2011-12-15 / Front Page

Ostling approaches Village council regarding contract concerns

By Krista Tacey

Higgins Lake Landscaping co-owner Jim Ostling has been on the Roscommon Village Council agenda since Nov. 28 waiting to address Trustee Joan Murphy regarding comments she had made during the Nov. 14 meeting.

During the Dec. 12 meeting, Ostling was able to ask Murphy her concerns with the sidewalk snow removal contract the council approved during the Nov. 28 meeting after if failed to be passed during the Nov. 14 meeting.

Ostling said “She (Murphy) made the statement we should have never gone into this contract and that there had been problems from the beginning.” He added he had asked for clarification at the time the statement was made however, he was not given permission to address the board at that time. In order to properly address Murphy, Ostling requested to be placed on the agenda. Ostling said Higgins Lake Landscaping has held a snow removal contract with the village for the last four years.

“If there are issues out there I need to know about them,” Ostling said. “I went so far as to make a request of the village for any correspondence...that said that we were doing something wrong or that there was some sort of a problem.”

He added after the contract was denied the first time he received two phone calls asking how he had “screwed up” the snow removal contract and has concerns that several other people think he had done something wrong to not have the contract awarded the first time.

Ostling said his only request was to find out why Murphy had made the comments. Village Council President Erine Adams responded by saying “there has absolutely been no complaints or concerns that I’m aware of” regarding issues with the quality of service.

Adams said that snow removal is only “to create a walkable path” for people and not to clear the walks for businesses. She added Murphy’s problem was the way the bid was advertised and how the village “had rushed into the contract the first year” it was approved.

Murphy’s response to Ostling’s concerns was “I have been advised not to speak with Mr. Ostling on this matter or anyone else.”

Ostling said the comments made “had a direct influence” on his business and he wants the public to know his business cares about the community and about one third of his employees live in the village. He added that if there are issues in the future he hopes they are directly addressed when the issues comes up.

Adams apologized for any harm that was done to his business as a result of rebidding and comments made by council members.

Ostling was unable to address Murphy during previous meetings as the Dec. 12 meeting was the first Murphy has attended since Nov. 14.

In other news, Roscommon Downtown Development Authority President Jim Anderson was asked by Adams to give an overview of what the DDA does and how it is part of the community.

Anderson told the council the purpose of the DDA is “to enhance the tax base within the district” and to “promote commerce.”

He said annually there is about $250,000 of taxes captured by the DDA to complete projects within the community.

“If there wasn’t a DDA, money wouldn’t be captured and projects couldn’t have been done,” Anderson said.

Anderson listed some of the projects the DDA has completed in the past. He said several business facade projects have been completed as well as the railroad streetscape downtown.

“One hundred percent of what we capture goes right back into the community,” Anderson said.

Adams explained that she wanted those in attendance to understand what the DDA was and how the DDA and village work together.

Anderson said the key to keep the DDA and village moving forward together is communication and added the DDA is really “part of the village.”

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Dec. 27.

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