I read that statement in “Foreign Policy” regarding an article not typical of the periodical, which was interesting in itself. But I digress; when I read those words, it reminded me immediately what staff has been doing, and continues to do, in the quest to update technology and rethink “how” we perform tasks in the city regardless of which department. The Asset Management Program (SAW Grant) has been phenomenal in how we’ll be approaching future budgeting for capital projects, maintenance programs, and allocation of resources both in personnel and equipment. We are dropping old tools and excitedly picking up new one. Thank you, city council for approving this project last year and thank you team, from the administrative staff to the DPW and WWTP staff for your dedication and willingness to embrace a new “tool.”
This weather has been extraordinary in allowing many the opportunity to rake last year’s leaves, gather twigs and branches that have fallen but hidden under snow, and the never ending “stuff” that somehow finds its way in our yards. Personally, I had a chance to sand and begin preparing some woodwork on my sailboat that wouldn’t have been started until late April or early May. There are so many people out walking, running, and taking their infants for stroller rides; and yes, don’t forget the dog!
Unfortunately, this weather may have a negative impact on local farmers and owners of various orchards in the region. An early Spring in the middle of February usually brings economic challenges and lost crops later in the season. It’s a reminder that what is perceived as a good thing in one area or group, can simultaneously be perceived as a negative thing somewhere else or with another group. Remind anyone of anything in the news recently? If each group could appreciate and understand the benefits as well as the challenges of a mid-winter Spring, can you imagine the transformation that could take place politically and societally if we did the same at a national level. It’s not that inconceivable.
Our agenda is quite light as of this writing. The main item is a discussion on grinder pumps. This will be introductory in nature with more detailed discussion in the budget workshops. Enjoy the last days of this warm weather and have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
City Engineers OMM Engineering has received the Purchase Order to begin the design/engineering of the effluent pump upgrade that also included the addition of a UV treatment chamber. Updates will be provided as they are available.
Muskegon Waste Water Treatment Plant Option
The City recently sent a copy of a letter to Mark Eisenbarth, Muskegon County Administrator, stating support, in principle, of a sewer forcemain from Coopersville to the Muskegon WWTP. This letter was requested by Muskegon to pursue various funding options.
Master Plan Update
At the Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 20 (6:00 PM) McKenna and Associates made a presentation to the Planning Commission on what was learned during the January focus groups. The consultants provided a broad overview on the direction the master plan in terms of their finding. They’re now asking for feedback on the draft itself. A review of the draft and feedback can be left on the Plan Coopersville Website. Thank you for those that attended the meeting. There are a number of exciting ideas and concepts within the draft of the Master Plan so if you haven’t read the document, it would be a good investment of time so future discussions may be more substantive.
Medical Marihuana (marijuana)
Over the next few months we are going to engage in a long-term and slow education process on Michigan’s new medical marihuana law. That education process will include hearing from groups on both sides of the topic. At the conclusion of that education process (likely in May or June) the City Council and Planning Commission can then decide if they would like to tackle any changes to the city’s current medical marihuana ordinance.
This is being precipitated for two different reasons. First off, in December 2016 the state legislature passed a new law regarding commercial activities related to medical marihuana. This change authorizes five different type of commercial activities that can be engaged in when explicitly allowed by a municipality. Secondly, the city has received requests that the city consider allowing one or more of those five activities.
Our current ordinance regulating medical marihuana, which is found here – Section 1280.21 – prohibits any commercial activity related to medical marihuana. This was put into place in July 2013. Several communities throughout the state enacted similar ordinances in the absents of clear state action on the topic.
The state’s new law, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (PA 281 of 2016) will come into effect in December 2017. The delay on implementation is to allow communities to determine what (if any) of the five activities they’ll allow and to allow the state to development permitting for these activities.
The Michigan Municipal League (MML) has produced a few brief documents on the topic; I’ve included those for your reading pleasure. The MML memos outline the five activities and provide a FAQ sheet on the topic.
The good thing about the new state law is it gives municipalities a lot of flexibility. 1. Communities do not have to explicitly outlaw medical marihuana facilities – it’s an opt-in law. 2. It’s not an all or nothing thing, a municipality can choose which of five activities to allow and how many of each it would allow (again, if any at all).
As noted above, part of the education process will include presentations on both sides of the issue. One presentation will be from a group advocating for allowing commercial medical marihuana facilities. The group Canna Media Works is working with at least one local business that is interested in engaging in one of the five activities. In another presentation, we’ll have a representative from the Ottawa County Sherriff’s office to give us their thoughts and concerns about the new law.
There’s no need for us to rush on this topic and I think it will be in the community’s best interest that we slowly educate ourselves on this topic so no matter what direction we recommend the community go, we’ll have an educated position.
Yes, it’s that time of the year when the anticipation of bringing everyone together for great food, excellent conversation, and the chance to celebrate all that is positive about Coopersville gathers momentum. This year the event will be a bit earlier in the year than in the past, March 9, 2017 at 6:00 PM. We are currently at capacity, so if you have not reserved, please contact Sgt. Dennis Luce to see if you can still squeeze in. As always, the silent auction is looking for donations to raise money for NEO Forum. Please mark this date on your calendars, it’s always a special event!
March 18, 2017 is the scheduled date for the yearly Community Expo sponsored/organized by the Coopersville Area Chamber of Commerce. Most years, the city rents a booth with our elected officials attending along with available staff to answer questions and provide information concerning projects, recreation opportunities and other related topics. As the date approaches more details will be provided by Anisa or myself.
Water Project Phase I – No New Update to Report
Just before the holidays, the City of Coopersville, Allendale Township, Polkton Township, and Ottawa County met to essentially re-establish where the city stands on this project. Allendale Township has a new supervisor so part of the meeting was also to make sure everyone was up to speed and to compare notes on any pending revisions to the original project. FYI, the meeting was positive and all parties appear to be in unison again.
We are to meet again soon once the city determines exactly the direction they want to pursue on the Water Project – Phase I. What I mean by this is that we have to determine what level of “risk” long-term we want to assume financially. The city needs a $12 million upgrade to its water system to prepare for the future and to increase reliability and redundancy to the current system. A $12 million upgrade also requires firm commitments from its largest water customers.
A lesser option at $5-6 million can provide basic improvements and less risk financially but does not provide the strong reliability and redundancy assets that the $12 million option provides. And that is the core discussion that is taking place. At this time, my goal and commitment is to have a firm decision made before the third quarter of our fiscal year is reached (March 31, 2017) which also means the UAC will be busy and eventually the council will be requested to make a few substantive and heavy decisions.