City OKs application for MDEQ water infrastructure program

City manager Thad Taylor and city clerk Heather Pefley participate at a Manistee City Council meeting on Monday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

City manager Thad Taylor, city attorney George Saylor and city clerk Heather Pefley participate at a Manistee City Council meeting on Monday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — The council chambers at City Hall were packed with concerned citizens on Monday night at the Manistee City Council meeting, which upheld plenty of discussion on an extensive agenda.

City council unanimously approved an application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for a Pilot Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant at $1 million.

The city was recently notified that it was selected for the grant, which if awarded, proceeds would inventory the city’s water service lines, update the Water Asset Management Program and replace existing galvanized service lines.

The city must apply by March 30 to be considered for the grant.

A description of the project is required within the proposal application; project scope; estimated cost; and a commitment to a schedule executing funds no later than May 2018.

During the meeting, mayor pro-tem Roger Zielinski asked Jeff Mikula, director of the Manistee Department of Public Works, whether or not galvanized service lines would be replaced on private property.

“The grant actually requires it,” Mikula said. “The rules that the State of Michigan are working on right now would require that all of the service lines be replaced from the water main to the house, in order to not have dissimilar metals in the line.”

Mikula said not all of the service lines need to be replaced in the city. He said the city has to survey service lines that were already replaced, need to be updated and will already be replaced in the future.

“We have about 3,600 lines in the city, and about 1,800 of those have been upgraded from the main up to the curbside during previous construction projects,” Mikula said. “We’ve got a lot of service lines that have already been upgraded, so part of the inventory is to find out where those are at.

“I would stay away from future construction projects we already have in our Capital Improvement Program; I would also try to go to the older ares in town.”

Also during the meeting, council members denied at a vote 4-3 a Mobile Food Vending Policy, which would have provided standards on public property within the city, public property within the DDA district and private properties. Council members Dale Cooper, mayor Jim Smith, Lynda Beaton and James Grabowski voted no.

As a result, an Ordinance Amendment for Mobile Food Vendors was removed from the agenda.

Many council members were concerned about food trucks competing with other businesses within the downtown area.

“I feel this is not an advantageous move for the businesses downtown,” said Smith. “I don’t have an objection to food trucks, but in my own experience during the TGIF Manistee events last year, the presence of food trucks knocked the sales of one organization down almost 40 percent.”

Zielinski said although he feels there could be more competition in certain areas of the city, all of the involved parties approved the policy before it was presented to council. Many council members suggested using the policy as a starting point, altering it in the future based on its success.

“I think that we have to start somewhere,” he said. “This is a council policy not an ordinance, and council policies can be changed.”

A group called “We the People Action Network of Northwestern Michigan, Manistee” requested that council consider a resolution to support the Paris Climate Agreement on Monday.

Council member Erin Pontiac made a motion; however, no support was given.

The following items were also put to a vote by council on Monday:

• Council approved two sales of city-owned property: A bid was unanimously approved for Lani Rozga at $2,020 for a parcel in Maxwelltown on Block 11, on the southwest corner of Manistee and 15th streets; and a parcel on Monroe Street at $107,000 to Cheryl and Christian Houy.

• An Ordinance Amendment for Peace Disturbances, regarding noise violations within the city, was unanimously approved; this requires a second reading;

• Cedar Street between Second and Third streets, and 14th Street between Manistee and Vine streets are closed to traffic during winter for sledding. Owners of adjacent property noted concerns. Council voted 5-2 to close the “right-of-way” to sledding, due to liability issues. Council members also requested the Parks Commission consider other areas for sledding;

• Applications to boards and commissions were approved for the Historic District Commission from Richard Albee, Catherine Zaring and Aaron Bennett; and Zoning Board of Appeals from Dennis R. Johnson and Duane Jones; and

• A contract was approved for Elmer’s Crane and Dozer, Inc. to complete the city’s 2018 Street Improvement Project at $209,947.60.

A work session is scheduled for April 10 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, on the 2018-19 budget and capital improvement plan.





Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or

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