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East Express | September 3, 2020

Hello Neighbors and Friends,

It is hard to believe that summer is almost behind us. As much as I enjoy the long, warm, sunny days, I have to admit the season of falling leaves, cooler temperatures and pumpkin spice lattes is starting to sound pretty nice. I hope you and yours are enjoying these days as we transition into the new season.

Over the past week or so, many of you may have received some misinformation regarding 5G small cells in our community. This misinformation has come in many forms: social media posts, email campaigns, videos and even door-to-door messaging. The City has learned there is an out-of-state organization that has been working with people in our area to spread this misinformation, primarily through the use of fear tactics.

City staff has been working tirelessly to field emails and phone calls from concerned residents, and working diligently to get accurate information out to our residents. Our Interim City Manager, Doug LaFave, has put together a comprehensive FAQ sheet, found at, that answers many questions and contains factual information on this topic.

I am very sorry for the fear and confusion that has been spread regarding this issue. I cannot thank our City Staff enough for all of the time and effort they have put in to getting our residents the correct and accurate information. Please always know the health and safety of our community is always a top priority for myself, your City Commissioners and our entire City Staff.

Additionally, if you did not have the chance to read my letter to the community in regards to engaging with our Public Safety Department, you can still do so by visiting our website.

Please mark your calendars for the next EGR Coffee Talk on Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. If you would like to join me for coffee and conversation, RSVP via email or phone: or 616.949.2110 x 887. Once I know how many will attend, I will pick an appropriate location to accommodate the group and social distancing protocols. I look forward to meeting with you!

Lastly, for the month of September, I am changing my office hours to 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Please reach out to me anytime to make an appointment. I would love to meet with you, get to know you and hear your thoughts and concerns.

Enjoy the last days of summer and stay healthy,



Cooking bacon and eggs, clogged drain, trash

We are excited to share that Sharla Seath is our new finance director! With more than 23 years of experience, she will lead the department, which is responsible for financial reporting and analysis, water and sewer billing, budgeting and auditing and additionally oversees assessing and tax administration, human resources and information technology. Learn more about Sharla.

Wishing all our residents and community members a safe and relaxing holiday weekend! A special thank you to all of the essential workers out there who have put in extra hours and dedication during this very challenging year.

Please note City Hall will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7 in observance of the holiday. Monday’s City Commission meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. Virtual meeting information can be found on our website.

There have been many news stories and social media conversations recently about absentee ballots vs. voting in person. City Clerk Karen Brower shares how the City administers elections to ensure every vote counts so you can decide between in-person and absentee voting come November. Read her full letter.  

Absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election will be available by the end of September. You may request an absentee ballot on our Absentee Voting webpage.

If you're not sure whether you've already requested an absentee ballot for this election, visit this Secretary of State webpage and fill in your information to search for your record. Absentee ballot information is then displayed on the top right of the screen — it will show the date an application was received, if any. If you haven't already filled out an application, there is a link on the left side of this same voter information page where you can request a ballot for November.  

If someone in your household was planning on being away at college and has had to change their plans due to COVID-19, please have them contact us at 616.949.2110 about the mailing address for their ballot. We’ve received lots of applications with college mailing addresses on them, but we know many schools have moved to online classes and may have closed residence halls in recent weeks and months.

Questions? Call us at 616.949.2110.

Thanks to a great partnership, the Grand Valley Metro Council has provided Public Safety with 150 bike lights to distribute throughout the community. Our crossing guards will offer these lights to any children commuting to and from school who do not already have them on their bikes to promote visibility and safety. For additional safety tips from our crossing guards, please read EGR Crossing Guards Ready to Help Kids Commute to School Safely and visit

three corssing guards with stop signs

After an extensive, three-year review and implementation period, our cross-trained department, which offers police, fire and medical first response services, has completed the MLEAC’s law enforcement accreditation process and was granted accredited status. The MLEAC recognized the department at Monday’s City Commission meeting.

Our department is one of 25 MLEAC-accredited departments in the state of Michigan, which has 600 police agencies. To learn more about this recognition and the accreditation process, read our press release.  

Thanks to Parks & Rec., Google Maps is now updated with all of our parks, trails, restrooms and other amenities. Explore for yourself:

As a reminder, due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its timeline and restrictions on large group gatherings, the Parks & Recreation Department made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon. Save the date for next year’s race: Sept. 11, 2021. 

For information regarding 5G small cells, please refer to our Small Cell/DAS webpage for the most accurate and reliable data, including a comprehensive FAQ sheet, maps and more.

Please note the City’s authority to regulate 5G small cells is extremely limited and largely preempted by Federal and State Law. On Nov. 4, 2019, the City Commission approved amendments to the City Code for the regulation of 5G small cell wireless facilities, meaning that before any small cell or supporting equipment is installed in the city right-of-way, a permit must be approved. Had the City not approved these amendments, service providers could locate small cells in the right-of-way at their discretion without needing a permit.

If you are interested in changing small cell regulations, we encourage you to contact Federal and State elected officials who made the decision to exclude local control on small cell regulation.  

Looking for information on EGR construction projects? Visit our Construction webpage for weekly updates.
Thank you to all those who participated in our first public workshop on Aug. 25. This was the second of three sessions during which the City, in collaboration with Progressive AE, seeks community conversation and input. Stay tuned for details on our next meeting.

If you haven’t already, you can still add to the conversation by completing our SECOND survey.

Interested in having a new tree planted in the out-lawn area in front of your home? Split the cost 50/50 with the City! The estimated total cost of a tree (to be split with the City) is between $350-$450 which includes a two-inch diameter tree between 12-14 feet tall, planting, mulching and a two-year warranty.

Interested residents should complete an order form and send it to or drop it off at the City Forester at City Hall, 750 Lakeside Drive SE, by Oct. 1. Planting occurs in the fall, between October and December, depending on the weather.

Questions related to the tree planting program can be directed to Mike Ferris at 616.940.4817 or To learn more about the City’s tree planting program, please visit our Forestry webpage.

As we approach the holiday weekend, we’d like to remind residents that outdoor storage of boats, trailers and RVs is allowed for up to 72 hours on streets and driveways. Otherwise, they must be stored indoors, or in a rear yard only, and then they must be reasonably shielded from view. Not all properties can accommodate such storage, so you may have to use offsite storage.

Sharla Seath

Fats, oils and grease are the more common causes of sewer lateral blockages leading to backups. There are simple steps residents can take to prevent fats, oils and grease from adversely affecting their homes and communities. The easiest way to solve these issues and prevent blockages is to keep them out of the sewer system by:
  • Never pouring grease down sink drains or into toilets or garbage disposals.
  • Pouring grease into a covered disposable container and putting it in the trash.
  • Soaking up remaining fats, oils and grease with paper towels and disposing with your trash.
  • Scraping meats and food with fat and grease into the trash before washing dishes. 
  • Putting baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and emptying the drain basket or strainer into the trash.
  • Only using garbage disposals for fruits, vegetables and organic waste.

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