Police Chief Vince Emrick addresses Adrian city commissioners at a work session before their Aug. 3 meeting.

Issues faced by APD include gang rivalries, increase in calls, decrease in applicants

Calls to the Adrian Police Department have risen dramatically during the past few years, police chief Vince Emrick told city commissioners during a work session before Monday’s commission meeting. Emrick showed commissioners a graph of how many calls for service the department has received each year since 2012, with estimates for 2015 based on call volume so far:

Year
Calls for service

2012
10,599

2013
12,591

2014
17,049

2015
 19,477 (estimate)

“As you can see, we’ve had a steady rise since 2012,” Emrick said. Part of the difference from 2012 to 2013 could be attributable to a better record-keeping system implemented at that time, but the number has continued to rise since then, he said. Emrick updated the commission on several recent incidents, including the Church Street shooting in July and the drug raids that came immediately before it. He said those incidents involved two rival criminal groups. Continue Reading

The site of a proposed Taco Bell on North Main Street.

Proposed Taco Bell snarled by state and federal red tape

City officials are growing frustrated with state and federal red tape that’s tying up plans for a new Taco Bell on the north side of Adrian. “We have run into some very interesting roadblocks that, when you are familiar with the property, don’t necessarily make sense,” city attorney Sarah Osburn said at Monday night’s city commission meeting. It all started because, in order to put an entrance onto North Main Street, developer Sundance Inc. needed to buy a small parcel of city-owned land in order to get the entrance far enough north to not cause problems with the intersection of North Main and Albert. The property the city is trying to sell is .27 acres of land adjacent to Island Park. When the city commissioned a title search — a normal part of selling a property — the title examiner discovered that the state of Michigan had a deed dating back to 1989 that entitled it to 70 percent of any mineral rights on the land. Continue Reading

Mayor Jim Berryman speaks at a study session before Monday's city commission meeting.

Mayor: “I think we’re in agreement here that people in the city of Adrian want Bohn Pool to be open”

Bohn Pool was one of several topics of discussion at the Adrian City Commission’s pre-meeting study session Monday night. City administrator Shane Horn presented commissioners with a preliminary look at the city’s 2015-16 budget. Although he stressed that it was still very much in the early stages, it didn’t look good. Even with eliminating most capital expenses, dipping into the city’s information technology reserves, and cutting about $100,000 from the library budget, early estimates still show the city facing a deficit. (Although a proposal on the May 5 ballot would spin the library off into its own separate entity, independent from the city’s budget, the city commission will need to pass a budget based on things being the way they are now.)

If the city takes back some responsibility for the operation of Bohn Pool — a possibility that came up because the YMCA of Lenawee County took a financial hit from running the pool last year — that could increase the deficit even more. Continue Reading

The front page of former city engineer Kristin Bauer's lawsuit against the city of Adrian and Adrian College.

City engineer’s whistleblower lawsuit could still be a year from resolution

The case of a former Adrian city engineer who says she was fired for displeasing Adrian College could still be a year away from legal resolution. Kristin Bauer, who was dismissed from her job in March, filed a whistleblower lawsuit on June 2, naming the city, Mayor Jim Berryman, city administrator Shane Horn, Adrian College, and college president Jeffrey Docking as defendants. The lawsuit is scheduled to come to trial exactly one year from today, on Jan. 12, 2016. The text of Bauer’s lawsuit and both defendants’ responses can be viewed below, but here’s a short summary of the controversy. Continue Reading

Adopt a bench

An adopt-a-bench sneak peek

While walking downtown just now, I caught city administrator Shane Horn and parks and engineering services director Todd Brown carrying one of the benches for Adrian’s adopt-a-bench program. The benches aren’t ready to be installed just yet, but they were taking this one from City Hall to the City Chambers Building, where people will be able to see it at tonight’s city commission meeting. Continue Reading

Ada and Dennis Marvin are pictured outside their store, White Elephant Flea Market & Consignment. The Marvins say a directive from the city to take down a banner they had been displaying outside the store has cost them 60 percent of their business.

Couple says Adrian’s sign ordinance could cost them their business

The owners of a local flea market say they’ve lost 60 percent of their business since being told that the banner outside their store was against city regulations. Dennis and Ada Marvin opened White Elephant Flea Market & Consignment at the beginning of May at 4650 West U.S. 223, across from the Carlton Lodge. The building is hard to see from the road because it’s set back about 200 feet, so not long after they opened, the Marvins had a red-and-white banner made to display on the lawn. The banner came down earlier this month after the Marvins were told it violated the city’s sign ordinance. Since then, they said, they’ve lost so much business that they could end up being forced to close. Continue Reading

In wake of Toledo water crisis, a shout-out to former city administrator for work on well field

Last weekend’s water crisis in Toledo — which affected about 125,000 locations in four counties and about 500,000 people — led Adrian city commissioner Jerry Gallatin to thank former city administrator Dane Nelson for his work on diversifying Adrian’s water supply. During comments at Monday’s city commission meeting, Gallatin said Nelson should be recognized for having the foresight to push for a second water source for the city, so that Adrian residents wouldn’t be wholly dependent on water from Lake Adrian. “At the time, I know it wasn’t a real popular decision with a lot of citizens,” Gallatin said, referring to the city’s Hamilton Highway well field, where four production wells now supply the majority of Adrian’s water. Current administrator Shane Horn agreed, calling it a “monumental decision” comparable to the decision in the early 1940s to create Lake Adrian. “Probably people thought they were crazy at that time,” he said. Continue Reading

speech-bubble-336x209

Tell your commissioners: What do you want to happen with Adrian’s local street millage? [with poll]

City officials are asking residents to weigh in on what should be done about Adrian’s local street millage, which expires next year. The millage has been in place since 1996 and was last renewed in 2005. It was originally levied for 1 mill, which means $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in taxable value, but due to the Headlee Amendment has declined over time to 0.9746 mills. A 1-mill levy generates about $365,000 per year in revenue at current property values. City administrator Shane Horn said the city receives money from the state gas tax to fund work on major throughways, and the local street millage pays for work on smaller roads used mainly by local traffic. Continue Reading

City Chambers Building

Police contract to result in 1% cost-of-living increase for city employees

A 1 percent cost-of-living increase for city employees is on the agenda for Monday night’s city commission meeting, following the approval of a new contract with officers in the Adrian Police Department. A new contract with officers represented by the Police Officers Association of Michigan was ratified during a special meeting June 30. That contract includes a 1 percent cost-of-living increase. The city’s contract with the firefighters’ union, which was ratified earlier in June, did not include any cost-of-living increase for firefighters, but did include a “me-too” clause stating that if any other employees received a cost-of-living adjustment, the firefighters would too. As a result, the increase for police officers will affect members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1511 as well. Continue Reading

Adrian city administrator Shane Horn speaks during an April city commission meeting.

City commission agenda includes administrator’s contract; read the complete agenda here

A contract for city administrator Shane Horn is one of the items on the agenda for Monday night’s Adrian City Commission meeting. Under the contract, which can be read in its entirety in the agenda packet posted lower in this story, Horn’s annual salary will be set at $98,303. This is $11,797 less than the rate he was paid while acting temporarily as both city administrator and utilities director, and also $11,797 less than his predecessor’s salary, according to a January story in The Daily Telegram. The contract states that Horn will work whatever hours are necessary for him to fulfill the requirements of the job, with 40 hours per week viewed as the minimum. It also includes a termination clause stating that if the commission ends his employment without cause, he must be given either six months’ notice or six months’ worth of pay and benefits, unless he secures other employment within that time. Continue Reading