County prosecutor to take over Esky misdemeanors

ESCANABA — The City of Escanaba will hand off the responsibility of prosecuting misdemeanor offenses that happen within the city limits to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office following the approval of a $25,000 annual contract Thursday night.

The primary drive for transferring the role of prosecuting misdemeanors to the county was the various other legal roles of incoming city attorney, John M.A. Bergman, of Nastoff & Bergman, P.C. For example, Bergman, who has an extensive history as a defense attorney, would be unable to prosecute cases if he or his firm were assigned by the court to act as the defense in those cases.

“Talking to Rob LaMarche, (Escanaba Public Safety) Chief LaMarche, about it, to enforce our ordinances effectively, our misdemeanors, the current county prosecutor would do a really good job,” said City Manager Patrick Jordan.

For the current fiscal year, the city had $75,000 budgeted for misdemeanor prosecution. Jordan noted the city would probably go over that amount slightly prosecuting its own cases.

In other business Thursday, the city

– approved the implementation of a local pavement warranty program. The program only affects projects using state or federal funding that also include $2 million or more in paving related components. Department of Public Works Superintendent Bob Becotte said the city will probably never complete a project large enough to qualify, but the city is now required to have the program in place by the state.

– held a public hearing on a paving project including curb and gutter slated to take place on South 32nd Street from 3rd Avenue South to the existing pavement 510 feet southeast. No members of the public spoke at the hearing. A second hearing on the project and proposed special assessment was set for the June 6 regular council meeting.

– transfered the ownership of property and the concession stand at the Escanaba football field to Escanaba Area Public Schools through a quit claim deed.

– discussed the city manager, clerk, and assessor evaluation procedure. The city manager will evaluate the other two city employees and present those reviews to the council for review. The council will look at two evaluation rubrics for the manager and make a decision at the next regular council meeting on how to proceed with his review.

– discussed a service agreement with the Sault Tribe Housing Authority. The city provides services to a housing development owned by the tribe, and in exchange is paid $150 per dwelling annually. Due to some of the contract’s language, the agreement’s approval was tabled.