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Algonac buying steel barricades to boost safety at public events

Oct 31, 2023Oct 31, 2023

The Algonac City Council on June 6 approved the purchase of steel barricades that will be used to improve safety at public events.

Council members unanimously approved a motion to approve the purchase of 50 steel barricades from Crowd Control Warehouse in the amount of $5,229.19. Council member Cathy Harris was absent.

"Tragic episodes around the world have made increased safety at public events a necessity," Mayor Rocky Gillis said. "Crowd control has become the first and foremost aspect of managing a safe and secure event."

He said the barricades being purchased were "one of the most efficient barricades on the market." They are made from 18-gauge steel, measure 8.5 feet long and weigh 34 pounds. They are weather-resistant and the interlocking design allows each one to be easily hooked to another to create a long, continuous line of protection. Once the barricades are locked together, they can only be removed from end-to-end, helping prevent any disconnects in the middle of the line.

"These barricades are less expensive, easier to move and easier to store than concrete or water-filled barricades," Gillis said. "These barricades will ship within seven business days."

Council member Michael Bembas said the barriers were nice, but asked if the council should be looking at more heavy-duty barriers.

"I think these are more for crowd control," he said. "I’m not sure they’d stop a vehicle."

City Manager Denice Gerstenberg said department of public works Foreman Joe Vernier has been in contact with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office, which is also looking to purchase heavy-duty barricades for about $150,000.

"These are something that we feel would be easily stored, easily moved and able to provide crowd control where need," she said. "We are going to have access to some water-filled barricades that we’re going to borrow for a little while and see how that works. The concrete ones we’ve found have been very difficult to store and to move and place, so we may be coming back to you after this season of events with some more ideas."

Bembas said he appreciated the effort the city was making and it was a good first step, but the city will have to keep notching up the safety in the future. He said he would not be disappointed if the city administration wanted to get stronger barriers.

Council member Dawn Davey said the city's new barricades could work along with the barricades that Sheriff Mat King had said the sheriff's office was hoping to purchase at the council's April 18 meeting.

Council member Corey Blair said it was a step in the right direction, and the cement barricades are cumbersome and take up a lot of space.

"We do know that the sheriff's department is working to move forward with something quite expensive and substantial, so I’m just kind of praying that we can get through this season and then see what everybody is coming up with a coordinated effort," Mayor Pro Tem Raymond Martin said.

Bembas asked if there was a timeframe on when the sheriff's office will know what approach it will take and get barriers. Gerstenberg said King said he would know more at the end of the summer.

"I think the biggest thing for these is this is going to stop a lot of the people that pull off the side streets or out of the parking lots," Gillis said. "They just lift the caution tapes at the end of the parade and they just go, so … it's a nice feature. Plus, I think if you hit your car against it, it's probably going to slow it down a little bit."

Council members also unanimously approved a motion to adopt Resolution 2023-13 and a letter of support supporting submission of grant application to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Revitalization and Placemaking 2.0 Program for renovation of the swimming pool at Lions Field. The city is requesting $400,000 for the pool.

"The MEDC has recently announced the Revitalization and Placemaking Program, an incentive program to address the COVID-19 impacts and community revitalization needs in Michigan communities to invest in projects that enable population and tax revenue growth through rehabilitation of vacant and blighted buildings and historic structures, rehabilitation and development of vacant properties and development of permanent place-based infrastructure associated with social zones and traditional downtowns, outdoor dining and place-based public spaces," Gillis said. "This grant requires at least a 50% match."

He said the application requires a resolution from the governing body and a letter of support signed by the highest elected official.

The estimated construction cost of the pool is $1.7 million. The city has applied for and was awarded a $300,000 grant for the pool in December 2021 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The city has also reapplied for $1 million through the second round of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Spark Grants.

"The plans for the new swimming pool were prepared by architect George Hartman with input from the city council, the Algonac Pool Advisory Committee, residents and staff," Gillis said. "The new pool is the same size as the existing pool. Proposed amenities include swimming lanes for exercise and swim team, a deep end, a zero-entry (area) with water features, heated pool water, new perimeter fencing, new pool equipment building, new decks, ramps and rails. The original 178,000-gallon pool was built in 1957."

A motion to approve the Algonac-Clay Library sign refurbishment by Murals & More in the amount of $800 was approved unanimously.

"The exterior sign at the Algonac-Clay Library is in desperate need of re-painting," Gillis said. "The Algonac-Clay Library maintenance agreement states, ‘Any expenditure in excess of $500 must be approved by the respective governing bodies of the city and township prior to expenditure.’"

He said Murals & More is the only qualified vendor who specializes in sign painting and refurbishing.

The council also discussed its fiscal year 2023-2024 budget, budget revisions and city meeting calendar.

"Resolution No. 2023-14 acknowledges the budget public hearing; authorizes the millage levy, fees and penalties; adopts the budget; authorizes the payment of bills; authorizes capital projects; requires financial reports to be provided to city council; requires budget monitoring, and sets the annual refuse disposal charge," Gillis said. "This budget projects a general fund negative net position for the year of $1,188,822 for the Lions Field swimming pool, bringing the fund balance to $1,872,724. All other funds have positive fund balances."

Council member Ed Carter made a motion to adopt Resolution 2023-14 for the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.

The council also unanimously approved a motion to approve the final fiscal year 2022-2023 budget amendment as presented.

Additionally, the council unanimously voted to adopt its fiscal year 2023-2024 city council meeting calendar as presented.

The meetings will take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month beginning at 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted. The first meeting in July will be scheduled for July 5 due to the Fourth of July holiday and the council will host its annual budget workshop on April 9.

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