Monday, October 27, 2008

Community Events - October 29th

We have two exciting events taking place on October 29th. Thanks to Connie Allen, Office Coordinator for the Higgins Lake-Roscommon Chamber of Commerce, for providing the details on both events.

Please mark your calendar for October 29. Forest Dunes will be hosting area chambers for a Business After-Hours from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The Roscommon-Higgins Lake Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Annual Meeting at 7:00 p.m., which will include election of officers. There will be a $5 charge. Please come out and support your Chamber, meet area members, enjoy some delicious treats, and relax in the Clubhouse at Forest Dunes. You won’t be disappointed! Please RSVP by calling the Chamber at 989-275-8760.

The Roscommon County Fair Board will be hosting a Roast Beef Dinner Wednesday, October 29, 2008, serving from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at VFW Post 4159 (across from the Post Office). Dinner will include roasted beef with gravy, baked potatoes with sour cream, baked winter squash, green beans, Portuguese bread, beverage, and home baked desserts. Adults dinners are $7.00, children 5-10 years of age $5.00 and children under 5 are free.

Village Manager Report - Oct 27th

October 27, 2008

▪ The Wallace Park Bathrooms have been "winterized" and shut down for the season. The bathrooms will remain locked until spring.

▪ Connie Allen from the Chamber has invited everybody to an area Business After Hours Meeting on October 29th at Forrest Dunes starting at 5:30pm. Further information is located in the communication folder.

▪ The Road Soft Training session that Dave Hodges & I attended on October 16th was very beneficial. Without having any knowledge of how to operate the software going in, I was amazed at the simplicity and practicality of the software. While there are a lot of in-depth features in the program, I am more interested in incorporating our future road ratings into the software, which will help us plan for future road maintenance properly. I will keep the Council updated on our progress.

October 29th - Roscommon County Fair Board Dinner - VFW Hall - 4-7pm
October 29th - Business After Hours - Forrest Dunes - 5:30-8pm (Tom)
October 30th - RCED Meeting - 8am (Tom)
October 30th - NMCMA's Lunch - 12pm - Gaylord (Tom)
October 31st - HAPPY HALLOWEEN
November 2nd - Daylight Savings
November 3rd - Higgins Township Board Meeting - 7pm
November 4th - Election Day
November 10th - Village Council Meeting - 7pm

October 27th Meeting Agenda

October 27, 2008

1. Call to order, roll call of Council, Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation

2. Approval of the Regular agenda

3. Brief public comment on Regular Agenda items (Two minutes per speaker)

4. Approval of Consent agenda:
Minutes of the October 13, 2008 Regular Meeting, Bills to be paid and Checks written since last meeting.

5. Manager’s Report

6. Council Member reports

7. Unfinished Business:
Christmas in the Village - Electrical
Road Project
Master Plan
Recreation Plan

Sale of Industrial Park Property
Council Vacancy

8. New Business:
Holiday Change Request
Set Date for 2009 Budget Public Hearing
RMRA Request
Publishing Meeting Minutes
Rental Inspections

9. Public Acknowledgement (Two minutes per speaker)

10. Items for the next agenda:

11. Adjournment

Any Council member shall have the right to submit items for the regular agenda before it is approved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Park Bathrooms

We have officially closed the Wallace Park bathrooms for the season. They have been winterized, and we will keep everyone up to date on when they will open come springtime. All in all, the bathrooms and the timed locks were a success. However, feel free to e-mail me any suggestions you may have on ways we can improve Wallace Park and its facilities.

Tom Gromek
Village Manager

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Roadsoft Training

DPW Director Dave Hodges & I will be attending a Roadsoft workshop this Thursday in Mount Pleasant.

Roadsoft is a graphically designed, integrated roadway management system developed for Michigan's local agency engineers and managers to use in the analysis and reporting of roadway inventory, safety, and conditional data. Roadsoft uses the Michigan Accident Location Index (MALI) as a reference base.

This software is provided free of charge by Michigan's Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), located at Michigan Tech University.

This workshop will be a great start for both Dave & I to get familiar with the software, and show us how we can use this software to better manage our roads. Once we rate all of our village roads, we can then plug this data into Roadsoft and see how we should best spend our road money. No longer will we wait until a road is in such poor shape, that we have to totally reconstruct it. Instead, we can budget money each year for preventive maintenance, and keep our decent to above average roads in good condition. This will save the Village money, and improve the overall quality of our roads.

Meeting Agenda - October 13

Here is the agenda from last night's council meeting.

