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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE)

Some people in Rogers City have complained about the slow response to the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture (WCEV) Permit to Install (PTI).  I have to agree, this PTI has been delayed beyond a reasonable period.  Many people have speculated on why and what it means. 

I have no answers to those question; however, I do want to pass on praise, where praise is due.  Today, City Attorney Mike Vogler and I attended a meeting with Melissa Kendzierski and David Lindsay of the DNRE at their Gaylord office. 

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Community Development Authority (CDA) Lakeview Project.  Melissa and David spent over two hours going over many aspects of this Brownfield Redevelopment Project.  They were very helpful in giving us a much clearer understanding of the environmental status of the project and what options are available, from an environmental point of view, to help resolve existing questions about this project.

I will not go into those options and questions in this forum.  Mike and I will brief the CDA at the next meeting, at 7:30 am on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, and the public is welcome to attend. However, I did not want to let pass an opportunity to publically thank these two excellent professionals for assisting this community to move forward. 

Melissa and David, thank you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rogers City Theater Live Theater

Rogers City Theater production of Curtains is a treat not to be missed!  The local, live show, from the creators of Chicago and Cabaret, and directed by Karl Heidemann, is wonderful.  You will want to make plans to see the show this weekend February 26-28, 2010, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm.  Great story, great music, and great local talent--tons of fun!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Economic Opportunity Project--The Report

The Economic Opportunity Project is done, or is it just beginning?  The 206-page report is published, and it is available at the Presque Isle District Library in Rogers City, at the Presque Isle County Economic Development Office and at the MSU Extension Office (both are on the 3rd floor of the County Building), at City Hall.  You can download a copy or read the document on line.  Will this report figure into our future? 

Some of Sharon Woods' comments ruffled peoples's feathers.... Other people said, "right on!"  If the report  begins honest dialogue between citizens, community leaders, business people, and youth too, then the report will be worth the effort. 

If we can get one new full-time permanent job from it, then it will be worth the cost to the City: $15,000 (half from the Community Development Authority and half from the City General Fund). 

Many people have already shown an interest and a committment to help.  Over the course of three public meetings, we had over 150 people attend and participate.  The report contains ideas from them and much more.  Also, at the final meeting, Carmine Avantini invited citizens to step foward and volunteer to help.  Several citizens did just that!  Thank you, to those who did and to all who want to make Rogers City a better place.  I believe this report and our renewed efforts will accelerate revitalization in Rogers City.  

But, how do we keep this report from being "just another expensive report that gathers dust on a shelf?"
I'm going to use this blog to discuss various items from the report.  Also, groups, like the Promotions Committee, will discuss topics from the report at their meetings.  In addition, Cheryl Peters has offered to help lead education forums and other community leaders will do their part too.  Ultimately, the answer to the question "what happens now?" depends entirely on the people of Rogers City.

Bark Park: A place where your dog can run free!

When Rogers City asked people what they were looking for in new and improved park facilities, one of the more frequent responses was a "Bark Park."  Per City Ordinance, pets are not allowed to roam free in the City, but must be under the control of the owner at all times.  Most people walk their dogs on a leash; however, people who love their doggies want to be able to take off the leash and let the dog run free.  This can be done in a Bark Park: a controlled environment where the dogs can run, but can not run away.    The Parks and Recreation Commission discussed this item, included it in the Community Recreation Plan, and now we are putting together a plan to create a Bark Park at the location of the Public Works Park (next to the Wastewater Treatment Facility).

Since funding is very tight, Roger Wenzel, the Director of Public Works, found some unused, City owned fencing.  Built with Department of Public Works (DPW) labor, the proposed Bark Park will provide an area 100 feet long by 50 feet wide for dogs to run free.  With two access gates, the Bark Park will be accessible from either the Sunrise Trail side or First Street.  There will be trash receptacles and doggie doo bag dispensers at each gate.  Per City Ordinance, owners are responsible to clean up after their pets.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss the Bark Park plan at its next meeting, at 4:00 pm, Wednesday, March 17, 2010.  Please plan to attend if you have a comment or suggestion.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Presque Isle & Cheboygan County Job Fair

Friday, March 26, 2010

12:30 PM - 5:00 PM

National Guard Armory

610 Cuyler Street in Cheboygan

Bring a copy of your resume

Fill out job applications

On-site interviewing

Diverse employer pool

Network with employers

For more information contact, Michigan Works! @ (231) 627-4303 or (989) 733-8548
An Equal Opportunity Program/Employer

Auxiliary aids, services, and alternative format will be made available upon request to individuals with disabilities

Michigan Relay Center callers use 711 or 1-800-649-3777 (Voice & TTY)

These materials were developed and supported by a grant awarded by The State of Michigan, Department of Labor & Economic Growth and the Northeast Michigan Consortium.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Economic Opportunity Project--Final Report

Tomorrow is the Big Day!  Please attend the final presentation of Rogers City's Economic Opportunity Project.  The presentation will begin at 7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at the Senior Center.

