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Algonac City Council votes to form sewage treatment plant authority with Townships of Clay, Ira – The Voice

At the Algonac City Council meeting on April 5, council members took a step to form an authority with the townships of Clay and Ira to take over the day-to-day responsibility and operations of the mill. Wastewater.

“The St. Clair County Department of Public Works currently operates the Algonac, Clay and Ira Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Mayor Terry Stoneburner. “In recent years they have handed over the management of various services, such as pumping stations, water towers and lagoons, to the respective owners, such as Kimball Airport, Township of Clyde (the Department of Michigan Transportation), Berlin Township. , Emmett, Burtchville and Greenwood.

She said that in February, Algonac, Clay Township and Ira Township were advised that the county wanted to hand over management of the sewage treatment plant and that the DPW had advised them to form an authority to resume operations as soon as possible. as possible, preferably by August. 31.

“Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes Law Firm has provided labor services to Clay Township satisfactorily in the past,” she said. “This firm also specializes in the creation of management authorities. Their references have been checked and all speak very well of them.

The cost of creating the authority would be shared between the three communities.

“The city attorney supports the use of a specialized attorney, and then the city attorney will review the final documents,” Stoneburner said. “Most water and wastewater treatment plants are managed by an authority. Algonac and Clay also discussed the possibility of creating a water authority during this process as well.

She said it is proposed that $5,000 be added to this year’s budget and $5,000 to next year’s budget for attorney fees.

Council Member Corey Blair moved a motion to approve the Municipal Wastewater Authority Commitment Letter with Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes to facilitate the formation of a municipal authority with Algonac, the Township of Clay and the Township of ‘Will go to the amount of $10,000 and authorize the City Manager to sign the proposal on behalf of the City.

City manager Denice Gerstenberg said the communities chose to work with Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes because he had specialist knowledge of creating authorities.

“There aren’t many law firms that necessarily do this type of work, and because Clay Township has had a successful relationship with them, not with the authorities, but with labor relations, the three of us, Clay , Ira and Algonac, all talked and I thought, “Let’s check their credentials and see if they would be a good company to do this authority for us,” she said. “I called their references and all of their references spoke very, very well about them, so I felt comfortable recommending the board move forward.”

She noted that the sewage treatment plant is currently funded by user fees that the city then pays to the county to operate it. Instead, the fee would go to the authority to perform it.

“The factory is currently owned by the county, and as part of the formation of the authority, they will turn it over to the authority,” she said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Bembas asked if the authority would be able to run the plant for less to save money.

“I think it’s too early to tell,” Gerstenberg said. “At the moment it’s just a matter of changing who runs it, so it could be the same cost.”

Bembas asked when the council could find out if the cost of running the plant will be more, less or the same.

“This is just the beginning,” Gerstenberg said. “We have never had the experience of an authority in this community before, so by working with the attorney and working with all three entities, we will be able to find more information.”

In a letter from Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes included in council’s agenda, member Christopher Patterson noted that the firm currently represents Clay Township in matters outside the scope of authority and may represent the township. related to the question. He said that if any conflicts arise, the firm would disclose the conflicts and withdraw from representing one or more of the parties involved.

“I like that he addressed conflict of interest because they worked with Clay, but it wasn’t on an authority contract, it was for labor relations,” Stoneburner said. “I like that they already have the process in place so we don’t have to wonder what would happen if something like this happened. So I’m glad it’s out of hand.

The board voted unanimously to approve the motion. Council member Cathy Harris was absent.