NEW BUFFALO — Pleasure Isle Marina in New Buffalo’s harbor has a new owner and a new manager.
The New Buffalo Township Board finalized the township’s purchase of Pleasure Isle Marina on Dec. 17, and hired Julie Flick as the marina manager during its Dec. 21 meeting.
A boater herself, Flick was the Berrien County Sheriff’s lieutenant who headed the New Buffalo Township patrol until her retirement last June. True to her word, Flick took the summer off before finding her new assignment which will pay $200 per month and $15 per hour.
The 26-slip marina was purchased by the township from the William J. Deputy Endowment Fund for $500,000 over six years. The marina’s value has been estimated at $3 million with estimated annual revenues of $136,000.
In another Dec. 21 matter, Brian Hake, auditor with Kruggel & Lawton, gave the township the highest rating for the 2019-20 audit. He noted the township had a “healthy” $924,000 general fund balance equal to 10-months of expenditures, although down from the previous year’s 14-month balance. Hake attributed the “significant” $826,000 decrease in funds due to large investments during the year, including the Exit 1 lighting and landscape improvements. He noted both the water and sewer funds showed slight increases.
The Township Board approved a resolution beginning the process of creating a public safety special assessment district. Superintendent Michelle Heit said such a district will replace the need to pass public safety millages. She said a public hearing will be held in January.
Permission was approved to seek an Economic Development Authority grant to fund the $300,000 Union Pier trailhead parking lot and improvements, with the township’s 50 percent match to be funded by The Pokagon Fund grants. The board also approved an $87,000 proposal from Prein & Newhof for engineering and design services for a $1.3 million project to upgrade three lift stations to submersible design.
During his monthly report, Lt. Ryan Sullivan of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department noted there have been a number of thefts of small water craft. He also described a “head scratcher” that involved the nighttime shooting of a hand gun through a residential window near Wilson Road with no known motives or suspects.
Fire Chief Jamie Flick once again reminded residents to have their chimneys cleaned to avoid fires and said smoke detectors are available at Township Hall.
Several appointments were made during the meeting, including: Ron Oselka and Ron Farina to the Corridor Improvement Authority Board; Kathie Butler, Martha Ondrus and Dorothy Palen to the Board of Review; Shawn Armstrong and Vernon Levine to the Planning Commission; Heit and Judith Zabicki to the Pine Grove Cemetery Board; Zabicki to The Pokagon Fund; Pete Rahm to the Local Revenue Sharing Board and Zoning Board of Appeals and Patty Iazzetto to the Planning Commission. Heit also was designated as state emergency management liaison.
Resident John McKanin said he has been interested in buying the lot at 10270 Townline Road which has been discussed as a possible parking lot for beachgoers. He has lived immediately adjacent to the lot for 10 years and wants it as a buffer to neighbors. He said he is not interested in building on the lot but only to clean it up so it is not such an eyesore. The lot was recently purchased by the township in a tax sale.
In other Dec. 21 business, the Township Board:
Approved the first payments to contractors for the Public Safety Building including $369,000 to Gibson Lewis; $241,500 to CPM Construction; $39,000 to Kalamazoo Mechanical, and $42,000 to Buist Electrical.
Renewed its contract with the City of New Buffalo for extraterritorial fire service.
Approved payment to Brooks Architecture for $60,000 for work on the public safety building;
Accepted bids for public safety building equipment, including $7,700 from Motorola Solutions for the radio system, $34,000 from Tiffin Metal Products for lockers, $3,000 from Moses Fire Equipment for gear racks and $47,500 from Metro Business Interiors for furniture.
Heit ended the meeting with words in memory of New Buffalo City Manager David Richards who died Dec. 12 after battling COVID-19. Heit said Mr. Richards was wonderful to work with and will be missed.