Banner Image

Monday, March 22, 2010

Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG) Highlights

NEMCOG recently released Program Highlights from October 09 to January 10. The six page document covers the entire NEMCOG region; however, it contains points of note for Presque Isle County and its Cities, Villages and Townships. The following items illustrate NEMCOG’s value to us:

1. NEMCOG Academy is planning for eight classes for spring 2010. This program provides academic instruction for Planning Commissions, Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation, and other topics of value to local government.

2. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA mapping project. This includes the proposed boundary expansion to include waters off Presque Isle County. The project will make shipwreck data available online via Google and GIS.

3. Regional Renewable Energy Program: Using grant funding, this project will help install energy efficient light and HVAC systems. Also, NEMCOG is obtaining funding for Energy Audit training for commercial and public buildings.

4. Rogers City Zoning Ordinance rewrite: A complete and professional modernization of our zoning. This new zoning ordinance will help encourage development and streamline the approval process.

5. NEMCOG is helping in planning for some of our State Parks: Thompson Harbor, Rockport, and Negwegon.

6. NEMCOG is leading an effort to study a Biomass Gasification Plant for our region.

7. Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative: NEMCOG is on the leadership team for this project which is a program connecting educational activities to the special places on the Great Lakes, including a website with a database of local information.

8. Huron Blueways Project: This long-term project funded by the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program is helping to inventory all public access along the coast from Mackinaw City to Tawas and include it on a website.

9. Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Final report completed by Diane Rekowski.

10. Community Economic Development Strategies (CEDS): A requirement for federal funding; it will be submitted to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the Spring.

11. Community Innovative Development Strategies (CIDS): This is an educational program in conjunction with MSU to help increase our regions understanding of the Knowledge Economy.

12. Support for Northeast Michigan Broadband Cooperative, helping to bring fiber optic infrastructure to our region.

13. Asset Management: Working with local road commissions and city street maintenance programs to maximize the benefits from very limited road maintenance funding.
14. US 23 Heritage Route: This project has been reorganizing since the board leadership changed from the Sunrise Side Tourism group to the current representatives. A series of brochures are soon to be published showing attractions along the corridor.

15. Regional Non-motorized Trail Plan and Investment Strategy: This project includes the entire 11 county region. It will benefit all via increased tourism, increased recreation, and better connections between neighboring communities.

16. NEMCOG is active in helping develop a work crew / work camp program for County jail inmates.

It is really amzing what NEMCOG does with a small staff!  More information about NEMCOG is available by contacting Diane Rekowski at 989-732-3551 or visiting the NEMCOG website at www.nemcog.org

New Zoning Language

A community's rules about development are very important for its future.  Given the community is what it is at any given moment.  Existing building, businesses, residences, and districts are based on the rules the community put in place and how well they were enforced in the past.

Some people think, "Why can't I build or do whatever I want?  It is my property!"  The answer is simple--because you have neighbors.  Every property in a small town is part of a neighborhood.  What your building looks like and what you do there have an impact on the neighbors and the neighborhood.  Quality of life, property value, and safety are all directly effected by what happens in the neighborhood.  Therefore, a community puts in place--hopefully--reasonable and consistent rules for new development. 

To that end, using a grant from the DNRE Coastal Zone Management (CZM), Rogers City is revising its Zoning Ordinance.  The work has been going on for over a year.  From the Planning Commission, Del Conley, Milt Very, and Ray Zielinski have been meeting regularly with Denise Cline (NEMCOG) and Toby Kuznicki (City Staff) to draft new language to update the existing zoning ordinance.

You will find a draft of "Section 32-67: Plot Plans and Site Plan Requirements, Review and Approval" on this website under City Government/ Zoning and Planning.  I encourage everyone with an interest in the future of Rogers City to read this new language.  I am very interested in your comments and suggestions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wolverine Land Fill Permit Approved

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DRNE) approved the land fill permit for the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture (WCEV).  This is a major milestone and achievement for the WCEV, Rogers City, and Presque Isle County.  Way to go DNRE!