Refreshments will be provided.  Sharon Woods will present findings from her five-month economic study of our community.  Carmine Avantini will facilitate the meeting and help us guide our community in the way forward to increased prosperity.

How should we address our need for jobs?  What can be done to help make our children's future brighter?  What opportunities exist right now?  How can we make a better place for retirees and for young people?  How can we revitalize our historic main street, and make it the vibrant heart of our community? 

Whatever your point of view, you will have an opportunity to express yourself at this meeting.  Families, students, business owners, property owners, job seekers, and people with jobs are welcome. 

Our economic future begins now! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Natural Resources Trust Fund

Ralph Stedman, the Presque Isle County Soil Conservation Director, and I attend a workshop this afternoon in Grayling, MI.  The workshop was put on by the newly reorganized Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DRNE) to explain grant opportunities for park improvements and park land acquisition.  Over the past decades the Natural Resources Trust Fund has provide hundreds of millions of dollars to communities in Michigan, including Rogers City.  Coming from gas and oil revenues, these funds have improved recreational opportunities and preserved some wonderful property in perpetuity.

Now that our new Community Recreation Plan (posted elsewhere on this website) has been approved by the DNRE, as the "City of Parks and Trials," Rogers City may again be able to obtain grant funding.  It is my hope that our community will once again improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors through the use of these grant dollars.  Some communities will aquire these dollars; why not Rogers City.   More trails perhaps?  Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Management Approach

I am meeting with City employees tomorrow morning to keep communications open during a challenging time.  I plan to share my core management approach with them, and I thought I should share it with the public as well.   Based on my training and experience, the following words summarize the management approach I seek to use: respect for all individuals, an assumption of goodness/honesty until proven otherwise, individual accountability for actions, data and fact-based decision making, a system of uniform (or equal) service to all the public, aggressively seeking opportunities & continuous improvement, maximum communication, and a collaborative style.

Each of these phrases is a bit cryptic and subject to vagueness or misunderstanding.  I may try to expand and clarify them as time allows, but these word say to me the approach I should take in doing the work of this great and demanding job.  If you have suggestions or comments, please let me know.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA)

MLGMA is a mouthful from any perspective, but it is a great organization.  I recently returned from the MLGMA "Winter Institute"--a great learning and networking experience.  So much valuable information was provided to me, I'm not sure where to start....  Bad news is best to get out first, and "save the best for last."

The bad news is that the State of Michigan financial situation continues to be very weak.  State Revenue sharing will likely be cut again and more than last year.  This cut will hit our City budget very hard, after a long string of other cuts in revenue and increased cost of operations.  The City faces serious financial challenges.  However, we will get through to a brighter future with attention to detail, frugality, and shared sacrifice. 

The good news is that innovation, creativity, and hard work do pay off.  I brought many specific ideas back which will be shared with staff and City Council at the appropriate time, and some of these ideas may save us money, make for a smoother operation, or serve our citizens better. 

One key area that you will hear from me again and again is "business development," sometimes called entrepreneurship.  Rogers City already has the spirit!  We have seen at least three new businesses in Rogers City this year:  Deb Smith's Green House, Ron Krawczak's White Pines Garden, and Jackie Noffze's Le Fluer Boutique.  If you started a new business and you are not mentioned, please let me know.  I can not sing praises enough for these pioneers.  During a tough economy, these courageous people took a big risk and opened a new business!  These are real American heroes!  I encourage everyone to visit and partonize these new Rogers City businesses.  They offer high class products and great service.  We need more people like these three who will buck the tide of economic decline.  They are the future!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Utility Rates and USDA Project

The City Council meeting scheduled for 7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 2, 2010 is a very important meeting.
The City Council may decide on new water and sewer rates which will impact all our customers.  The rates will be going up to pay for needed improvements to the water and sewer system to provide safe and healthy water and sewer service to homes and businesses in Rogers City.

Water rates may go up by about 25% and sewer rates may go up about 50%.  This could result in an increase of about $10-12 per month for the average customer. 

Whatever your thought about these improvements and their cost, this meeting is your opportunity to speak your mind to City Council.

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