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Escanaba approves retirement changes

ESCANABA — Escanaba City Council members approved changes to the city’s participation agreement with the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) of Michigan Thursday.

The changes, which are being made as a result of City Manager Patrick Jordan’s new contract, were previously discussed at council’s Nov. 21 regular meeting. The contract includes a contribution of $12,500 — 10 percent of Jordan’s current salary — to a 457 deferred compensation account paid by the city, and the agreement with MERS needed to be amended to allow for these employer contributions.

During the Nov. 21 meeting, a decision on the changes was postponed at the request of Council Member Tyler DuBord. At the time, DuBord wanted to review Jordan’s new contract before making changes to the MERS agreement.

Discussion resumed at Thursday’s meeting. DuBord said he had no issues with the changes.

“I did look it over — everything looked legit and written properly, so I have no problem with it,” he said.

Council Member Ralph Blasier felt similarly.

“We’re obligated to do this,” he said.

In other business, council:

– approved dates for its regular public meetings in 2020. Council will continue to meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

– agreed to enter into a one-year contract agreement for professional Employee Assistance Program services through Hallfrisch Counseling & EAP Services, PLLC, at a cost not to exceed $6,080. The contract will be reviewed annually by council as part of the city’s budget.

– voted in favor of obtaining professional photography services and aerial photos from Escanaba business ReCompose Media in the amount of $2,200. The photos will be used for the city’s new website.

– approved a resolution requesting that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer consider declaring the State of Michigan’s shoreline a disaster area due to high water levels. The resolution also encouraged Whitmer to seek financial assistance from the federal government.

– considered amendments to five chapters of the city’s zoning ordinance on first reading. Second readings and public hearings for the amendments, which are meant to bring the ordinance up to date, were set for the board’s Dec. 19 regular meeting.

– passed a resolution to abolish a brownfield plan for UP Enterprises at 2600 Ludington St. The abolishment was proposed because the project the brownfield plan was adopted for has been completed.

– approved an ordinance correcting a clerical error in the city’s existing wind energy ordinance on second reading.

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