KLSWA Is "Out Of Compliance" With State Statute, Says Its Own Board Members
The local water treatment plant, Kalamazoo Lake Sewer and Water Authority (KLSWA), is “out of compliance” in accordance with state statute over its annual $2 million budget approval process, reported Douglas City Officials during Monday night’s meeting.
The authority operates and administers sanitary sewer and the wastewater treatment systems under agreements signed by the three communities, the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas and Saugatuck Township.
The member municipalities own their respective infrastructure for the systems and each have representation on the KLSWA board— two members for Saugatuck and Douglas, one for Saugatuck Township—who are responsible for, among other things, approving the budget.
“They (KLSWA and the KLSWA board) don’t provide budget information to the member units—the two cities (Saugatuck and Douglas) and the township (Saugatuck Township)—when they are supposed to.
“In fact, they don’t provide the budget at all. They don’t hold public meetings in accordance with the Michigan statute, don’t provide (water and sewer) rates (to the public) in advance,” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere about some of the flaws he and KLSWA Treasurer Martha Hoexter see in the way the board handles its budget process.
LeFevere is on the board representing Douglas along with Hoexter, a long-time serving authority board member and former longtime Douglas City Council member.
The authority board approved their budget on February 22 in a three-to-two vote, with Hoexter and LeFevere being the dissenting voices.
“They (the board) chose not to take into account my recommendations (to do their budget in accordance with state statute); they are out of compliance,” said LeFevere. “I am very unhappy about that, but we (Hoexter and I) were outvoted.”
KLSWA Manager Daryl VanDyke did not respond to calls from The Local Observer for comment and Saugatuck City Council Member Mark Bekken, who is president of the KLSWA Board, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Saugatuck City Council Member Barry Johnson, also a longtime member of the authority board, referred the matter to Bekken. However, in a brief statement, Johnson noted, “They (KLSWA) do post their meetings.”
Johnson further said he did not see any errors or mistakes in the (KLSWA) budget proceedings.
“I haven’t seen any changes since I’ve been there.”