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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Proposed City Council Goals

Below is a list of proposed City Council Goals.  The Council will discuss these goals at the meeting tonight, and they may take action to approve or amend them.  Public Comment is welcome.

All Goals (not in priority order)
Current Status/Notes

Projects (Goals with end date)

Project 1: Move DPW to Industrial Park and Restore Site
This project has a completed conceptual design; however, detailed design work has not been accomplished.  Council has authorized use of Lot Number 2 in the Industrial Park for storage of DPW bulk material and designated this lot as the location for a possible new DPW facility.  The cost of the new facility and cleanup of the old DPW site is estimated to be about $1 million.  A low interest rate, long term USDA loan is a likely source to finance this project.  City Council: retain goal

Project 2:  Fill City Industrial Lots with Value-Added Uses
Lots 1-4 were proposed and available for development.  Lot 1 is now being used for the new water tower. Lot 2 is reserved for a future DPW facility location.   The RCAFDA has acquired lot 4 for a new Fire Hall opposite the Ambulance Building.  Lot 3 is available for development. Wayne Hewitt is interested in lot 3 to build an expanded recycling facility.  Wayne is seeking funding for this project. This goal is about 75% completed. City Council: Work with Mr. Hewitt, to sign an agreement to develop the property. 

Project 3: Connect Airport Road to BR-23
C2AE estimated project cost of $500,000.  MEDC funding possible if Wolverine announces.  Carmeuse officials may help with construction of this road.  As an alternative route, DPW has opened a gravel drive from the end of Park Drive to BR-23. This project is on hold pending an announcement from Wolverine.     

Project 4: Complete USDA Capital Improvements
The project for construction of water and sewer improvements is nearing completion.  Three contracts totaling $7.1 million in USDA funding along with a $750,000 ICE grant have been appropriated.  Construction of a new water tower, lift station, water and sewer mains are complete.  A settlement of final completion payments is in work.  Renovation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant is about 80% complete. New wells are in development.  This project is scheduled for completion in 2012.  No action necessary at this time.

Projects (Goals with end date)
Current Status/Notes

Project 5: Safe Routes to School and sidewalk repairs
A SR2S program was started in 2007 (see ongoing #3, below). The SR2S Team completed planning and obtained three grants, including a major award of $373,000 with construction planned for 2012.  Construction of approximately 4,500 lineal feet of sidewalk is planned in various locations.  The sidewalk repair program is on-going.  An estimated $800,000 in additional funding will be needed to repair existing sidewalks. City Council: continue sidewalk repair program.  

Project 6: Traffic Calming and Infrastructure Improvements on
Bradley Highway (US-23) Note:
This project will be documented in the Pedestrian Street Plan (PSP). The intent of the PSP is to position Rogers City to apply for MDOT Transportation Enhancement Grant funding for the US-23 corridor.  This funding would allow completion of major parts of the PSP.
To improve the US-23 commercial corridor in cooperation with right-of-way owner (MDOT). The goal is to reduce traffic speeds and obtain more traffic volume stopping at Rogers City commercial destinations.  Long-term vision includes: improved street lighting, pedestrian pathways, pocket parks with benches and trash cans, improved signage and links to existing amenities and trails, and decorative landscaping. City officials are in discussions with the Shopping Center owners to resolve intersection issues. This project is in early planning stage with a conceptual plan in draft. With approval of the concept plan, a detailed project plan could begin with a budget for planning. Hiring a professional consultant is recommended, but not required. City Council: continue planning.

NEW Project 7: Grow Population
Rogers City has lost population each decade going back to 1950 as local jobs declined.  Council created a “Growth Committee” to evaluate means to reverse the trend.  The Growth Committee has been meeting every month and investigating various means to grow the community. City Council: continue this project.

NEW Project 8: Street Rebuilding
Council members requested City Staff to investigate options for rebuilding deteriorated streets.  Existing street funds are insufficient to make major improvements.  Options to fund street rebuilding include borrowing, a street millage, special assessments, grant funding, and/or a combination of the above.  City Council: investigate voter referendum language on a proposed project to rebuild streets and hold a public workshop.

