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January 5th Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

 

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

January 29th Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

 

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

January 22nd Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

  • On Wednesday, January 27th at 6:00 p.m., at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, the City Council will be participating in a joint workshop session. The workshop will include the elected boards from South Haven Charter Township and Casco Township. The workshop will focus on proposed capital improvements at the Waste Water Treatment Plant and proposed changes to the established Water/Sewer Authority. More information about the upcoming workshop can be found at the following link:
  • Related to capital project plans, the city’s staff has been working to advance a series of capital improvement projects. In an effort to illustrate the various improvement plans, a project listing has been developed. The capital project listing includes details on the various projects (e.g., total estimated cost, funding sources, and schedule.) The capital project listing can be found at the following link:
  • The staff at the city’s Water Filtration Plant have released information on the city’s efforts to test for lead and copper within the public drinking water system. The file notes that the city has been testing for lead and copper since the implementation of the 1991 rule. More information on the effort to test for lead and copper, along with information on test results, can be found at the following link:
  • As noted in last week’s update, the Historic Association of South Haven (HASH) continues to report progress on the interior restoration of the South Pier Lighthouse. Over the past weeks, HASH volunteers were able to capture new images of the restoration work. To view the new restoration images, please click the following link:
  • Finally, as part of this week’s Martin Luther King Jr., day of service program, Mayor Burr joined local volunteers at the South Haven High School.       The volunteers worked to package two tons of rice for distribution to food pantries in South Haven, Bangor, Covert and Pullman. To view an image of the event (photo provided by Mr. Tom Renner,) please click the following link:

 

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

January 8th Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

December 31st Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

  • As a reminder, City Hall will be closed for the New Year’s Day holiday on Friday, January 1st.
  • This week the city’s elected and appointed officials were happy to complete the purchase of four undeveloped parcels adjacent to Lake Michigan on Monroe Boulevard. The purchase of the parcels will ensure preservation of the land, for the public’s use into perpetuity. More information on the bluff property purchases can be found at the following link:
  • As the City of South Haven closes the 2015 calendar year, staff is pleased to note that 2015 was very successful in capturing State of Michigan grant funds for local projects. In 2015 the city was able to secure $1,251,800 in State of Michigan recreation grant funding, for upcoming local projects. To view more information on the grant awards, along with reviewing a recent Herald Palladium article about the awards, please click the following links:
  • On Thursday, December 17, 2015, the South Haven Police Department (SHPD) hosted the “Shop with a Cop” program at the local Walmart. The event allowed local school children, with a SHPD Officer escort, to spend up to $100 at Walmart and then have lunch at the Vineyard. More information on the event can be found at the following links:
  • At this week’s City Council meeting, elected and appointed officials noted that the first review of a draft rental ordinance will occur at the first Planning Commission meeting of the New Year. As noted by staff, the rental ordinance draft document will be reviewed and presented to the public at the board’s regular meeting on January 7, 2016. The Planning Commission, at the direction of the City Council, developed a subcommittee to focus on zoning issues related to rental properties.       The committee began meeting in early October. The committee has met seven (7) times, over the past months. The committee’s focus has been to gather data and define details to be incorporated into the draft rental ordinance. The committee members individually studied the ordinances from other cities and sought feedback from those communities to explain which provisions worked well and which did not. Once the preferred provisions were outlined, staff met with the city attorney to present the information so the draft ordinance could be created.       To review the Planning Commission’s meeting agenda and packet, for the January 7, 2016, meeting, please click the following link:
  • Finally, on January 9th at 2:00 p.m., at the Listiak Auditorium, the annual “Miss South Haven” pageant will occur. The public is encouraged to attend, but tickets must be purchased.       More information on the event can be found at the following link:

 

