BARODA — Baroda Village Council members plan to buy a buzzer system and magnetic locking door for the village office after a belligerent resident confronted village Clerk Tina Martin over a water bill.
Council President Bob Getz on Monday said the man called Martin “every name in the book.” Martin, alone in the office at the time, eventually called 911, and the man left before police arrived, Getz added.
“It’s happened twice” in recent months, village Ordinance Officer Bill Tucker told the council.
Members voted unanimously to buy the locking door and buzzer system. However, Trustee Don Turney said the village should coordinate its office security efforts with Baroda Township, as the two municipalities share an office and meeting building.
Open Meetings Act
Also Monday, the council agreed to buy a used salt truck for $6,000. Trustee Mike Price, however, felt the purchase violates the Michigan Open Meetings Act and voted no.
The village spent $370 to repair the door of the old salt truck, and the “very next day the four-wheel drive went out,” Getz told the council. He said Trustee Leonard Krone put him in touch with a friend who was willing to sell his salt truck, but needed an immediate decision, Getz continued.
Getz said he phoned each council member to get consent, though he was unable to contact Trustee Larry Nye.
“I needed an answer,” Getz said after the meeting. He said a lawyer some time ago had told him such actions were permissible.
The Michigan Open Meetings Act says all decisions of an elected body must be made in a meeting open to the public. However, a member may conduct “an informal canvas … to find out where the votes would be on a particular issue … so long as no decisions are made during the discussions and the discussions are not a deliberate attempt to the avoid” the Open Meetings Act, according to the state’s Open Meeting Act Handbook.
“I can understand why you did it,” Turney told Getz. But Price wasn’t convinced. Asked after the meeting to explain his vote, Price replied, “Because it’s illegal.”
Voting yes were Getz, Turney, and Trustee Larry Nye. Krone was absent from the meeting, along with trustees Ed Rath and Steve Jasper.
In other matters, the council approved the language for a proposed ordinance on requiring “Knox boxes” for new commercial buildings, but without approving the ordinance itself. The boxes contain keys for commercial offices or stores and are designed to let firefighters get in to put out a fire or stop a water leak without breaking down a door.
The council wants to coordinate with the Baroda Township Board on the matter.
“I’m not opposed to putting it into new construction, but I’ve got mixed feelings about it myself,” Nye said. He said he trusts the firefighters, but the ordinance would result in a lot of keys being out there.
The council also approved $250 Christmas bonuses for each of the village’s four employees. Last year’s bonus was $200.
The council approved a $28,703 bill from Kalin Construction and a $24,364 bill from Wightman for work on the village’s Industrial Park.