Cable proposal to council

NEGAUNEE – The Negaunee City Council will hear a proposal to buy the city’s cable TV and internet system at its meeting today.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Negaunee Senior Center.

Nick Visser, the owner of Intechs IT Solutions, made a proposal to the ad hoc committee last week to buy the city’s system for $1,000. Visser, who was elected to the city council in November as a write-in candidate, also tendered his resignation at that meeting to avoid accusations of conflicts of interest. The ad hoc committee has recommended that the city pursue the sale, and Visser will make his proposal to the full council tonight.

City Manager Jeff Thornton stressed that just because the ad hoc committee has recommended that the council pursue the sale – and even if the full council moves to pursue the sale – there will be a lot of due diligence done by the city, with a lot of future negotiations between Intechs and the city attorney over the exact terms of any potential sale.

A previous article in The Mining Journal about the proposed sale of the cable system mentioned suggestions and concerns that the system was worth about $3 million. However, an examination of the cable fund’s balance sheet shows that the current equipment has a worth of roughly $578,000, but an accumulated depreciation of a little more than $586,000 – meaning that the equipment has depreciated more than it’s worth. The fund’s other assets – a nearly $63,000 vehicle and a $50,000 emergency cash reserve – will not be part of any sale, according to Thornton.

The city council will also decide whether to formally accept Visser’s resignation, as well as how to pursue filling his vacant seat. Thornton recommends that the city advertise for qualified applicants for the post, which would be due April 3, and the council would make an appointment at its April 10 meeting.

The other option is to hold a special election in August that Thornton estimates would cost about $6,000, for which the city has not budgeted.

Also at today’s meeting, Jen Tucker of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will give a short presentation to the council about grants and other funding opportunities available to the city and downtown property owners for revitalization efforts.