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

December 18th Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

  • At the October 5, 2015 regular meeting of the City Council, the Council approved the purchase of the home and property at 1068 East Wells Street.       The property is located on a 2 acre parcel, which sits adjacent to the city’s Police/Fire Complex. The longtime owner of the property was Mrs. Jean Dykstra, whose husband was a former Fire Department Chief. The Dykstra family notified the city of their intent to vacate the home, and allowed the city the first option to acquire the site. On Thursday, December 17, 2015, the city was able to close on the property purchase, with a purchase price of $127,200. More information on the property and purchase can be found at the following link:
  • On Monday, December 21, 2015, the City Council will receive a report on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from the city’s auditor.       This year’s CAFR illustrates significant capital improvement efforts, specifically the city’s efforts to reconstruct secondary electric lines on the city’s south side of town.       To view the full CAFR, please click the following link:
  • Related to the city’s electric operations and finances, the city’s Finance Department has begun the annual effort to review customer accounts and to adjust deposit amounts for customers who have maintained good credit.       According the city’s adopted Utility Policy, a customer must maintain good credit on their account for the entire time their account is open. If at any time, the customer has received two or more penalties in the past twelve months, the city can request a security deposit be placed on the account, or if the security deposit is deemed inadequate, the customer can be required to make additional deposits. The deposit is equal to twice the amount of the highest bill for the last year, with a minimum of $100 for each service provided.       If the requested security deposit is not paid, services can be shut off. While this policy has not been actively enforced over the last several years, changes in the shut off policy have forced staff to begin actively enforcing this policy. During the winter months, each year, accounts will be reviewed and sent “Deposit Due Notices” if the customer had two or more penalties in the last year of service and had no or insufficient security deposit on file.       Customers who have questions and/or concerns about the deposits are encouraged to contact Amanda Morgan, Customer Service Manager, at 269-637-0706 or via email at: amorgan@south-haven.com. More information on the deposits can be found at the following links:
  • As noted in last week’s update, the City Council has recently taken action on two items related to concerns voiced by members of the public about large home developments. For several weeks, the Council has listened to concerns related to the development of large homes which are intended for short-term rentals. At the November 2nd regular meeting of the City Council, staff described a series of planned actions which were planned to help address the concerns. At that meeting, Mayor Burr noted his desire to have some of the controls in place, prior to completion of the 2015 calendar year.       At this week’s meeting, the City Council took action on adjusting water/sewer connection fees. The adjustment requires additional fees for homes with greater than four (4) bedrooms and/or toilets. Further, the City Council introduced zoning ordinance amendments which, if approved, will limit home heights in certain residential zones and increase parking requirements for homes. More information on these actions, along with a recent article about the effort from WMUK, can be found at the following links:
  • Also noted in last week’s update was the development of a proposed rental ordinance. As noted by staff, the rental ordinance draft document should be delivered to the city’s Planning Commission and presented to the public at the board’s regular meeting on January 7, 2016.       The Planning Commission, at the direction of the City Council, developed a subcommittee to focus on zoning issues related to rental properties. The committee began meeting in early October. The committee has met seven (7) times, over the past months. The committee’s focus has been to gather data and define details to be incorporated into the draft rental ordinance. The committee members individually studied the ordinances from other cities and sought feedback from those communities to explain which provisions worked well and which did not. Once the preferred provisions were outlined, staff met with the city attorney to present the information so the draft ordinance could be created.       Staff expects to receive the draft ordinance within the next few days. The draft will then be circulated to the entire Planning Commission for review, comment, and edits. The Planning Commission is anticipated to publicly discuss the draft ordinance amendment at the January 7, 2016 meeting.
  • As noted in last week’s update, Republic Disposal, the city’s contracted waste hauler, has prepared information on holiday recycling tips. The file listed a variety of items, which tend to pile up during the holidays, which can be recycled and some which require dumping. Further, Republic has prepared the 2016 calendar year recycling schedule. The holiday recycling guide and the 2016 recycling schedule can be found at the following links:

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

December 11th Weekly Update

Below is a brief description of some of the items that the South Haven staff has been working on during this past week:

  • At this week’s City Council meeting, the Council took action on two items related to concerns voiced by members of the public about large home developments. For several weeks, the Council has listened to concerns related to the development of large homes which are intended for short-term rentals. At the November 2nd regular meeting of the City Council, staff described a series of planned actions which were planned to help address the concerns. At that meeting, Mayor Burr noted his desire to have some of the controls in place, prior to completion of the 2015 calendar year. At this week’s meeting, the City Council took action on adjusting water/sewer connection fees. The adjustment requires additional fees for homes with greater than four (4) bedrooms and/or toilets. Further, the City Council introduced zoning ordinance amendments which, if approved, will limit home heights in certain residential zones and increase parking requirements for homes. More information on these actions can be found at the following links:
  • Another item which was actively discussed at this week’s City Council meeting was the development of a proposed rental ordinance. As noted by staff, the rental ordinance draft document should be delivered to the city’s Planning Commission and presented to the public at the board’s regular meeting on January 7, 2016. The Planning Commission, at the direction of the City Council, developed a subcommittee to focus on zoning issues related to rental properties. The committee began meeting in early October. The committee has met seven (7) times, over the past months. The committee’s focus has been to gather data and define details to be incorporated into the draft rental ordinance.

The committee members individually studied the ordinances from other cities and sought feedback from those communities to explain which provisions worked well and which did not.  Once the preferred provisions were outlined, staff met with the city attorney to present the information so the draft ordinance could be created.  Staff expects to receive the draft ordinance within the next few days.  The draft will then be circulated to the entire Planning Commission for review.

  • One final issue addressed at this week’s City Council meeting was related to local property taxes and the use of principal residence exemptions. As part of general discussion, one member of the City Council noted the Michigan Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) Program, and the city’s efforts to enforce the program’s requirements. It was noted that the city’s staff attempts to enforce the PRE program requierements, and uses assistance from Van Buren County for enforcement. In an effort to provide details on the PRE Program, the city has provided the following link:
  • This week the city received very positive news from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR.) The MDNR announced that the city has received grant funding for four (4) local projects. The city has received a commitment of $417,800 in grant funds for projects at the North Beach, bicycle pump track, Black River Park (pier replacement) and Black River Park (restroom improvement.) More information on the grants can be found at the following links:
  • As noted in last week’s update, Republic Disposal, the city’s contracted waste hauler, has prepared information on holiday recycling tips. The file listed a variety of items, which tend to pile up during the holidays, which can be recycled and some which require dumping. Further, Republic has prepared the 2016 calendar year recycling schedule. The holiday recycling guide and the 2016 recycling schedule can be found at the following links:
  • Finally, over the past two weeks, the city’s staff has received some calls about whether leaf burning is permitted within the city. The burning of leaves is NOT permitted within the City of South Haven.       Recreational burn permits and bon-firm permits can be issued within the city limits, issued by South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES). However, SHAES will not issue open burn permits (the type used for leaf burning) within the city. More information on leaf burning can be found at the following link:

Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions and/or concerns.

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