At its meeting on Monday, Dec. 4, the Hillsdale City Council discussed the emergency preparedness of the city and its finances. A local woman also spoke on fracking during general public comment.
City Manager Linda Brown first addressed the issue of approving the Hillsdale County Hazard Mitigation plan. Brown said that the Plan had already been approved by FEMA and the Hillsdale County Board of Directors, and required only the council’s approval for implementation.
“It mostly concerns energy emergencies, snow and ice storms, tornadoes, and other events we’d have to deal with in Hillsdale,” Brown said.
Councilperson Mary Wolfram said that she was concerned with the possibility of additional costs.
“Please tell me that this plan doesn’t commit us to any major investment,” she said.
Brown said that it’s mostly to render Hillsdale eligible for possible FEMA funding, and to mitigate potential disaster damage intensifiers, such as vulnerable power lines.
“It’s more preventive than reactive,” Mayor Doug Moon said.
Council approved the plan, 8 – 0.
Later, Nancy Barton of accounting firm Willis & Jurasek delivered an audit report of Hillsdale’s finances to the council. Barton said that all of the city’s accounting was in accord with generally accepted accounting practices, and that the city’s general fund had a $1.2 million balance – 27% of annual fund expenditures. These positive statistics, she said, bode well for Hillsdale.
“It makes our job easier and speaks well to your organization.”
Near the end of the meeting, during general public comment, Reading Township resident Karen Scugoza spoke to the council on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a technique for extracting previously inaccessible underground oil and natural gas reserves. Scugoza said the process has health and environmental benefits that residents of Michigan should not want to see in their state and communities.
“Do we the people of Hillsdale county volunteer ourselves to be the guinea pigs in this experiment?” she asked.
Specifically, Scugoza said that fracking both requires millions of gallons of water for operation and taints even the water supply it doesn’t use.
“Water is our most precious resource,” she said.
The net effect of allowing fracking in Michigan, she said, would be devastating.
“Goodbye to Pure Michigan,” she said.
Scugoza said that, while existing fracking enterprises in Michigan cannot be stopped, state residents can try to stop new ones from developing.
“There are things that communities can do to discourage companies from coming into their areas.” firstname.lastname@example.org