City council talks about goals

ISHPEMING — ‘Prioritizing the priorities’ was an ongoing theme at a special meeting held by the Ishpeming City Council Thursday morning.

The Ishpeming City Council met with city department heads to discuss goals and plans for the city’s future. A stormwater, asset management, and wastewater grant–funded project to map the city’s subterranean infrastructure is one of the ideas that officials hope to get rolling on this coming year.

“It allows us to document it and put it into a geographic information system — which is a computer database — [so] we can better manage our infrastructure in the decades ahead,” said City Manager Mark Slown.

“It’s going to give us the capability of looking at something we can trust instead of guessing,” said Public Works Director Jon Kangas. “Our records are marginal at best. That’s what we’re relying on, and when you go and dig up something and it’s not what you remember, you suddenly have another $50,000 you have to come up with to get the water main put in the right spot.”

That project will go hand–in–hand with a USDA loan–funded project to reinvigorate those underground lines.

“We want to start it in 2017,” Slown added. “It’s a major project that will replace about 35 percent of the city’s water infrastructure over a two–year period.”

The city’s departments outlined their goals, many of which include the need to purchase and upgrade equipment in the coming years. Police Chief Dan Willey also voiced the desire to continue to support UPSET’s meth–fighting efforts.

“I would like to keep contributing to UPSET, yearly, if we could do that,” said Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey. “Marquette County has a big problem. I think we’ve made a lot of headway on our problems with meth, and we’re going to still aggressively go after these people.”

Many of the city’s goals will require more money. Council members and staff mentioned the possible need for new millages or even a tax increase to fund some future projects, although no decisions were made on that. For now, the city is looking to pick which priorities are most important moving forward.