Village Council officially accepts Chief Narsh’s resignation, approves Reel Talk ice fishing tournament

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

The village council officially accepted Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh’s resignation during its meeting on Monday.

The council also approved the proposed Reel Talk Ice Fishing Challenge slated February on Lake Orion.

In his letter of resignation, submitted to the village on Nov. 13, Narsh wrote that “There is never a good time to step down, there is however the right time, and that time is now.”

Narsh’s letter goes on to say, “It has been my privilege and honor to serve as a member of the Lake Orion Police Department for 38 years, and an even greater honor to lead this department as the Chief of Police for almost 19 years. Please accept this letter as my notice of intent to retire from the police department. This has been a difficult decision to make, as this department and community is my home, my heart and my soul.”

Narsh has accepted the role police chief for the Village of Holly Police Department and was sworn in during a special ceremony in Holly on Nov. 21.

In his letter of resignation, Narsh also asks that the council waive the 30-day notice requirement.

“I would ask that the village council modify the 30-day notice to allow me to serve until Dec. 8, 2019 as opposed to Dec. 13.”

Narsh’s last duty will be to drive the 1941 Lake Orion police car in the Orion Area Parade Group’s Lighted Parade on Dec. 7.

And while he will no longer be Lake Orion’s police chief, Narsh could still have a role in the village if the council approves his application to join them. Narsh said he has filed paperwork for the village council seat left vacant after former Councilmember David Churchill resigned Oct. 14.

Narsh is now the lone candidate to file for the vacant seat unless the village receives additional applications before the deadline at 4 p.m. on Nov. 27, said village Manager Joe Young.

The council is scheduled to appoint a candidate to fill the vacant seat during its Dec. 9 meeting, which must be filled by Dec. 12, according to the village charter.

The council also unanimously approved resident Jason Ford’s request to hold an ice fishing tournament on Lake Orion in February.

The first annual Lake Orion Reel Talk Ice Fishing Tournament is planned from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Feb. 9 at Green’s Park on M-24.

Ford, who created the Lake Orion Reel Talk Facebook page devoted to fishing on Lake Orion, said the tournament is catch-and-release, with $100 prizes for the largest bass and pike. Second place finishers receive a free Reel Talk winter hat.

The Lake Orion Reel Talk Facebook page now has 444 members.

“Since our inception on Facebook I have always dreamed of hosting an ice fishing tournament. To my knowledge I am not aware of one being held on the lake since I move here, and it seems like a fun outdoor activity that used to occur in the past,” Ford said. “Lake Orion is such a fun town, with fun things to do in the summer – why not host an event in the winter?”

There is no entry fee for the tournament and Ford said he would pay for the prizes himself.

“I have no interest in soliciting sponsors or trying to make money off of this,” Ford told the council.

He anticipates 20-50 anglers the first year, and said his goal is to get people outdoors and to make sure that anyone who wants to participate can take part in the tournament.

“Our Lake Orion fishing is honestly top-notch. I’m a huge proponent of advocating for the lake. It’s a fantastic place to fish and spend time with family and friends,” Ford said.

All participants would have to sign a safety waiver, Ford said.

The Lake Orion Police Department, the fire marshal, village administration, the Downtown Development Authority and the village’s Department of Public Works have all reviewed the Reel Talk proposal and had no issues with the event plan, according to village documents.

Parking would be at Green’s Park with overflow parking on Flint Street.

“We welcome the idea. I think you’re going to experience quite a bit of popularity,” said council President Ken Van Portfliet, adding that Ford would have to submit proof of insurance before the event.

Also at the meeting:

The council accepted Debbie Burgess’ resignation from the Parking Study Ad Hoc Committee.

Bridge Street seawall repair

The council approved a budget transfer of $27,966 from the general fund to cover the village’s share of the Bridge Street seawall repair.

The council approved the Bridge Street Seawall project on Sept. 23, contracting with Fontana Construction for the work. The council also approved a special assessment to three property owners on Oct. 14,

The village will pay $95,000 of the $135,000 project, which is proposed to be budgeted in the Capital Projects Fund (401), while the remaining $40,000 will be special assessed to three homeowners in the affected area.

The project includes the installation of approximately 70-feet of a new 12-inch concrete seawall, 4-feet tall, with reinforced steel pinned to the existing footing and removing the existing footing. It also includes 210 feet of five-gauge sheet piling and a four-inch edge drain.

“A lot of things were taken care of tonight in a business-as-usual manner, especially the seawall project. I just want to compliment the village manager, the citizens of that area for working together to get this done,” said Councilmember Ray Hammond. “It seemed like it was a difficult project, but a lot of people comprised, came together, worked behind the scenes. So, my compliments to Joe (Young) and the citizens involved in that (who) were willing to take on some of the financial responsibility.”

Reassessment of DPW non-emergency work

Councilmember John Ranville said he was “glad” to see the DPW out in the village picking up leaves the past weekend after the snowfall in early November derailed fall leaf pickup.

“But, I’m totally against working the men overtime on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays for a non-emergency. They work all week long and (if there’s a snowstorm) they’re burnt out. And that’s what happened last time,” Ranville said.

Van Portfliet and Hammond supported that position.

“Maybe Saturdays, as needed, but Sundays and holidays should be reserved for real emergencies, from a cost standpoint and personal standpoint,” Hammond said.

“I had a conversation with Mr. Young about that today about maybe rethinking what we do…especially during the holidays,” Van Portfliet said. “Just a reassessment of what’s really, truly important and what can be done working hours.”