Well, Celebrate Coopersville is just hours away. I’m so proud of the cooperation, dedication and going the extra mile in organizing this event. There are many individuals that help make this celebration a reality and most of them are employees of the city. We also thank the West Michigan Plumbers, Fitters & Service Trades Union for allowing us to use their facility Thursday night as well. See you all there, and don’t forget to bring money for the silent auction.
Have a fantastic weekend and please be safe out there.
Work continues with 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
Tuesday morning, I had a conference call with Muskegon officials and other interested parties. As you know, the city has already submitted a letter of support for the Muskegon wastewater option for a long-term solution to wastewater treatment capacity. Representatives from Muskegon, Coopersville, and fairlife will be meeting in the next few weeks to continue discussions on the specifics. As always, I will report on the progress of this project.
March 18, 2017 is the scheduled date for the yearly Community Expo and Book Fair sponsored/organized by the Coopersville Area Chamber of Commerce. The city will have a booth with our elected officials attending along with available staff to answer questions and provide information concerning projects, recreation opportunities, rescue activities and other related topics. Come to the South Elementary School from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM for this great annual event.
Water Project Phase I – No New Update to Report
I have spoken informally with Allendale on when we can set up a meeting to further define exactly where we can partner on the Water Project Phase I. Next week a meeting is scheduled for the Utility Advisory Committee to meet with me to discuss recommendations on the proposed scope of the Water Project Phase I. Yes, there has been much discussion already, but there have been many variables still in play that hindered a clear, concise, definable plan. My desire is to make a decision on the scope of the project yet this month. As always, please contact me if you have questions or comments.
Water Infrastructure Conference
There are a number of lessons from the Flint experience that have relevancy for the City of Coopersville. Below are a few worth mentioning:
- Don’t build infrastructure that exceeds demand. Flint built infrastructure to meet the growth it was experiencing for decades because of the auto industry. When that industry closed, or relocated, including the suppliers, and residents began to relocate elsewhere, water consumption eventually fell by two-thirds, or 66%. Water did not circulate or move as once engineered and so it often times remained in one location for as many as six or seven days, thus allowing lead and other elements to intensify in terms of parts-per-million. The City of Coopersville must make every effort to not “over construct” in its capacity based on promises and incomplete data used to support projections of water usage. We must never forget the historical assumption that Delphi would never close in Coopersville.
- Accurate documentation on the infrastructure you have is critical. Flint’s outdated record keeping regarding location of curb boxes, type of material of laterals, and the exact location of those laterals, unintentionally added challenges and significantly increased delays in replacement and repair of existing infrastructure, and still does. Fortunately for Coopersville, the SAW grant has provided the tools and the means to accurately document existing infrastructure including material, type of mechanical fixtures, and the like. This will become MORE valuable as the city’s infrastructure ages.
- A well-funded and robust maintenance program for infrastructure must be valued and practiced. As property taxes and water consumption decreased, there was far less revenue to support a robust maintenance program for Flint. Thus, maintenance turned into just fixing what became “broken” and the spiral downward continued for years. Once again, the SAW Grant has been a blessing for Coopersville to inventory what assets and infrastructure we have, but also to quantify the condition of that asset so we can actively prioritize capital expenditures and have the information necessary to act on those capital expenditures in a timely fashion.
I understand that we are not Flint, either in our economic history or the size and magnitude of our infrastructure. We are also not experiencing the tangential consequences such as health issues, loss of jobs, and the serious loss of quality of life that defines a community. But, we do have infrastructure that each year becomes older and less sound. Only through wise guidance by Coopersville’s elected officials and a highly-qualified staff will Coopersville’s infrastructure future be secure. More detail to come at our budget workshops.