View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version


East Express | FEBRUARY 21, 2019

The Mayor’s Corner

We are excited to announce that we are starting a new section of the East Express! Each month, The Mayor’s Corner will feature Mayor Seibold answering a commonly asked, relevant question from residents.

Q: The recent power outage was difficult. Why doesn’t EGR bury wires like some of the other communities?

A: Burying power lines was one of the first questions I received when I was elected to the City Commission in 2005 and the answer remains the same today: unfortunately, it’s a cost problem. When I recently spoke to Consumers Energy, they estimated a $75-100 million cost to bury the wires, not including costs from other services that use the same poles. To give some perspective, our annual City budget is $25 million. Currently, much of that budget is going toward updating our water, sewer, storm sewer and road infrastructures. These systems take precedent as it is critical to update them to ensure they do not fail.

Meanwhile, we are working with Consumers to ensure they are properly updating old equipment. Both the City and Consumers are continuing programs that will reduce the chance that tree branches will interrupt the power lines.

I sympathize with the many residents who had to endure the extended power outage due to the extreme weather we’ve faced this winter. While we cannot bury the power lines, the City is working hard to hopefully prevent such an outage for any future storm.


Starting Monday, Feb. 25 through Friday, March 1, the City will be celebrating Snowplow Driver Appreciation Week! Although we are always appreciative of all their hard work, the polar vortex was a great reminder of how essential our public works crews are. Throughout the week we will be showing our appreciation in various ways—social media features, public thank-you opportunities, commissioner visits and local business participation. Residents can show their appreciation by signing a "thank you" on the large poster outside the community center, bringing in some treats for the crews or taking their children to the snow-themed story time at the library on Wednesday. 


City crews fill potholes on a routine basis. The City proactively targets potholes on routes by targeting streets based on asset management ratings.  Pavement surface evaluation ratings are conducted each year for all city streets on a 1-10 scale, with a 1 rating indicating poor condition and a 10 excellent condition.  Crews proactively fill potholes by going to streets with a paser rating of 1-4, where they are most likely to be found.

To report potholes, residents can contact the Department of Public Works at 616-940-4870 or report them online by selecting the “submit a request” icon on the home page.


Department of Public Works staff members work hard to keep the 80+ miles of sidewalks passable during the winter season. The City currently utilizes utility vehicles with broom, blower and plow attachments to clear snow from sidewalks. Because each winter weather event is different, the City has these different snow removal attachments to match the appropriate removal equipment with the winter weather that occurs. However, there is no equipment available that can remove all snow or ice, which is why residual snow is present on streets and sidewalks after they have been plowed. 


The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds has some winter tips to protect our watershed:

Shovel — Shovel snow onto vegetated areas. Grass and plants will act as a natural filter once snow melts, reducing runoff that goes down stormdrains directly to rivers and streams.
Plan Ahead — Shovel and scrape early and often. De-icers work best when there is only a thin layer to remove. 
Use Less — A little salt goes a long way. Apply sparingly, and remove slush once the snow melts to prevent refreezing. 
Recycle — Save money by reclaiming salt for re-use by sweeping or vaccuming the solids from the sidewalk after the storm. 
Storage — Practice good housekeeping by storing salt or other de-icers under a roof or other cover to minimized polluted runoff. 
Vehicles — Winterize vehicles so that there are no leaks. Do not wash the car in the driveway — ensure that dirty washwater is not entering the storm sewer.

For more information on winter maintenance, read LGROW's latest newsletter, or visit their website.


Interested in traveling abroad? Parks & Recreation has an opportunity for you to take a journey to Switzerland or visit Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. For more information, click here

Stay up-to-date with all things East Grand Rapids by following us on Facebook and Twitter.