1 21 Buller File Photo

Three Oaks Police Chief Dennis Buller (right) swears in Kennedy Arney (left) as an honorary member of the Police Department prior to the 2018 Flag Day Parade.

THREE OAKS — The Three Oaks Village Council on Jan. 13 accepted the resignation of Police Chief Dennis Buller.

Village President Richard Smith read the following from a letter received on Jan. 2:

“Consider this my official letter of resignation as police chief of the Village of Three Oaks. This is effective immediately.”

Graziano said he appreciates Buller of the amount to time he has put in serving the community (a sentiment echoed by several others on the council).

“We’re very thankful for his service,” Graziano said.

Village Manager Dan Faulkner said the next step is to place advertisements in print, on websites such as the Michigan Municipal League’s site, and to post notices on the village website.

He said candidates will be interviewed by Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey, Richard Smith and himself.

He said the will “review the applications, the resumes, and then ultimately the president appoints and then council approves.”

Also on Jan. 13, the Council agreed to increase pay by $1 per hour for village employee Nathan Smith.

Village Manager Dan Faulkner said he reached out to Smith (a Street Department employee who has worked for the Water and Sewer Department and has the state license required to serve as lead operator at the village’s treatment facility) after Quentin Clark resigned to take a job in Niles, Mich.

He said the plan is to have Alex Keen of the Water and Sewer Department to take tests this spring to begin the process of qualifying for the needed licensing (licensed lagoon operator license and water operator license) to become lead operator. Smith would then serve as backup operator.

“I think it would be great fit if we can get him to test and move up in the Water and Sewer Department,” Faulkner said.

He noted that it will likely take at least a year to a year and a half to get all of the required lenses.

A discussion of what Village Council member Colleen Newquist described as “a grow operation interested in purchasing Enterprise Park” (an undeveloped property covered by an agreement between Three Oaks Township and the village) included Faulkner noting that the township and a marijuana company “are working on an agreement.”

“I don’t know exactly where they’re at on it,” he added.

Faulkner said the “425” agreement between the two municipalities (the township is considered the property owner) calls for them to split the cost of utilities going to that property.

“That becomes a big issue because, based on what the demand or need is of that facility, it could be quite expensive but we don’t know what they’re going to need right now.”

While discussing the most recent Downtown Development Authority meeting, the subject of feral cats in the village came up. It was noted that ongoing efforts to live-trap and spay or neuter more than 50 felines seem to be working because no kittens or unfamiliar adult cats have been spotted recently.

In other Jan. 13 business, the Three Oaks Village Council:

Were told by Newquist reported that the Planning Commission on Jan. 5 discussed a proposed rezoning of the property at 23 West Ash St. from R-1 residential to commercial before the property owner asked planners to table the proposal with some type of a conditional rezoning request expected for the next meeting.

Heard from Council member Tyler Ream (also a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee) that the village did not receive a state grant for improvements and additions to Watkins Park. He also said a member of the public wishes to donate an ice rink to the village but it won’t happen this year.

Approved a body-worn camera policy for the police department (which Faulkner said was modeled on Chikaming Township’s policy).

Faulkner said flushing hydrants in the village seems to eliminate “smelly water” complaints.

It was announced that Tom Flint has volunteered to be a member of the village Public Service Committee.

Faulkner said the village is going to begin inspecting long-term rental properties in addition to short-term ones.

Discussed forming a temporary committee to help choose a new email provider and set-up for the village and to address a redevelopment ready communities evaluation baseline report for the village (naming Tyler Ream, Newquist and Joe Hinman as members).

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