October 13, 2008

1. Call to order, roll call of Council, Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation

2. Public Hearing - Sale of Village Property - Jackie & Richard Bertsch

3. Approval of the Regular agenda

4. Brief public comment on Regular Agenda items (Two minutes per speaker)

5. Approval of Consent agenda:
Minutes of the September 22, 2008 Regular Meeting, Bills to be paid and Checks written since last meeting, and Treasurer's Balance Sheet as of 9-30-08.

6. Manager’s Report

7. Council Member reports

8. Unfinished Business:
Sheriff's Report
Sale of Industrial Park Property
Jim Tucker - Christmas in the Village
Road Project - Fleis & Vandenbrink (Jim & John)
Master Plan
Fire Wood Ordinance
Council Vacancy

9. New Business:
Recreation Plan

10. Public Acknowledgement (Two minutes per speaker)

11. Items for the next agenda:

12. Adjournment

Any Council member shall have the right to submit items for the regular agenda before it is approved.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Winter Heating Costs

This article was taken from the October 9th edition of the Houghton Lake Resorter. It contains useful reminders to help reduce your heating bill.

DTE Energy has tips on managing this winter's rising heating costs

With the heating season fast approaching- and with natural gas bills expected to rise- DTE Energy has a number of tips to help customers prepare their homes and their budgets for winter.

Some simple steps taken now can pay big dividends when temperatures start to plummet.

The following tips can help customers manage their energy costs and save money:

Budget wisely

DTE Energy's Budgetwise Billing program can take the seasonal ups and downs out of energy bills. DTE Energy will calculate an average monthly payment, based on your previous year's usage. You pay that amount for 11 months; the 12th bill of the year will reflect the difference between the energy you actually used and the 11 payments you made. Enroll online at or by calling (800) 477-4747.

Dial down

The best way to manage your energy costs is by using energy wisely. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save about three percent on your heating bill.

One way to accomplish this is with an automatic set-back or programmable thermostat, which can automatically lower the temperature when you're away from the house, and automatically increase it before you get home.

Homes with proper humidity levels will provide greater comfort at lower temperatures. When humidity is kept at a proper level- about 35 percent at 70 degrees- windows will not sweat and the air won't feel dry. Replace the humidifier pad or clean it of calcium deposits for best results.

Fine tune your furnace

Schedule a heating system check-up. A qualified heating contractor will make sure your heating system operates efficiently and delivers the maximum energy savings.

Clean or replace your furnace's air filters as needed during the winter season. Dirty filters block the warm airflow in the home, which causes the furnace to work harder and less economically.

Clean and vacuum ducts, vents and heat registers. Check heat registers to ensure that drapes or furniture do not block airflow.

Add insulation

Install attic and basement insulation to keep out drafts and make your home more energy efficient and warm. Adding blown cellulose on top of rolled fiberglass insulation will increase the insulation value of your attic.

Insulate all heating ducts located in attics and unheated crawlspaces, and make sure there are no leaks in your ductwork.

Place an insulation blanket around your hot water heater. Electric water heaters should be placed on an insulated surface, such as foam. Adjust water heater temperature to the warm setting (about 120 degrees F)

Let the sun shine in

Open curtains on south facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Be sure to close the curtains at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Keep the cold air out

and the warm air in

Seal windows and doors with caulk and weather stripping to block unwanted drafts. If caulk cracks and peels away, it allows your home's heat to escape.

Install a fireplace door to prevent cold air from entering your home. And, be sure to close the damper unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like having a window wide open during the winter. However, if you have a gas fireplace, the flue should be partially open to allow fumes from the pilot light to escape.

Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warm air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done their job. Energy efficiency forums provide

more money-saving info

DTE Energy is offering a number of free energy efficiency forums that will provide even more tips on how residents and businesses can reduce their energy usage. Vendors of energy efficient products will be on hand to talk about what's new in their industries, information will be available on energy efficiency rebates available from DTE Energy, and all attendees will receive a free gift.

The forums will be held Oct. 2 through Nov. 8 in these locations: Grosse Pointe Farms, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Northville, Auburn Hills, Novi, Detroit, Trenton, Monroe, Dearborn and Ann Arbor.

For information on the free energy efficiency forums or to register for an event go to or call (800) 477-4747. Advanced registration is encouraged.

Tom Gromek
Village Manager

The Grand Vision

Check out what Northwest Michigan is taking part in.

The Grand Vision is a citizen led land use and transportation study that will provide a framework for the next 50+ years of development in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Wexford counties.

What a cool concept! The public response appears to be tremendous. I think this is a great example of how the public wants to be involved and have a say in the future plans and goals of their city, county, & region.

