CHARLEVOIX -- After nine years as Charlevoix's city clerk, Carol Ochs announced she will resign from her position effective Friday, June 28.
"I would like to commend Carol for the work she has done for the city of Charlevoix and express appreciation for her dedication and service," said city manager Rob Straebel after Ochs made the announcement at Monday night's city council meeting.
"My competency has publicly been brought into question," said Ochs, explaining why she chose to resign. "Clearly people feel they can do my job better than I can. It's not worth the fight."
She does not yet have plans for what will come next for her, said the clerk.
In other business, city council discussed the creation of a committee to revise the city's donation acceptance policy and all agreed that a proposed donation of around $1,200 should be rejected.
The donation was offered to the city by E.L. Saenger, Jr. in a letter, with conditions.
Most "notable and somewhat alarming" of the conditions, according to Straebel, is that Saenger asked that the city either waive more than $1,000 in Freedom of Information Act fees charged to Julie Roth for a request she filed, or add the amount of the fees to the total cost associated with beginning the process of building a decorative fireplace in East Park that was halted after significant push back.
Roth has refused to pay the FOIA fees and the city considered taking the matter to small claims court.
Straebel recommended the council not accept the donation and the council members unanimously agreed.
"I think the city council had made a wise decision at its last meeting to direct staff to take the issue to small claims court," Straebel said. "I also question the ethics of the city taking money in consideration of not taking up a legal matter. It's bad precedence."
"Why don't we suggest the gentleman just pay the fee?" asked councilman Gabe Campbell.
"He should just give it to her," agreed councilwoman Shirley Gibson.
Councilman Lyle Gennet said he believes accepting the gift is a bad idea.
"This is another thing that needs to be addressed in the (city's new) gift policy," he said. "We need to have wording so this cannot happen. This is a prime example of where we should not be."
To date, $5,770 has been raised to replace costs equalling around $20,000 associated with the nixed fireplace project.
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Upcoming public hearings
Payment in Lieu of Taxes Ordinance: The owners of Lake Harbor Apartments would like to set up a Payment in Lieu of Taxes ordinance that would allow the income-adjusted housing unit to qualify for state funding for renovations and reduce the amount it currently pays to the city and state in property taxes. This will be discussed by city officials and the public at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, July 1, at city hall. The owners would no longer pay property taxes and instead pay an annual fee for the next 18 years. In the first year, the payment would be $12,500 compared to about $16,500 that would be paid in taxes. The payment would increase by 2 percent each year of the program. The apartments serve housing needs for low-income residents.
City Zoning Ordinance: Zoning administrator Mike Spencer and the city's planning commission have developed a new city zoning ordinance. The existing ordinance was originally adopted in 1977. The new ordinance includes extensive changes to the city's zoning. The document will be discussed at the Monday, July 1, city council meeting before the public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, July 15, at city hall. It is available on the city's website and at city hall.
Charlevoix City Clerk resigns
Charlevoix (June 18, 2013)