By LOU MUMFORD
South Bend Tribune
9:00 PM EST, November 12, 2012
NILES -- How strange was Monday night's Niles City Council meeting? It featured a pledge of allegiance to a flag that wasn't there and council permission for Santa Claus to visit the Riverfront Park Amphitheater two days after the fact.
First, the flag: Apparently, it was removed to provide more space for voting booths in last week's election. When efforts to locate it weren't successful, council members and a sparse audience opted to recite the pledge facing the flag's usual location.
Then, the panel granted permission for Santa Claus to visit the Riverfront Park Amphitheater two days after the event already had taken place. When Councilwoman Georgia Boggs questioned the date, City Administrator Ric Huff explained the event had been set for Nov. 24 but the man who normally portrays the Jolly Old Elf was unable to so this year. A fill-in was called upon, he said, but was available only this past weekend.
As for regular business, the council allowed an inter-fund transfer of $15,000 to the Niles Main Street DDA, with Huff pointing out the funds have changed hands that way for years to make up for loss of the former post office building at Main and Fourth streets from city tax rolls. Also, the panel voted 4-2, with David Mann and Bill Weimer voting no, to close to vehicular traffic a portion of a north Main Street alley between Third and Fourth streets.
"I measured it and it's 15 foot 1 inch. None of our ambulances or firetrucks can get through it,'' said Councilman Tim Skalla.
Also, Mann reported that eliminating the personal property tax as some have suggested in Lansing would cost Niles $750,000 and result in serious cuts if the funds aren't replaced. He asked residents to contact state lawmakers
expressing opposition to the proposal.
Staff writer Lou Mumford:
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