Gladstone: New officials take oaths

GLADSTONE – The newly-elected Gladstone city commissioners took their oaths and appointed Joseph Maki to become the city’s new mayor during a special reorganizational meeting held Monday night.

The meeting was immediately followed by a regular commission meeting.

Present at the meetings were Commissioner Matthew Gay, whose seat was not up for re-election on Nov. 5; reelected incumbents Hugo Mattonen and Maki; and the newly-elected Jay Bostwick. Dave Nemacheck, who was elected to a two-year term to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of former commissioner David Olsen in July, was not present Monday night but was sworn in prior to the reorganizational meeting by City Clerk Kim Berry.

“The previous commission worked very well together and I hope you gentlemen (Bostwick and Nemacheck) will be very good additions to … the commission, do good work for the city, that’s what we try to do for the citizens,” said Gay.

Following the recommendation of voters, the commission chose Maki to hold the position of mayor for the coming term. Mattonen was selected to lead commission meetings in Maki’s absence as the city’s mayor pro-tem.

After the presentation of the gavel to Maki, the city began its regular meeting which included the approval of a new electric department storage facility to construct a 40-by-60 foot building in the Bluff Industrial Park.

“The electric department has had equipment sitting outside for years. It sits out in the weather and the sun and the snow and it starts getting rusty,” said Tom White, electric department superintendent.

Two bids were received for the building, which will have a steel roof, steel sides, a gravel floor, and will be open on one side. EDGE Enterprises, LLC bid $56,800 to construct a steel structured building, and Westlund Building bid $36,900 to construct a building with a wooden structure.

“There’s advantages and disadvantages to both types of buildings but I think I’d recommend going to the wood structure since it is about 50 percent less and I think it should have a pretty good life expectancy on it,” said White.

According to White, if Westlund Building gets the concrete substructure into the ground the rest of the building can be constructed over the winter months.

The commission also accepted a bid for the South Hill Road signal project. The project will create a light at the top of the hill alerting drivers that a train is passing below.

“Part of the bid was that the whole project has to be done by Dec. 31, 2013,” said City Manager Darla Falcon.

The project has been a work in progress for the city. Last year the city received $39,000 from Canadian National Railroad for the project, $10,000 of which was earmarked for engineering. The city began working with the locally owned Wilcox Professional Services, LLC, which dissolved in March of 2013 after the city had invested $6,000 to engineer the project with the company.

With the engineering portion of the project unfinished, the city worked to get Scott Emmons, the original Wilcox engineer working on the project, now of OHM Advisors, back on board to finish engineering the signal light. Once Emmons had completed the engineering the project was put out to bid, and two bids were received.

J. Ranck Electric, LLC, a company based in Mount Pleasant with a Sault Ste. Marie office, bid $22,750 and was awarded the project. The only other bid received by the city was from Wright Electric, of Marquette, which bid $33,899.

“I think the city manager deserves a lot of credit for sticking on this one and there’s going to be a lot of happy people,” said Maki.