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City Council Meeting Wrap

As the temperatures dropped and the snow flew outside the Ludington Municipal Building last night, there was plenty of heat inside.  The Ludington City Council held their first meeting of the New Year.  The meeting began just as any other would have then came time for the council to open the floor for public comments, and comments there were.  A collection of neighbors from the Washington Avenue and Monona Drive area, near East Tinkham Avenue, came together to express their disapproval of Ordinance No. 322-16 to re-zone the property located at 916 North Washington Avenue to residential 3, from residential 2.  This change would allow for five apartment buildings with parking lots to be constructed on the potentially re-zoned property.

This was just the first presentation of the ordinance, leaving many questions to be asked and answered.  As the Ludington citizens came up to the podium one-by-one, the tension mounted.  Mayor Ryan Cox declined comment.  Needless to say, this will be a hotly contested issue for the residents living near the proposed re-zoning ordinance.

City Manager, John Shay addressed the council and public in attendance on the biggest issue facing the city this year and for the next few years.  Ludington will be updating its water and sewer system along with adressing the infrastructure.  Both are more than 40 years old.  This is an expensive but necessary project was the tone that was expressed by the council.  Total dollars for the project could reach the low $30 million mark.

The next meeting will be January 25th at 6:30 at the Municipal Building in Ludington.

WSCC Will Be Closed Today

West Shore Community College offices will be closed today, Friday, January 8th 2016 for a faculty and staff in-service.  The in-service is for professional development and training.

The library and bookstore will also be affected by the closure.  The Recreation Center and West Shore Ice Arena will remain open today.

Free Rides To Be Offered To WSCC

Free bus rides will be available to the West Shore Community College campus beginning January 11th.  Manistee County Transportation, Inc. and the Ludington Mass Transit Authority will be offering free rides, round-trip.  Students, as well as anyone using the college facilities and anyone that is traveling from Ludington, Manistee and Scottville can take advantage of the service.

The service will offer three round-trip rides Monday through Thursday and one round-trip ride on Fridays.  The rides Monday through Thursday will be offered in the early morning hours, before noon, and the mid-afternoon.

The buses will depart from Ludington’s Rath Avenue and Loomis Street parking lot, Manistee’s Memorial Drive parking lot, and Scottville’s municipal parking lot, located behind West Shore Bank and will return to the same location.

The service is available until April 29th.  For more information log onto www.westshore.edu.

Local Fire Authority Could Seek Funds For New Trucks

This story is courtesy of the Mason County Press.  The Mason County Rural Fire Authority plans to ask tax payers for a .5 mill increase to replace 13 of its trucks that it purchased 20 years ago in the August election, including seven 1998 pumpers and six 2000 tankers. 

Chuck Keller, chairman of the rural fire authority, recently sent a letter to the municipalities that represent the departments. Keller said refurbishing the trucks will cost an estimated $117,500 while replacing the equipment would cost $325,000 per pumper truck with an estimated trade-in value of $25,000 to $50,000 per truck.

“Our options therefore were to refurbish the trucks at a cost of $125,000 to $130,000 with no warranty and aging chassis with the possibility that some or all might need to be replaced in less than 10 years or to purchase new trucks with the life expectancy of 20 years,” Keller said. “It was a ‘no-brainer’ for the board: attempt to purchase new trucks with the funding to come from voters within the authority.”

Keller said based on a home valued at $100,000, the increase would cost $25 annually. Keller said the authority will seek a renewal of its 10 year 1 mill operating revenue.

“Historically the authority has been very prudent financially,” Keller said. “Roughly six years ago the authority was able to refinance $674,000 in debt with West Shore Bank with a reduced interest rate of 2.74%. We paid down $300,000 in principle and by year end 2015 the authority will be debt free.

“If the voters do approve our request on Aug. 2, we will have this fund to cover the larger equipment purchases other than trucks. Each department has gone above and beyond to stay within their budgets each year. The departments regularly complete equipment/fire barn repairs on their own without having to hire outside vendors to complete.”

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