Spring is here and summer is just around the corner: 2011 will be a very busy year in the City of Manistee

By MITCH DEISCH
City Manager
The 2011-12 budget turned out to be as difficult as in the past few years, with the challenge of dealing with reductions in revenue and increasing costs; while still providing services that citizens desire. The keys to balancing this year s budget were the difficult decisions made in previous budgets.
Since 2005 the city has reduced employment by more than 18 percent (10.5 employees), and addressed other expenditures including health care and pensions; all with the focus of calibrating services and number of employees to available revenue. This recently adopted budget saw the reduction of two full-time employees by eliminating the fire chief position in favor of a public safety director position and eliminating one police officer position.
Proactive decisions by city council, administration and the community over the past several years have led to balancing this years budget with minimal service reductions.
2011 construction schedule
The 2011 summer construction season will be very busy, starting off will be the completion of the Jones Street CSO (combined sewer overflow) project. The remaining issues associated with the Jones Street CSO project including street lights and concrete flatwork will be completed by the end of the month.
The municipal marina project will also be wrapped up by June. While numerous obstacles were encountered underground during the reconstruction and damage was done during the Wednesday’s storm, the project has moved ahead and is nearly complete.
The new marina building will be a great addition to the community and the downtown. Residents will enjoy the new restrooms off of River Street funded by the Manistee Main Street Downtown Development Authority (DDA), while the downtown merchants will enjoy the commerce provided by boaters staying at the new marina facility. Again, it is important to state that DDA TIF (tax increment financing) funds were used to assist with constructing the River Street bathrooms, but no city general fund dollars were used on the marina upgrade. 
Road construction will be prominent during the 2011 summer season. Completing the Cedar Street CSO project will require the southwest section of the city to have patience for the remainder of the summer. Phase one of the project (Water Street and First Street between Spruce and the Armory) began in April and will be complete by the end of June. The goal for completing phase one is to ensure that Forest Festival activities over the Fourth of July will be unaffected.
During phase one, both Water and First streets will be closed to through traffic, which will be detoured on Spruce Street to Bryant to Cherry. Phase two will be in the Bryant, Cedar and Tamarack portion of the city, with the overall goal of completing the entire project by the end of August.
Completing the Cedar Street CSO will finalize the agreement the City of Manistee and the State of Michigan entered into in 1996; which required the city to separate combined storm and sanitary sewers into separate systems. This is a great accomplishment.
Following the completion of the Cedar Street CSO project will be the long-awaited complete upgrade of the remainder of First Street from the Armory to the beach. Improvements will include a parking area and harbor overlook, round-about and appropriate lighting. The upgrades will be an amazing improvement to the beach entrance.
Finally, in late 2011 the city will begin phase two of the Maple Street bridge improvements. Phase one was completed in 2009 and included replacement of the underground cabling that connected both sides of the bridge. Phase two will include a complete replacement of all equipment that operates the Maple Street lift bridge including mechanical equipment, motors, brakes and tail locks. The Maple Street bridge is more than 45 years old and this will be the first major upgrade since it was constructed in the 1960s. 
Getting the message out
With everything going on in the city, an important issue is how to communicate the message and information to the public. We will continue to use the traditional media sources including local radio and the Manistee News Advocate. Technology however, has changed how many citizens get their information.
The current trend is using the Internet and social networks as pathways for receiving information. Trying to stay current with this trend, the city is creating a state-of-the art website which will go live in July. The website will provide citizens and visitors a virtual tour of the services provided by this organization and key information.
We have also created a Facebook page and regularly post meeting notices and other information in this format. The Facebook page was intended to disseminate information directly to the citizens via their Facebook accounts; but it is not intended to be used as a public forum. Anyone who is interested in keeping current with city issues is encouraged to like our page today.
Please feel free to call, e-mail or stop in and see me about any issues or questions you may have about the City of Manistee. I also make (and prefer) house calls. I look forward to hearing from you.
See you on the beach, Riverwalk, farmers market, downtown or fly fishing local rivers. What an incredible place to call home.

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