Now, we need the Permit to Install (PTI).  Check out today's issue of the Detroit News for a full page add requesting action on the WCEV PTI.  Thank you to the citizens who contributed to make this add possible.

Rogers City needs the WCEV and so does Michigan.  I believe the WCEV is a win-win project for us all: clean energy, environmental protection, best available technology, high technology jobs, carbon capture, biomass, jobs, and more benefits besides.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Board of Review

Today and yesterday, the Rogers City Board of Review (BOR) has been meeting with property owners who have questions about their assessments.  By Charter, the BOR is composed of members of the City Council.  With the close of today's session, the BOR will be completed with appeals of city assessments.  In July and December the BOR will address only corrections.

If you have questions about your assessments, please contact the City's Assessor, Mr. Fred Lindroth at City Hall.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hentkowski Funeral Home Ribbon Cutting

The Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the Hentkowski Funeral Home to our community. The ribbon cutting will take place on Sunday, March 7th at 3:00 pm at the Funeral Home, located across from the Presque Isle County Road Commission Building on US 23 next to Airport Drive.  On behalf of the Chamber and the City, Dave Snow and invite everyone to welcome Laura and Matt and wish them success.

While you are there, you will want to check out the wonderful new building that they have created.  At a construction and furnishing cost of over $1,000,000, this is the most beautiful new building in Rogers City for many years.  It is a vision of good things to come for our community!

On behalf of Rogers City, thanks to the Hentkowsky Family for investing in our community!

Rogers City Welcomes CMU Public Broadcasting

Mark your calendars, Sarah Adams from Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting will be visiting Rogers City at 7:00 pm, Thursday, April 15, 2010 at the Senior Center (Sen Cen).  More information will be forthcoming about Sarah's program; however, you sure don't want to miss it. 

There will be light refreshments.  Bring the family. It should be Standing Room Only--SRO at the Sen Cen!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

City Water and Sewer Rate Increases

In response to citizen questions about the rate increases, I offer the following additional information about the USDA-Rural Development Water and Sewer Project rates. 

There are seven different rates in the City water and sewer rate structure.  Not all rates apply to all customers, so please, do not add up all the rates found in Council Resolution No. 2010-14 because that would not be a real bill.  Please see the three examples below to understand how the rate increases may apply to your bill: 

Example 1:  Minimum charge for all customers.  Even with a zero meter reading, customers will pay $38.25 per month.  This charge includes an increase of $14.40 per month, or 37.5%.   This charge pays for fixed City water and sewer system costs. 

Example 2:  For a customer with a meter reading of 600 cubic feet during a billing period, the bill will be the minimum $38.25, plus $27 for consumption charges.  In this example the bill is $65.25 per month.  The consumption rate for 100 cubic feet includes an increase of ten cents for water and fifty cents for sewer.  In this case, the consumption rate increased approximately 15%, and the total bill increased 38%.  The consumption charges pay for the cost associated with producing 100 cubic feet of water and processing 100 cubic feet of sewer.

Example 3:  For customers with a private well for drinking water, the City requires a flat rate charge for sewer.  This charge is now $39.75. The flat rate sewer charge was increased 47%.

No one enjoys rate increases.  The increases are the minimum needed to maintain a safe and effective system.  Also, City Council Members worked hard to find the fairest method to apply the rates, and they consider many factors.  With the new rate structure, the billing and capital charges apply to all customers, even customers with a vacant building or water shut off.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at City Hall or via email.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Health Rankings--Good News for Entire County

I am very pleased to report that Presque Isle County scored well in a state-wide health ranking.  The ranking has two major categories: Health Outcomes (scored 26) and Health Factors (scored 19) out of 82 Michigan counties.  Each area had sub-categories.  The Health Outcomes contains two parts: mortality (scored 20) and morbidity (scored 35).  The Health Factors contains four parts: health behavior (6), clinical care (18), social and economic factors (67), and physical environment (16).  To learn more about the rankings, please check the following website:


As the county seat and the largest population center in Presque Isle County, it is reasonable to assume that Rogers City enjoys the same, or better, health benefits as the entire county.  So, come live in Rogers City for a reasonably healthy life in beautiful Presque Isle County.  It really is a great place to live!