IM adopts budget, but most major city projects in limbo

IRON MOUNTAIN — Nearly a mile of paving has been completed on streets and alleys in Iron Mountain but whether significantly more work will be done this year is uncertain.

Bacco Construction Co. has finished nearly all of its work under a $466,000 contract awarded last August for more than 1.5 miles of paving with a June 2022 deadline. About 0.6 miles of Stanton Street was done last fall. The rest of the work — mainly a portion of Washington Street and 0.43 miles of alleys — was put off until spring.

The city council Monday approved a 2022-23 fiscal year budget that provides $400,000 for more paving but with no schedule determined.

City Manager Jordan Stanchina said future projects will often be tied to water line replacements. Those projects, however, will depend on the availability of contractors and materials.

“It’s a challenging year for parts,” he told the council. With prices volatile, it may be advantageous for the city to order the materials and then solicit bids from contractors, he said.

Under a state order, there are roughly 1,700 lead “goose neck” connections that must be replaced by 2040. But in light of supply chain problems, the city has made no quick moves to identify 2022 projects. Aid for lead line replacements promised in a recent state budget deal might only be in the form of loans, not grants, and there is “nothing concrete” yet, Stanchina said.

To help meet expenses, the new budget includes a 5% increase in water and sewer consumption charges, effective July 1.

There was no public comment during a hearing on the spending plan. It carries a city property tax rate of 21.2265 mills, or $21.23 per $1,000 of taxable value, a decline of 0.03%.

In other action, the council:

— Learned that an alley east of Hemlock Street between Houghteling and Wells streets was too wet to do scheduled paving. Some excavation may be needed, Stanchina said. A cul-de-sac on Wickman Drive will be paved soon, weather permitting.

— Heard Stanchina report that We Energies is making quick progress installing LED street light fixtures. The anticipated completion date is early fall, though it could be earlier. The $138,000 project approved in February is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act. It involves nearly all of the 800 street lights in the city — except for about 30 that are mainly on Stephenson Avenue. Light-emitting diodes are promoted as being 50% more energy efficient than other lighting.

— Approved a special use permit to allow Kate Burie to offer “life coaching” services at 503 W. E St. Clients will typically visit one at a time for one-hour appointments, according to the application. The Iron Mountain Planning Commission had recommended approval.

— Reappointed Holly DeGroot to a three-year term on the planning commission.


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