Community Newsletters

Greetings from your City Manager

Greetings from your City Manager

I hope everyone got a chance to get out and enjoy the fall colors for the brief time they were here. My wife and I took in as much as we could! Spending the last few years out west enabled us to see them with an even greater appreciation than we had before.

Now that winter has settled in for the long haul, I’m trying to transfer that same appreciation to the frosty temperature. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Although the end of the year is rapidly approaching, the city staff and I are working diligently to prepare for all the things to come in 2019. There will be some new construction projects in addition to improvements to our downtown.

These projects stem from our newly adopted Capital Improvement Plan. Every approved project is directly linked to the line item that funds it within our budget. I want you to know that I don’t take the responsibility of using our taxpayer funds lightly and I will be seizing every opportunity I can to leverage all available with those funds. That way, we can accomplish what we’d like to, while also saving ourselves some money.

I encourage you to review the story on our Capital Improvements Plan and the projects and equipment we will be purchasing for Fiscal Year 2019.

On December 10, we achieved our first ever Economic Development Strategy. With the help of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, LSCP, Beckett and Raeder, and several members of our community, we were able to develop a well-rounded plan for our economic future: “Moving Forward.” It incorporates eleven points of action designed to retain, expand and attract new growth. I am excited to share this plan with you; please feel free to take a look for yourself, share it, and join us as Negaunee strives to move forward.

The new year will also bring changes to our downtown. More local business and building owners have become encouraged by the projects recently finished at Tino’s Bar & Pizza and Smarty’s Saloon.

As the city’s relationship grows stronger with our business community, our hope is that more will want to get involved in the MEDC facade program. In fact, several businesses are already preparing to engage in projects of their own. I want to reassure everyone that Negaunee’s character and history will play a big part in shaping these ventures.

As always, I invite you to take part in the many opportunities to engage your government. The best way to find out about our meetings is through Facebook and our website, www.city ofnegaunee.com.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season and here’s to a productive and prosperous 2019!

—Nate Heffron

Improvement plan offers focus for future leaders

The City Council accepted it first ever Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) at a special meeting held on October 4, 2018. A CIP is a planning document that helps to guide local communities undertaking capital investments. These investments range from major equipment purchases, such as a snowplow, to the construction of a new building. A CIP is authorized and required under the Michigan Planning and Enabling Act.

“This document helps us plan for our future,” said City Manager Nate Heffron. “As new council members are elected, we can lose touch on what is really needed. We also haven’t looked to the community for their input on these matters, and now we will.”

The CIP is a flexible, living document intended to be updated during summer of each year ahead of the budget process. It incorporates improvements and details on costs and funding as that information becomes available. As the community adapts to changing circumstances and new policy direction, the CIP should adapt along with it.

“Saving for future projects and prioritizing projects is extremely important,” he said. “We must reinvest in our infrastructure in an intelligent way.”

The three major areas that this CIP will focus on include economic development, following through on existing plans, and infrastructure investment.

“For almost every capital improvement, job growth, retention, and attraction should be on our minds to improve our economy,” Heffron said.

Heffron also said there have been city plans throughout the years that have gone nowhere.

“This is due to lack of follow-through and funding, and competing agendas,” he said. “A CIP will provide focus for everyone now and the future.”

The CIP noted that repairs to aging infrastructure such as streets and sidewalks are a major priority of residents.

“We know for a while that some of our streets are bad,” he said. “My intentions are to use the street millage, grants and other creative ways to maintain and repave our streets. We must be smart in doing this, coupling projects.”

In addition to helping direct the city’s future capital investments, another hurdle will be out of the way as it pertains to becoming a Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC). According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC),  the RRC program “measures and then certifies communities that integrate transparency, predictability and efficiency into their daily development practices. The RRC certification is a formal recognition that your community has a vision for the future—and the fundamental practices in place to get there.” According to Heffron, becoming RRC certified, Negaunee will be eligible for technical assistance through MEDC and possible receive more priority on grants.

 

Upcoming Projects

Public Works Department

Street Projects on Baldwin, Brown, Healy, Peck, Rail and Kanter+*

Brown Avenue Waste Water+*

Peck Street Water Project+

Refurbish Vactor truck

DWP dump truck box

Two new plow trucks

New bucket truck (electric dept.)

 

Fire & Police Departments

Fire suppression SCBAs*

Fire station renovation/repair

Replace FD radios*

New police squad car*

 

Parks & Recreation Department

Jackson Park Pavilion*

Zamboni Purchase

LaCombe Field irrigation system

 

+indicates where projects are

coupled together to save money

*indicates where grants have

been awarded or are being sought

 

City continues plight for council meeting broadcasts

Earlier this year, the City of Negaunee filed a complaint against Charter Communications following Charter’s discontinuation of the City’s Local Origination Channel (LOC), and refusal to provide Negaunee residents a Public, Education, Governmental (PEG) channel. The LOC provided programming such as broadcasts of City Council meetings, public service announcements and school-related events. A PEG channel would carry much of the same programming, but with more content, some of which could be produced by students.

Currently, there are no channels carrying this type of programming, nor does the City have the capability to provide live broadcasts of its council meetings.

