Evart continues to meet demands for Project Rising Tide program grant

EVART — The Evart City Council heard updates on Monday, Oct. 3, about upcoming grants for the city, including Project Rising Tide.

Rising Tide is an initiative created by Gov. Rick Snyder meant to supply at-risk communities with tools to design and build a successful economic framework, and to also create a sustainable path toward economic stability and growth.

City Manager Zack Szakacs, City Treasurer Sarah Dvoracek and Public Works Director Mark Wilson recently attended a one-day session to hear from guest speakers about several topics including engagement strategies, talent pool and how to monitor the community’s progress for meeting the initiative’s funding criteria.

“It went well,” Szakacs said. “We are currently inputting our information into the MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) portal. We’re going to be continuing to do these type of things for the governor’s program as they come up.”

Szacaks also asked council members for permission to send out requests for bids for work to be done on the roof of city hall.

The city manager said he will have to check with the State Historical Preservation Office to see if it will allow the Evart Downtown Development Authority to attach the roof of its amphitheater to the roof of city hall.

“I may have to get with SHPO about this,” he said. “Basically, because this building is over 50 years, they may not let us attach the roof to our roof because of the historical value of our city hall.”

Council member Dan Elliott noted the importance of following SHPO’s guidance on the matter, as it also could affect future state and federal grants.

“If you don’t get their permission and violate that, it will follow you around every time you apply for a grant,” he said. “Those agencies do talk with each other and they will know.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, Dvoracek received permission from the council to submit the assessing audit recently completed by Mecosta County Equalization Director Shila Kiander to the State Tax Commission, along with a formal letter asking to delay the 2017 Audit of Minimum Assessing Requirements (AMAR).

In August, the city began work with Kiander so an audit could be done on the city’s assessing records after issues were found in records for Middle Branch and Hersey townships.

“We are going to be in the middle of the reappraisal,” Dvoracek said. “We’ll send the audit, the formal complaint and a letter stating our plan of action is for them to delay the AMAR audit until 2018.”

Council members also approved a motion to continue working with Michigan Rehabilitation Services at a cost to the city of $5,000 annually.

“We have a great relationship with Michigan Rehabilitation Services,” Szakacs said. “We had five kids and a coach out there to look over them working on keeping the community clean. They painted all the handrails and did a lot of work. Basically, the cost for our share is $5,000. If we were to hire 2 to 3 seasonal workers, it would cost $12,000 to $18,000.”

Mayor Casey Keysor and B.J. Foster were not present at Monday’s meeting.

The next city council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, at Evart City Hall, located at 200 S. Main St.