Village delays budget amendments, KDPS voices staffing concerns

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Officially, the Kalkaska Village Council approved its 2018-19 budget in late February.

Even then, however, council members announced that numerous budget amendments were to be proposed in the following weeks, hopefully as the village learned the fate of efforts to settle as many as three ongoing lawsuits with current and former employees over a 1996 letter of understanding that they would receive lifetime health insurance benefits.

But, as of the council’s regular meeting Monday, April 9, the budget amendments have still yet to be proposed. At the same time, village officials are still waiting to see if mediation with the three remaining plaintiffs – former village manager/police chief Melvin Hill, former employee William Ramsey and current administrative assistant Helen Chew-Artress – might end in a settlement, rather than the opposing sides going to trial.

“We had good intentions,” said trustee Penny Dupuie, former chairwoman of the council’s Finance Committee, regarding the amendments. “(But) it all fell apart.”

Trustee Damien White, who is still a member of the Finance Committee, said the committee will present its recommendations to the full council at the “earliest available time.”

“There’s plenty of other fires to put out,” he added.

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