The City and Charter mediated their dispute, and ultimately agreed to work together toward a resolution.  To that end, Charter indicated it would consider accommodating the City’s request for a PEG Channel, but requested additional information demonstrating community support for a PEG channel.

The City conducted a community assessment survey, compiled the results and forwarded them to Charter, along with information on capital and operational budgets as well as content.

“One major concern is that those who have cable TV as their only source of news won’t be able to stay informed about what’s going on in Negaunee,” said City Manager Nate Heffron.

Survey results indicated a strong level of interest for a PEG channel with content including the broadcasting of City Council meetings, community announcements, calendars and high school events and programming.

It is the City’s hope that Charter will recognize the importance of local broadcasting to the residents of the Negaunee, and work with the City and its resident customers to provide a PEG channel.

“The majority of survey respondents were between the ages of 51 and 80, and I don’t think it’s fair that these folk should be left out and left behind,” Heffron said. “We feel confident that Charter will continue to work with us to ensure that everyone receiving their services in the City of Negaunee can continue to stay engaged with the community’s developments.”

Economic development plan rolled out to public

The City of Negaunee has accepted its first ever Economic Development Strategy, known as “Moving Forward.”

An Economic Development Strategy is a planning document that helps guide communities interested in taking an active role in economic development.

“This is a well thought-out plan that puts us on the path for economic success, this is a major milestone for Negaunee,” said City Manager Nate Heffron.

The Moving Forward plan includes several strategies, some that the community is already engaged in and others that the community will be acting upon soon. These strategies include:

  •  Continuing the City’s relationship with Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP) for economic development and business retention services;
  •  Continuing the City’s relationship with the Superior Trade Zone for a regional approach to economic success;
  •  Implementing a Downtown Plan and streetscape project to preserve Negaunee’s history, enhance character and spawn new economic development opportunities;
  •  Working with downtown business owners to engage the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s grant facade program;
  •  Partnering with Invent NMU with their kiosk program to expand business start-up resources;
  •  Working to establish a Neighborhood Improvement Authority to meet the demands for new, affordable housing opportunities for families and expanding employment markets;
  •  Establishing a historic district to take advantage of tax credits available through federal programs and preserve Negaunee’s history and character;
  •  Becoming a Michigan Main Street Program community, allowing for stronger community connections that concentrate on economic vitality, downtown design, promotion and organization;
  •  Becoming a Michigan Redevelopment Ready Community showing that Negaunee is ready for business and has taken the necessary steps to streamline what is necessary for development;
  •  Developing and maintaining of a Capital Improvements Plan to allow the city to properly plan for infrastructure and service development and;
  •  Reactivating the Downtown Development Authority to revitalize development sites and establish a Tax Increment Finance District.

Negaunee’s Economic Development Strategy has been made possible through the technical assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Funds for this project were derived from the Project Empire Initiative. Work was preformed through the newly created Negaunee Economic Development Advisory Team, with the professional assistance of John Iacoangeli of Beckett and Raeder.

The LSCP will be working in conjunction with the City of Negaunee to develop a public revealing of this plan on at 5 p.m. on December 10 in the Negaunee High School’s auditorium. The event is open to the public; light refreshments and dessert will be provided after the presentation.

“We see this as an opportunity to bring forward a viable plan for Negaunee, based on economic data and proven techniques,” Heffron said. “This plan is tailored to our specific needs, this is not a one-size fits all approach.”

According to Amy Clickner, CEO of the LSCP, “This plan definitely shows that Negaunee is open for business; that they are here to help foster a relationship that lends assistance to businesses, creates jobs, and goes that extra mile to bring them here and keep them here.”

A copy of this document can be viewed at www.cityofnegaunee.com or at the Negaunee Public Library.

Winter Parking Ban Reminder

Winter parking is now being enforced. Here are key points to remember:
• Parking Ban Basics: The Winter/Overnight Parking Ban runs November 1 through April 30, and is in effect from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m., regardless of weather. This ban includes all City of Negaunee roads, alleys, city-maintained sidewalks and city-maintained parking lots. For details, see Chapter 686 (686.05)
• City Right-of-Way: During the overnight parking ban months, drivers will not be ticketed for parking on City rights-of-way as long as no traffic hazard or other negative impact situation is being created. However, be advised that if you choose to park on City right-of-way during these months, you do so at your own risk and the City of Negaunee is not liable for any damages. For full details, see Chapter 692 (692.03L)
• Make a phone call to save $50: If your vehicle breaks down and is at risk for violating the overnight parking ban, notify the Negaunee Police Department at 475-4154 immediately, or, if the break-down happens after business hours, call Central Dispatch at 475-9912, leave your name and number and ask for an officer to contact you. Leaving a message is not appropriate as the officer on patrol may issue the ticket prior to receiving that message. You must speak directly with an officer to avoid being cited.

