Bekken Receives Thanks From Douglas City Officials For 19 Years On Fire Department Board
The City of Douglas honored Gerald Bekken for his long-time service representing the city on the Saugatuck Township Fire District (STFD) board
Douglas officials called a brief recess during Monday’s meeting for coffee and cookies following the presentation of a proclamation of appreciation plaque and photo op.
“I don’t know who will now be the one to call the meetings adjourned,” said STFD Board Chair Jane Verplank jokingly, but with gratitude.
“He was a great board member and was committed all these years. There are not too many people that would do that kind of service,” said Verplank, also a Saugatuck City Council Member.
“Thank you all,” said Bekken about the recognition he received from the city officials.
Bekken served on the fire board since May 1997 until his recent resignation. In years past, he was a fireman as well as Douglas postmaster.
“He worked the big pavilion fire (as a fireman),” Douglas resident Rob Surina shared with the public Monday night, referring to the fire that consumed the Big Pavilion in Saugatuck on May 6, 1960.
The massive dance hall opened on July 4, 1909, hosting live music and dancing during the summers. It stood between what is now The Butler and Coral Gables, and also featured a roller-skating rink and movie theater that sat 700 people.
“I was talking to Jerry about older models of firetrucks, ones where you would hang on the back of the truck and there was a crank on the side (to draw water out),” said Douglas Mayor Jim Wiley. “Things have come a long way. Thank you very much, Jerry.”
In other city business, Douglas council adopted the general appropriations act for the fiscal year July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.
The estimated general fund revenue, including a charter operating millage of 13.0818 mills, and other miscellaneous revenues totals $3,090,800.
The projected $3 million budget constitutes a more than $200,000 general fund increase from last year as a result of tax revenue being up $80,000 from last year and the city receiving an additional $130,000 from Saugatuck for its portion of the police pension payment Douglas is going to make, according to Douglas City Treasurer Robert Drexler.