Tom Gromek
Village Manager

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Planning Process

I am working extremely hard on getting our Master Plan & Recreation Plan both updated. These plans are "must-have" documents at a municipal level. Both of the above plans are outdated, and not usable as we approach 2009.

We also are at the beginning stages of developing a Capital Improvement Plan, in which all of the Village roads will be rated, and we can properly assess how and where to spend our road money. No longer will we wait til a road is in such poor shape, that complete reconstruction must take place. Instead, we want to utilize preventive maintenance techniques to extend the life of the road; therefore saving money in the long run.

I certainly realize economic times are tough here in Roscommon, in Michigan, and throughout the nation. And some may question the spending of dollars on the planning process, and is it really worth spending a good amount of money on these projects. How would these plans benefit the average Roscommon citizen?

Well, updated, current plans are necessary to be competitive and to be awarded grant money. When our recreation plan is updated and complete, we can apply for and be very competitive in the grant process to help improve Metro Park & Wallace Park. Possible ideas include new playground equipment, upgrades to the tennis courts, possible basketball courts, etc...

These plans will also give a chance for the public to express its opinion on the likes/dislikes of the Village, its services, and its park facilities. After all, all of us at the Village Hall want to make Roscommon a better place for all residents and visitors. We want to have future goals, consider future land use, and we want everybody to have an opinion and a say into how our community will proceed in the future.

Without set guidelines, goals, and plans, it makes it very difficult to make strides and improvements.

I am always happy to answer questions on any Village issue, including on planning. And keep tuned to this blog, the newspaper, and our Village Newsletter on ways you can be involved and have your opinion known as we proceed. It will take a whole community effort to make these plans a success!

Tom Gromek
Village Manager

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MML Conference Report
Mackinac Island, MI
October 1st - 3rd


Daniel Gilmartin
Dan emphasized that local officials need to think differently about their communities and think of new and creative directions for the future. Michigan will have to reinvest in its communities and diversify its economy. He also summarized the series of public policy forums conducted throughout the state the previous year. The major thing I took from this session was the need of making your community unique, thinking creatively, and understanding the needs of our future generations so we can benefit from the new generation workforce.

Promoting Active Communities (PAC)
Several speakers from the state level, along with community representatives, spoke of the benefits of physical fitness, and incorporating a healthy lifestyle mission into your community.

Ethics Quandaries
The new ethics handbook, published by the MML, was discussed and real life examples of ethical dilemmas were addressed. This new handbook is free and available to download on MML's website.

Rules for Public Meetings
This session focused on the Open Meetings Act, how to run meetings productively, and things to encourage or avoid regarding public meetings. City attorneys from Troy & Dearborn were extremely helpful in answering questions, and presenting court cases on situations where meetings were not run appropriately.

Mentoring Michigan Kids
Former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr and First Gentleman Daniel Mulhern led a discussion on mentoring our youth. They addressed the different ways individuals and communities can get involved and make a difference in the lives of children who are desperate for a positive mentor in their life.

Community Excellence Awards
Each of the 7 Michigan Regional Award Winners presented their community project. The City of Jackson (Region 2) was the overall winner. Elk Rapids won our region back in May. I have a booklet of the different projects available for everyone to see.

What can be applied to Roscommon?

- We can promote our major community project, the DDA Fa├žade Grant Program, and showcase it at the Region 6 meeting in May. I am currently working on a PowerPoint Presentation providing details about the project, showing before/after photos of the businesses, and emphasizing the positive impact it has had in Roscommon. The 2009 Region 6 Meeting is May 29th in Mackinaw City.

- We can fill out the necessary forms to get registered in the Michigan PAC Program. This will give us an evaluation of where we stack up to the rest of the state. Also, even more basic, the Village can help organize or promote walking/running days and locations throughout the warmer months. Also, encourage more walkability in our downtown area.

- We can help start a mentoring program, raise awareness for any existing local programs, and recognize individuals in our community who are making a difference in the live of others. Any ideas regarding ways we can accomplish this are appreciated.

- We can review the new Ethics Handbook and adopt our own ethics policy. While ethical issues may seem common sense, it is important to have a policy in place which sets certain guidelines for Village employees & council members.

- We can review the Open Meetings Act at a work session, and address any concerns or questions on the rules and proceedings of public meetings.

Tom Gromek
Village Manager

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back from Mackinac!

- Village President Jesse Carlson & I attended the MML Annual Convention on Mackinac Island last week. I will have more information very soon about the conferences sessions, and how what we learned can help the Village of Roscommon!

- Our 1st Budget Workshop is tonight at 7pm at Village Hall.

Tom Gromek
Village Manager