Projects (Goals with end date)

Current Status/Notes

New Project 9: Transportation Asset Management Plan
To achieve the maximum longevity from the street system, a detailed Transportation Asset Management (TAM) plan needs to be crafted.  Toby has developed some of the information needed for a TAM plan; however, additional work needs to be done.  He is willing to do the work, but would like a commitment from City Council that they will adopt the TAM philosophy:  preservation is the priority, not rebuilding.  If he develops a plan, but all the funding goes to rebuilding, then the planning effort will be wasted.
City Council: develop a TAM plan (see Goal #8).

New Project 10:  Complete Streets Ordinance
In 2011, City Council passed a resolution authorizing staff to develop a Complete Street Ordinance.  This ordinance will provide guidance on future improvements of the city’s transportation system.  It will require considerable staff time to draft a Complete Street Ordinance for Council review. This ordinance will be a companion piece to the Pedestrian Street Plan (PSP) that identifies specific improvements desired for build-out over time.  The ordinance will define how the specific improvements will be constructed (minimum Standards, for example, Street width, sidewalk width, etc.).  City Council: proceed with a Complete Streets Ordinance, but not a priority.

New Project 11:  Comprehensive Plan (Master Plan)
The Comprehensive Plan, also known as the Master Plan, was last updated in 2006 and is out of date.  A request for CZM funds will be attempted in 2012.  Regardless of grant funding, the City should proceed with a project to update the Master Plan.  The Master Plan update will probably cost about $15,000, using NEMCOG assistance. If grant funding is unavailable, the City can make progress toward a Master Plan update through the Pedestrian Street Plan which will become a part of the Master Plan.  The project may be accomplished over two or more years.  If grant funding becomes available, planning may accelerate.  City Council: proceed with a Master Plan update as resources allow.

Projects (Goals with end date)

Current Status/Notes

New Project 12: Computer Update
A specific project to purchase computer software and hardware to upgrade the City’s aging technology has been in planning during 2011.  Staff has a proposal from our computer maintenance support system contractor, Integrated Systems Consultant (ISC).  ISC recommends a new server, three new PCs, 15 sets of software, along with other items for about $29,000.  ICS indicated a price break probably will become available, if we move in the spring of 2012.  City Council: obtain a proposal for purchase (see ongoing goal #4).

New Project 13:Economic Development
City Council: Delete from goals

New Project 14: Trail Link at Marina
Last year City Council rejected a proposal to acquire bank-owned property (formerly Vogelheim) to link the Huron Sunrise Trail into the Marina.  Deb Greene and Beach Hall asked me to bring forward a modified proposal for this site, which has languished for decades, but could be an economic stimulus for the city.  A new approach to move this central property to develop, provide a valuable community recreational feature, and create an attraction for tourism is to acquire only a 20-30 foot easement for a trail link, leaving the remaining acreage for private development. Bank officials have indicated a willingness to consider this option, depending on details. The project would only move forward with successful application for a MDNR land acquisition grant with matching funds from another grant (MEDC, CZM, GLRI). Other communities in Michigan have used this method to obtain substantial community improvements at very low cost to the community.  The cost to initiate this process is less than $5,000 for preliminary engineering and an independent appraisal.  Subsequent grants would be required to build the facilities on the site.  Trails have very low maintenance costs, but add value to adjoining land.  City Council: retain this project, but no spending this year.   

On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On-Going 1: Development of Vacant Property West of US-23
A new cell tower is going to be constructed in 2012 near Cedar Street.  This will be the first major new construction, other than City projects, since the new Funeral Home. With new utility service, provided through the USDA project, this property is ready for development.

