator to enter into agreement for indigent defense services in Fulton County Court with Fulton County Commissioners.