Meanwhile, many of us awoke this morning hearing about the bombings in Brussels which have claimed 38 lives and more than 230 wounded at the time of this writing (New York Times). Two bombs exploded at the Brussels’ Airport with a third bomb ripping apart a car of a subway train at the Maelbeek station. The human carnage is reprehensible and is, and should be, the center of attention and the center of our prayers for those victims and their families. There are too many layers of this tragedy to examine especially the human toll, and obviously the global political ramifications that will grow in the forthcoming days, months, and years. But there are a few observations worth noting and commenting on that provides a bit of perspective in our own lives and the state of this fine city.
Lower on the list, and often times under reported, is the loss of property both personal and real. After the human loss and wounded are removed, the aftermath of physical destruction of property has to be addressed. The transportation aspects of the targets are obvious as is the importance of reconstruction of those targets in terms of their operation and the significant symbolic value of that restoration. There is no choice between repairing the departure terminal at the airport or “something else.” There is no choice between repairing the damage at Maelbeak Station or “something else.” Resources MUST be found to restore the tools that provide a lifestyle and a quality of life for the citizens of Brussels. Reconstruction must take place not only for the continued operation of the respective transportation centers, but for the reconstruction or the attempt to make life in Brussels “normal” again, if that is even possible.
Approximately 4,020 miles from Brussels is a place called Coopersville, Michigan. Later the same morning of the bombings in Brussels, people throughout Coopersville were going to work, dropping their children off at school, and business owners were preparing for a full day. City staff was busy answering phones and questions preparing a budget for the city council to review and eventually take action. Will the basketball court be constructed or how much IT upgrades will be approved for next year? Which sidewalks get repaired or built? How much salt and sand should be ordered for next year’s winter? There will be choices made. Many projects will be approved, many will not. But more the question, I wonder if we can consciously appreciate that we don’t have to shift scarce resources to resurrect the wreckage from the barbaric acts of terrorism or bury the dead of family and friends.
This morning before I left for city hall, I discovered water in my basement that shouldn’t be there and that the headlight in my truck has a short. Blessed are we…
Wayne Pickler will be presenting the 2016 Report of Assessment Roll Changes. These numbers are in review at the County so if there are changes, which are unlikely, the updated numbers will be shared with Council on Monday evening. Remember we have a Budget Workshop prior to council meeting at 6:00 PM in the training room. This first meeting will be mainly a review of capital projects, preliminary revenues, and the process for eventual approval.
Moody’s Annual Comments
Keri Rogers and I have received Moody’s Investor Service annual comment on Coopersville. It is included in the Council Info portion of this packet for you reading enjoyment. What is significant to me is that Moody’s rating for General Obligation matches Fitch’s rating. There are many in our business that place more value on Moody’s evaluation and because of that I’m very pleased at this point. If you have any questions on this evaluation and/or is there anything we can do to improve the rating please don’t hesitate to contact me.
A friendly reminder that Thursday, March 24 at 6:00 PM our annual Celebrate Coopersville event will take place at Plumbers Hall; hopefully all of you have made your reservations for a great evening of fun, food, and celebration.
Water Project Phase I
I’m meeting with the Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) this evening to review some information from Prein&Newhof regarding the Water Project – Phase I. I’m also gathering information on the maximum amount the city could bond for if we chose to construct the bulk of the water project. Included in this discussion will be the practicality of also considering the inclusion of a reconstruction of a bridge within the city limits (more on that later). As always please contact me if you have any questions regarding this or any other issue of concern.
WWTP Project Phase II
As stated above the UAC. Tonight after our discussion on water projects, we will discuss the current status of the WWTP upgrade. I have been receiving a bit of pressure from parties interested in the WWTP to make a decision on a particular option. My response then and always is whatever decision we make it will be in the best interest of Coopersville, its residents, and business owners. As always, I will keep council and the Utility Advisory Committee updated as more information becomes available.
City staff and supervisors have their individual budget requests, including capital expenditures. We’re going to have our first council/staff budget workshop this Monday, March 28 at 6:00 PM in the training room. This workshop will be more of a review of Draft A and where our total projected revenues and expenditures will likely fall. There will be brief discussions on certain capital expenditures and what needs to be done and what project or purchases could wait. I know your schedules are very “tight” but please make every effort to attend.