Council sets hearings on budget, rates

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming City Council has scheduled public hearings at wednesday’s meeting on its proposed 2014 budget and millage rates, as well as sewer and water rates.

The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Ishpeming Senior Center.

The council is proposing a sewer and water rate increase to keep the two funds financially solvent in the future. The results of a 2012 audit showed that together the funds lost more than $500,000 that year, and a recent sewer and water rate analysis by GEI Consultants Inc. presented to the council late last month showed that to continue to provide sewer and water services, the city would have to raise rates.

The council will also hold a public hearing on a proposed Community Development Block Grant application for a facade improvement program. The city is requesting more than $1 million to fund improvements to the exteriors of seven buildings in downtown Ishpeming.

The CDBG funds would come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and would be disbursed by the state of Michigan to a variety of projects that target blight and seek to bolster business and downtown development.

If the city receives the grant, the funds would be matched with about $640,000 from the property owners.

The council is also scheduled to consider the sale and transfer of several properties, requests from the Ishpeming Business Association for holiday activities and the installation of an educational invasive species boot brush station from the Marquette County Conservation District on city property.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.