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East Express | MARCH 21, 2019




WATER & SEWER RATES INCREASE 


At the March 18 City Commission Meeting, an increase in EGR Water and Sewer readiness-to-serve rates was approved. The rate was increased from $36 to $40 for residential and adjusted proportionally for non-residential. Because of the increase, the City can commit an additional $200,000 to the repair and replacement of water and sewer infrastructure. This budget is not used for typical road construction. The increase will affect the April 1 water bill.  

For more information on the new water-sewer rates, please review the research and data presented to the City Commission by Interim City Manager Doug La Fave and Finance Director Karen Mushong.  



YARD WASTE COLLECTION RESUMES 

The Public Works Department weekly provides curb-side yard waste collection services to all EGR residents beginning the first full week of April (April 1 this year). As a reminder, loose leaves CANNOT be placed in the street until October, so all yard waste must be in paper bags or reusable containers. Guidelines for yard waste pickup and additional information can be found on the City’s Refuse Collection webpage.  



CITY COMMISSION MEETING RESCHEDULED 

Due to Spring Break, the April 1 City Commission Meeting has been rescheduled for this coming Monday, March 25.  



MAYOR’S CORNER 

Each month, Mayor Seibold will answer a commonly asked, relevant question from residents.  


Q: Why do we have a City Manager AND a Mayor? What do you both do? 


A: The job of mayor is part-time. I probably spend, on average, about 10 hours a week on City business.  (some weeks much more, some weeks less.) The mayor heads the City Commission which provides high level oversight of city budget, operations and strategic planning.  I help to ensure that the policies, procedures and direction of the City stay on track. 


The City Manager has day-to-day responsibilities for the operation of the city.  S/He works with the department directors to make sure all the responsibilities are on track, and that the city runs efficiently and on budget. The city manager and I speak on the phone or email several times per week so I can stay informed on key issues. 

I think this form of government works well. It is the same way that almost all cities in Kent County are structured. Like most of the other mayors, I have a full-time job outside of city government. 



SWEETHEART DANCE 


Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy an evening with your sweetheart at this year’s masquerade-themed Sweetheart Dance. Don’t forget to wear a crazy tie for the “Craziest Tie in East” competition. Sign up through the online catalog by April 9 to receive a $5 discount. 



POTHOLE PATCHING 

City crews fill potholes on a routine basis. The City proactively targets potholes on routes by reviewing our asset management rating maps.  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 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



ADULT ART CLASSES IN EGR 

This summer, there are many opportunities to delve into your creative side. Residents and nonresidents can try Creative Art Therapy, Watercolors and Mixed Media. With all the beautiful scenery surrounding us in EGR, it will be easy to get inspired! Register online today.



GYPSY MOTH INFORMATION 

The City Commission recently approved a treatment plan for Gypsy Moths in a few pockets on the southwest part of the city.  The City of East Grand Rapids will hire Hamilton Helicopters, Inc. to perform a spray treatment in May/June. The exact day and time of the spray will be determined by weather, including rain and wind conditions. The City will also be providing tree wrap bands to residents within the impacted area. Residents within this area may stop by the Public Works Administration office in the lower level of City Hall to pick up tree wrap bands (once available). Additional details regarding the spray treatment will be sent out by a mailed notice and announced via e-news alert and on the City's Facebook page. For more informational/educational materials, maps and notices, please visit the City's Forestry webpage. 



MAY 7 EGR PUBLIC SCHOOLS MILLAGE ELECTION 

The East Grand Rapids Public Schools have called a special election for Tuesday, May 7, 2019 for voters to decide on two millage proposals.  Sample ballots for the May election can be viewed here. All voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on May 7. The last day to register by mail or in person anywhere but the EGR City Clerk's office for this election is Monday, April 22, 2019.  In-person registration with the EGR Clerk (must show proof of residency) can take place April 23 through 8 p.m. on Monday, May 7. Contact the City at 616.949.2110 for more information. 

Absentee ballots can be obtained by visiting city offices during normal business hours or by contacting us at 616.949.2110 to arrange for a ballot by mail. 


 
NO-REASON ABSENTEE VOTING 

With the passage of Proposal 3 in November 2018, voters no longer need a reason to obtain an absentee ballot. You may vote absentee prior to any election regardless of your age or whether you will be out of the city on election day.   

The City maintains a “permanent absentee list” of those who wish to be notified of each election and receive an application for a ballot. We cannot send a ballot to you automatically, however, we can send the application to you. Once the application is returned each election, we will send the ballot by mail.  If you’d like to be placed on our “permanent absentee list,” send us an email with your name, address, date of birth and the request to be placed on the permanent absentee list.


If you’re concerned that your absentee vote won’t count, don’t be! Contrary to some rumors out there, absentee ballots are always counted on election day, no matter the circumstances. Absentee ballots are kept secured at city hall in their sealed envelopes until they are opened by election workers on election day and fed into the tabulating machines. If you’d like more information on the process and how everything works, please call or visit our offices. 



WATER SYSTEM MAINTENANCE 

Crews will be exercising water main valves April 1-12 in zones six and seven between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. During this time, there should be no disruption to service.   

Following the exercising of water main valves, crews will flush water out of fire hydrants (flushing mains) in zones six and seven between April 15 and mid/end of May between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. During this time, there may be limited disruption to service, low pressure or discolored water from mineral deposits being flushed out of the mains.  

If discolored water is noticed, turn on a faucet nearest to the water service coming into your home, which is typically in a basement, for several minutes while the natural minerals are flushed out. If you notice discoloration in your water, we encourage you not to do laundry to avoid staining clothes. 

The City mailed out notice cards to residents in zones six and seven on 3/15/19 and DPW crews will also place notice signs in the right-of-way in areas they are flushing. 


For additional information and zone maps please visit the Water Sewer Systems webpage. If you have any questions, please call Public Works 616.940.4870. 



TREE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM 

In 2016 the City of East Grand Rapids completed a tree inventory and risk assessment of approximately all 7,200 trees in the public right-of-way and developed a targeted preventative maintenance approach to managing the public right-of-way tree canopy. Similar to the sidewalk replacement program, target areas within the City are designated for an in-depth assessment and subsequent appropriate treatments.  Progress in each zone is limited to budgeted funds. This year the targeted area is within “Zone 3.”  The contractor working in the target area is CHOP, Inc. of Grand Rapids, MI.   

The City manages right-of–way trees outside of the target area based on reported concerns and street view assessments. For additional information and maps, please visit the City's Forestry webpage.



COMMUNITY PARK, RECREATION, OPEN SPACE AND GREENWAY PLAN UPDATE 

This year, the Parks & Recreation Department will be updating the five-year Community Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Plan. By updating and submitting this plan to the state, Parks & Recreation will be able to apply for grants from 2020-2025 that will help continue the improvement and development of EGR’s facilities and grounds. The department will be seeking your feedback throughout the spring and summer through a survey and two public workshops slated to be held in June and July — stay tuned for more information! 



INFANT MASSAGE

Have you heard of the ancient practice of infant massaging? It’s a wonderful way for parents to bond with their infants through therapeutic touch and nonverbal communication. Learn more and register online.  



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