Local meeting primer: Sturgis City Commission

The Sturgis City Commission will meet on Wednesday, December 13 at 6 p.m. at Sturgis City Hall (130 N. Ottawa St.) for a regularly scheduled meeting.

As of publication time on Tuesday, December 12, Wednesday’s agenda appears as follows:

United Way Christmas Cash Raffle Drawing

The winning ticket for the United Way Christmas Cash Raffle will be drawn.

LDFA Boundaries, Development Plan, and TIF Plan Public Hearing

According to a report from City Clerk Kenneth Rhodes, the City of Sturgis initially created an LDFA in 2008 to help complete an expansion project by Americraft Carton. Funds were used to pay back a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Loan for the project. The Authority district was amended in 2018 and 2022 for the purposes of expanding the Authority’s boundaries and adding new projects to the development plan.

Two parcels on the Indiana border, which are being developed as Stateline Business Park for commercial and industrial development, were purchased by the City of Sturgis Economic Development Corporation in 2021. They were not yet within the City limits at the time of the last LDFA boundary adjustment. Some of the projects in the current Development Plan relate to this area, so it is now time to add these parcels to the LDFA boundaries.

The only changes in the Development and TIF Plans, which are highlighted, amend the boundary map to include these parcels; no projects have been added or amended. The previous plans projected the LDFA to capture over $12,000,000 in the next 27 years and outlined multiple projects to be completed with these funds. Rhodes wrote that it is difficult to quantify the capture amount with the addition of the Stateline Business Park to the plan, but it should exceed the previous projections.

Stapleton Industrial Park Special Assessment

In 2001, the Sturgis Improvement Association (SIA) and the City of Sturgis entered into an agreement for how funds would be distributed from the sale of lots in Dresser Park (formerly known as the Pridgeon Property), according to Rhodes. Funds were distributed to the City and the SIA as lots were sold. With the sale of all of the lots in Dresser Park now complete, the SIA was owed $131,604.45 as their portion according to the agreement.

In Stapleton Industrial Park, where the property was owned by the SIA, paving, water, and sewer infrastructure was installed by the City in the late 1980s, resulting in special assessments totaling $6,500 per acre. The two most recent sales in Stapleton, for lots 1 and 2 and to Heartland RV, resulted in special assessments due in the amount of $147,225.00.

The SIA Board has approved the transferring of their proceeds for the lot sales in Dresser Park for payment of the Stapleton special assessments. The remaining difference is $15,620.55 and the SIA Board has asked for consideration to waive this amount.

Electric Environmental Engineering RFP

According to a report from Electric Department Superintendent Chris McArthur, on November 20, 2023 the City of Sturgis Electric Department issued a request for proposals for a 5-year contract for environmental engineering and consulting services related to the Electric Department.

On December 4, 2023, bids were received from NTH Consultants, LTD and Fisbeck. Those submitting proposals were asked to provide information on their firm qualifications, previous experience, proposed project team (with resumes), references, and fee structure.

Both firms had similar cost structures, and both had a 3% increase per year. NTH offered a more detailed cost breakdown with Fishbeck offering a broader price breakdown making it harder to compare. Upon evaluating the proposals from the electric department needs and costs, McArthur wrote that NTH Consultants, Ltd. fits best and has the most experience with municipals in the area. Commissioners will decide whether to accept NTH’s proposal on Wednesday.

Commission Procedural Policy Amendments

City Manager Andrew Kuk has asked the commission for clarification on language related to reimbursement of expenses when commissioners are on city business, how the city provides apparel items to commissioners, and the city’s provision of business cards to commissioners.

In order to address gray areas and clarify how the commission would like these issues handled in the future, Kuk has provided some new draft language to amend the procedural policy as it relates to these topics.

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor and publisher of Watershed Voice.