Election results reviewed

City of Negaunee voters chose four city council members and a mayor, as well as passed a charter amendment during the election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
The Charter Amendment Article VI, Section 6.2 passed to change the requirement for city manager candidates.
There were four seats open on the Negaunee City Council. Three seats were for a three-year term expiring November 30, 2021 and one seat for an unexpired term ending November 30, 2020.
Edward Karki, Paul Maino and Jason Wallner were elected to the Negaunee City Council for three-year terms expiring November 30, 2021.
The City thanks outgoing council member Jon Becker for his service.
Don Gladwell received the partial seat, and David Kangas was elected as mayor.
City Council meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the Negaunee Senior Center. The public is welcome to attend and are asked to use the Tobin Street entrance.
There were five seats open on the Negaunee Board of Review. Three seats unexpired term ending November 30, 2020 and two seats for three-year terms ending November 30, 2021. David Oglesby was elected to one full-term seat. There were no other candidates so the vacancies will be filled by City Council appointment.
All results are final based upon Certification by the Marquette County Board of Canvassers.

Residents encouraged to adopt a hydrant

The City of Negaunee is asking residents and business owners to pitch in and help clear the city’s fire hydrants of snow and ice buildup and to claim the responsibility of shoveling out a fire hydrant after it snows.

Heavy snowfall can partially bury or block fire hydrants, and clearing out a hydrant is something that shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. The City has about 250 fire hydrants, and is asking for citizens’ cooperation in helping keep them clear of debris and snow. Cleaning a three-foot circle around hydrants is recommended so firefighters can quickly locate and use hydrants in an emergency situation.

In the midst of winter snowstorms, buried hydrants cause dangerous delays in the ability of firefighters to respond to fire emergencies. We also remind residents and businesses that while you’ve got that shovel out, check all the doors around your own home or business and make sure they’re all clear to open, to not only ensure that medical responders would not be hampered in their ability to treat a patient, but in removing a patient and transporting to a medical facility.

Please help older neighbors or those in need with shoveling walks and doorways, or encouraging those 60 and older to contact the senior center at 475-6266 for snow shoveling assistance.

Negaunee library hosts strategic planning meetings – September 2018 Newsletter

The Negaunee Public Library’s final strategic planning committee meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 15. The committee will at that time make recommendations based on the survey and discussions forums held this summer. A public hearing will be held at 10:15 a.m. the following day, Tuesday, October 16, at the library advisory board meeting. The public is welcome to attend both meetings.

Karl Bohnak and Jack Deo will visit the Negaunee Public Library at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 24 in the Reading Room. They will talk about their book, Sunburns to Snowstorms, and show slides. Books will be for sale at the event.

For details, call 475-7700, ext. 18, find the library on Facebook or visit http://joomla.uproc.lib.mi.us/Negaunee/

Croix Sreet Construction Plan Updated

The City of Negaunee is in the process of finalizing the work plans for the 2018 construction season. The Croix Street project was awarded on June 11 by MDOT to Hebert Construction.

The City would like to make residents aware of this work so they can plan accordingly. The work is expected to begin at the Baldwin Avenue/Croix Street intersection. Digging began on June 25.The work is anticipated to be completed by September 22.

The work will take place on Croix Street west of Baldwin Avenue going easterly to US-41. The work will consist of curb and gutter replacement, catch basins, water stacks, sidewalks, street lighting and road surface replacement.

As with most construction work in residential areas, this project will cause some inconveniences. Most likely there will be dust issues and loud construction activities taking place. Access to property may be affected as will on-street parking. The City will work with the contractor to keep these inconveniences to a minimum.

Prior to the start of work, the City held a neighborhood meeting to inform every one of the details involved with the work.

Also, during construction, the City will hold regular progress meetings to allow residents to give input and to keep everyone informed of the construction schedules.

Please call Don Larson at the Public Works Warehouse at 475-9991 with questions or concerns.

Negaunee Croix Street 2018
Croix Sreet Construction

July Newsletter – City Manager’s Corner

Greetings from your City Manager

Summer is my favorite time of year. It’s the season of exploration and discovery. The sun shines on longer days, and at night, the stars seem to be just a little bit brighter.

In Negaunee, summer is facilitating new possibilities for us. In May, I told you about the Project Empire initiative, and my goal to secure funds for the betterment of our city. I’m pleased to announce that we were able to receive $25,000 to dedicate to our Economic Strategic Plan and Downtown Streetscape project. Let me take a moment to tell you a little bit more about this program.

Overall, our Economic Strategic Plan’s main approach is to connect business leaders, residents, government officials and economic specialists, forging a network of relationships in order to map out a tangible and achievable plan for our economic success.

We are building momentum, bringing with it another generation of entrepreneurs and workers alike; meanwhile, drawing upon the wisdom and experience of our past generations to create an environment where everyone can thrive for years to come. My staff and I have and will continue to strive towards retaining and expanding our current mix of business and jobs here in Negaunee.

The second component of this funding – the Downtown Streetscape – will become a driving force in promoting Negaunee now and in the future. This plan will work primarily with downtown business owners to re-envision and work towards a more cohesive downtown. As we move forward with this exciting project, we hope that you will personally take part in the process during public meetings.

I hope each of you and your families have a safe and enjoyable summer. The place we call home is beautiful and unique. Take the time to enjoy and appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a special area. As always, feel free to reach out to me if there is anything you need.

-Nate Heffron