By Sterling McGinn

This fall, the Village of Newberry will host two recycling events for residents—one for scrap tires and the other for used electronics.

The information regarding the upcoming events were discussed at the August regular meeting of the Newberry Village Council, which took place on Tuesday, August 15 at 6 p.m. in the Water and Light building.

The tire recycling event will be held on Saturday, September 23. The village received a $3,000 grant from EGLE earlier this year to fund the scrap tire collection day. The tires have to be residential type without the rims.

The Village is waiting to receive the rest of the information, including times, from the company they are partnering with.

The electronic recycling event will take place on a Saturday in October; however, an exact date has not been picked. The Newberry News will announce times and other information in future issues.

In other news, village manager Allison Watkins reported that she is still waiting to hear from the State of Michigan if the village will receive the funds that they requested to replace the lead service lines, old water mains, and the water tower.

The village requested $10.5 million from the 2024 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

“I am happy to report that we are ranked in the top 20 percent of the applications,” explained Watkins. “Last year, we were ranked in the bottom 20 percent. We have a much better chance of getting funded this year.”

A number of the communities requesting funds received the same score as Newberry. “They will take everybody that got a score of 80 and reevaluate the project and do what they call a tiebreaker discussion,” Watkins said. “That is where they will bump people up and down on the list—the hope is that because we are significantly overburdened, that we will get bumped up further on the list.”

The village will likely hear if they will receive funding in October or November.

Watkins also updated the board that evening on the ongoing Pentland vs. Newberry sewer litigation.

“The mediation with Pentland is currently scheduled for October 20 at 9 a.m. at the Pentland Township Hall,” said Watkins. “That is to try to come to an agreement on payment for the delinquent bills.”

Pentland Township owes the Village of Newberry approximately $500,000 in unpaid sewer bills, Watkins said.

Pentland Township submitted a final settlement offer in December of last year, which was unanimously rejected by the village council in January of this year.

“They owe us a significant amount of money,” said Watkins. “They are collecting money from their customers to pay us, and they are not paying us. [Pentland customers] are paying their sewer bills and that money is not making it to the people who are providing the wastewater treatment services.”

In the meantime, the proposal to construct a sewer lagoon system in Pentland Township has been a topic of discussion for over a year at Pentland board meetings. “I don’t know if Pentland residents have been informed of what it is going to cost to put in a sewer lagoon and how it will raise their rates,” Watkins said.

“Even if they go forward with this lagoon system they are talking about, they still owe us that money,” said village trustee Lori Stokes.

The last time the village received payment from Pentland Township was in 2020 for the sum of $50,000.

The litigation originated from a lawsuit filed in the Luce County Circuit Court in September of 2019 by the Pentland Township Board to resolve ongoing disputes over billing and other wastewater related issues.

Also approved that night was the payment of the monthly village payables and a sole source procurement for Norris Construction to pave a section of East Helen from a sewer repair.