On Going 2:  Planning for Capital Improvements to City Infrastructure, including streets, bridges, utilities, and public lands

The staff has on file previous plans for capital improvements.  The following plans require development or periodic updates to be current and viable: Community Recreation Plan, Master Plan, Transportation Asset Management (TAM) Plan, water and sewer infrastructure, bridge repair, and use of public lands.  The Recreation Plan is current until 2014. The Master Plan is proposed as a new project (see Project 11, above). The TAM Plan is also proposed as a new project (project 9).  It calls for investment in appropriate repairs (as opposed to rebuilding streets) as the most effective use of road maintenance dollars.  This means existing funding is better spent with targeted repairs than road rebuilding.  At current funding levels, streets will continue to deteriorate. USDA Water and Sewer projects are almost complete; however, planning for continued capital improvements should continue.  The City has over 35 miles of water and sewer mains/lines.  Only a regular yearly investment will prevent the City from facing extraordinary rate increases at some point in the future.  The City should plan for a regular program of yearly spending to replace deteriorated infrastructure. Also, the City should invest in a camera system to effectively evaluate sewer lines for repair. Also, some utility meters continue to require replacement each year due to normal failure.  The Trout River Bridge.  Staff will continue to seek grant funding for this bridge.  City Council members have indicated a desire to sell city owned land to place it on the tax rolls; however, this effort will require funding to proceed.  Due diligence for the sale of City owned land requires about $200 per parcel to properly assess the status of the title and restrictions on use. Also, an appraisal may be needed to see if a vote of the public is required. City Council: continue planning.
On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On-Going 3:  Safe Routes 2 School
The SR2S program is an on-going community activity, independent of SR2S grant awards.  The local SR2S team (of over 20 participants) is working to improve student health by four “E”s: Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Education.  Sara McIntire has been hired with grant funding to be the new SR2S Coordinator.  City Council: continue achieving SR2S goals.

On-Going 4: Technology
Moving the City forward with smart and affordable modern technology is essential.  In 2009 Charter Communications invested $1 million in new cable system in the Rogers City area.  Additionally, Merit Network obtained a federal grant and is working on action plans. Local plans include use of available broadband with linking to local governmental agencies, sharing technology, improving internet presence, and use of social media. In 2011, the City and Chamber of Commerce completed an update of rogerscity.com to a user friendly software system.  Staff has secured a proposal for new hardware and software purchases (see new project 12).  City Council: Bring forward proposal to purchase with training.

On-Going 5: Governmental Cooperation and Consolidation
Rogers City has a long history of practical moves to increase cooperation and consolidate government operations.  Examples of this activity are documented in the Consolidation, Collaboration, and Cooperation Plan that City Council approved in 2011. This plan proposed an initiative to increase governmental cooperation regarding training for planning and zoning.  The proposal requires other governmental agencies to voluntarily agree to work together. City Council: continue planning.

On-Going 6:  Parks Assessment  and Improvement

The State of Michigan approved the 2009 Community Recreation Plan which contains dozens of projects (large and small) to improve the “City of Parks and Trails.”  DPW continues to maintain parks and trails and also make minor improvements according to the approved plan and available budgeted funding.  Many park improvement projects are included in the 2009 plan, such as a covered pavilions and playground
On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On Going 6 (Continued):
(Continued) improvements. Various trail expansion plans are also included in the Community Recreation Plan, including a snowmobile trail bridge over the Trout River in the Herman Vogler Conservation Area.  These projects are an on-going effort to make Rogers City a more attractive destination for tourists and a great place to live.  A major specific project proposal to improve the Huron Sunrise Trail is included above (see new project 14).  Smaller incremental efforts, like the link between 6th Street and Wenonah, may be complete with budgeted funds as resources allow. City Council: continue on-going park and trail improvements as funding and human resources allow.

On Going 7: Clean Up Rogers City Day/Month
Annual spring cleanup day is in place. The residential waste contract is working well via PAC. Evergreen Recycling is doing recycling at Transfer Station, but we need glass recycling.  Hazardous Waste removal capability is needed for the region.

On Going 8: Training for Boards and Commissions
Obtaining quality training for Boards and Commissions has been a long standing goal.  There are various opportunities for training.  It requires constant effort to schedule and complete training as not all members are available at the same time.  See on-going goal 5.

On Going 9: Downtown Revitalization
Façade and VSCI grants are completed. Several buildings are renovated and waiting for activity. The Street Lights Phase 2 project is almost done. The CDA has terminated its efforts to be a “Main Street” community due to lack of resources. However, on-going efforts to revitalize the downtown need to continue.  In 2010, the an Economic Study for the downtown demonstrated that viable economic opportunities exist—for those who are willing and able to take advantage of them. Future Downtown visioning and planning is needed.  City Council: continue planning.

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