City council talks budget and demolition

City council talks budget and demolition

ISHPEMING — Money and demolition were two big items on a local city council’s agenda Tuesday.

The first item on the agenda of the Ishpeming City Council’s special meeting Tuesday morning was the introduction of the 2016 budget. The proposed budget includes a large sum allocated to upcoming road projects.

“We’re completing, in 2016, some major road improvements in the city, with the highway roundabout and then the connector and work on Third Street,” said City Manager Mark Slown. “[The] total worth of all those projects is going to be about four million dollars, and the city is going to have about a $250,000 match, and that definitely is a big impact on our small budget.”

In addition to the quarter million match, the city will be investing $578,000 into water mains in the construction area.

“I think the benefit that the city is getting is worth spending that quarter million dollars, and I concur with Mark that if you’re going to tear up the road, you might as well make sure the utilities beneath it are adequate,” said City Finance Director Jim Lampman.

Providing for that benefit to the city won’t be without compromise. The purchase of new equipment for the police, fire, and public works departments will have to wait.

“Some of the things that we might like to do are going to have to be put off for a year until we get that taken care of,” Slown added.

The budget did also include the addition of one police officer to the city’s department. The council plans to meet again to discuss the budget before decisions are made in November.

Another item discussed was the possible demolition of the old steam plant building using recently acquired grant money. The building, which is part of the Brownstone location on 7th and Division, was named as a possible blight removal site after agreements for the demolition of another structure fell through.

“We need to quickly come to a conclusion about how to move forward with the use of the grant money that the Land Bank Authority recieved,” said Slown, “and this would allow us to do that, and it certainly needs to be done.”

The council raised concerns including the potential to use the money to demolish other structures and the risk of demolition and salvage costs exceeding the available grant money.

“I want it down as much as anybody in Ishpeming, but I want it down so it’s to our advantage,” said Councilman Mike Tall.

The council voted to table the issue for another meeting.

The council also voted to renew the city’s trash collection contract with North Country Disposal. When implemented, then new contract will result in a two cent rate increase in the first year. A dual-stream recycling program will also be introduced.