Sign of times: Walbridge feeling blue

WALBRIDGE – Forget going green, the village will have a blue look to it soon.
At Wednesday’s meeting, council approved buying a sign machine for $3,995 from Bren Inc., College Grove,
One of the main uses for the machine will be creating new street signs for Walbridge. Instead of the
typical green, they’ll be done in blue, said Councilman Ed Kolanko, who is chairman of the streets
The machine can be used to make new street signs, among others, for the village, he said. Buying a
machine is more affordable than purchasing each sign as needed, Kolanko said.
Many signs in the village, he said, are either bent, missing or out of compliance.
Council unanimously approved the purchase.
Kolanko was council president pro-tem for the meeting. Council President Maureen Jacobsen was acting
mayor; Mayor Dan Wilczynski was absent.
The sign machine is a purchase council has talked about making for awhile. Councilman Warren Byington
said he hoped council would take up another long-discussed project, constructing a new storage building.

In January, council approved the specifications for the building, which would be approximately 40 feet by
70 feet and cost about $200,000. It had been expected to be completed by the end of the year. The
building is needed to hold about $2 million worth of village vehicles.
Byington said it was briefly discussed in Wednesday morning’s meeting of the finance
(See WALBRIDGE on 5)
committee, which he leads. He said there has been "talking and talking and talking for four
years" about the project, but it hasn’t been done.
He expects it will be addressed in detail at special meeting Saturday to discuss the budget. It is set
for 9 a.m., expected to last two hours and open to the public.
In a safety committee meeting, chairman John Scaife said they addressed several issues, including using
the patrol cars differently, curfew soliciting and One Call Now.
He expects changes need to be made in the village’s "simple" ordinance regarding soliciting
around town. There have been several complaints about salespersons and the committee is looking at
making the ordinance stricter. "I think with today’s vendors out there we need to take a closer
look at this for the safety of the community," Scaife said.
The committee is also asking the police chief to stop using the cruisers to run radar during busy times
in the village, mainly Friday and Saturday nights. "We want to see the police out there with more
appearance. In other words, we want to see these vehicles being driven around."
He also asked for an update on One Call Now, an emergency phone system approved by council this summer.
Village Administrator Steve Smith said he needs to purchase an answering machine and set up a test call
with Lake Township, which handles the village’s emergency calls.
With curfew, Scaife asked officers to continue to enforce it.
There was also some discussion if Walbridge’s four auxiliary officers were allowed to carry weapons. It
is being researched by the committee, chief and solicitor.
Scaife was asked after the meeting about the big push for safety in Walbridge. He said he wants the
village and officers prepared and constantly focused on children’s safety.
"You see it on the news all the time about some little kid walking home from school É and it can
happen any where," he said.
Also at the meeting, council:
¥ Congratulated Sue Hart-Douglas and Jan Sawaya, who won council seats in Tuesday’s election, along with
incumbent Kolanko and Pat Fox, who was appointed to a council seat this summer. Byington and Scaife are
leaving council next month.
¥ Heard Fox set up a utilities and personnel committee meeting for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The phone system
will be discussed. The village pays Centrex $13,000 a year for its phones and it’s been estimated that a
new company could provide a $9,000 annual savings.