03/16/2018–The Menominee City Finance Committee passed a motion to recommend to the City Council that the city no longer accept any donations or contributions from Aquila Resources. Finance Committee Chairman Frank Pohlman made the motion, which was seconded by Mayor Jean Stegeman. The vote was 3-1 in favor with Pohlman and Stegeman joined by Alderman Steve Fifarek in supporting the motion. Alderman Bill Plemel voted no.
Pohlman says as the city debates its stance on the mine, it would be inappropriate to accept contributions from Aquila. Plemel argued there isn’t a conflict because the city has nothing to do with the mine permitting process. The ban would include donations to the Waterfront Festival or Recreation Department activities.
The Finance Committee asked City Manager Tony Graf to trim down the requests on the Capital Projects list. The list, compiled by city staff and recommended by the Planning Commission earlier this week, contains $1.3 million dollars in items that would come from the city’s general fund. Committee Chairman Frank Pohlman says that amount could cut too deeply into the city’s fund balance, which is about $2.5 million. Graf agreed that the fund balance needs to be kept around $2.2 million. He defended the process by saying its useful to list all the requests from department heads, the public, and organizations, but he will work on prioritizing the requests, and have a trimmed down list to present to the committee when they next meet on April 3rd.