SaultMIThere is one less member on the Sault, Michigan City Commission.  Jeff Stefanski’s resignation took effect following Monday’s meeting, where he briefly talked about his experiences during his seven years with the group.  He mentioned that he has always had the best interests of the city as the highest priority, as he proclaimed his innocence regarding the charges against him.  Stefanski was arrested last summer with sex-related offences and furnishing alcohol to a minor.  Commissioners accepted the resignation and after a brief recess did not comment any further on the matter.

City Commissioners approved a new collective agreement on Monday between the city and the Fire Fighters Bargaining Unit.  The three year deal is retroactive to July 2014 includes wage increases of 1.75 percent annually for 2014, 2015 and 2016.  The agreement also includes small increases in the general food allowance and pager pay.  There is also an adjustment in vacation time provided to employees of the bargaining unit who have completed more than 25 years of continuous service with the city.  This is being done so benefits are equal for employees within the bargaining unit regardless of when they are hired.   There were also adjustments to the contract language.  This includes candidates for a lieutenant position would need ten years of consecutive employment with the Fire Department rather than have three years of experience as an equipment operator and ten years overall consecutive experience within the department.  The contract also highlights the continuance this year of health care expenditure thresholds that were established by the City Commission in late 2014.

Part of the tree canopy in Sault, Michigan could be restored in the future.  An application is on the way requesting money from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with a deadline of this Monday.  Between 300 and 400 trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer would be replaced with two inch or smaller nursery stock trees. City Engineer Linda Basista told the Commission that there are plans to start replace trees over the next year and for the next two years after that. Sault Mayor Tony Bosbous described receiving the grant as an ‘excellent opportunity’ to do that. It’s expected to cost about 80 thousand dollars for that to happen — the minimum amount of a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant is 50 thousand dollars.