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City Commission could approve ordinance

February 24, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Members of the Three Rivers City Commission could be less than a month from approving an ordinance regulating donation boxes.

Following discussion on the matter during Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Tom Lowry and commissioners ironed out a few specifics to a draft ordinance presented Feb. 4 by city attorney Pat O’Malley. With the feedback presented Tuesday, O’Malley will make revisions and potentially have a final draft ready for first reading March 4.

According to terms of the proposed ordinance, the city would allow non-profit, local organizations to obtain a special-exception permit in order to keep a box anywhere in the city.

If an ordinance is approved, commissioners are expected to allow current boxes to remain in place for one year if they aren’t in compliance with the non-profit, local requirement.

Commissioners agreed “local” means St. Joseph County-based.

Sturgis to purchase truck

February 24, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The Sturgis Electric Department has been given approval to proceed with the purchase of a new bucket truck and a mini-derrick aerial lift.

The bucket truck and aerial lift will be purchased from Altec for a combined $ 221,528 and come from the motor-vehicle fund included in the current year’s budget.

It is intended to replace a 2002 model in the fleet.

The aerial lift will be used to rebuild or remove backyard-distribution systems. The lift is mounted on a trailer and provides access to areas currently impossible to reach by the city’s line trucks.

The lift also will be used to set and remove poles, transformers, cross arms and other equipment quicker and more efficiently.

Possible snow removal ordinance

February 19, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The Three Rivers City Commission on Tuesday took a step closer to establishing a sidewalk snow removal ordinance.

After commenting on a draft prepared by city attorney Pat O’Malley, Mayor Tom Lowry and commissioners directed O’Malley to document a small number of revisions and present a potential final draft at the commission’s March 4 meeting.

The issue resurfaced in January after it was brought to the commission’s attention that some students at Andrews and Hoppin elementary schools were walking in the street to and from school because sidewalks were not cleared in some areas.

Lowry and commissioners concurred that 72 hours is a reasonable amount of time to have a sidewalk cleared following the conclusion of a snow event.

Other matters, including absentee homeowners or a resident who is hospitalized during a snow storm were discussed. Commissioners agreed an absentee owner’s property must have snow cleared within 48 hours after a storm concludes.

Cities say; keep the water running

February 18, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The Sturgis Department of Public Services is asking its residents to be conscious of freezing water lines.

DPS officials said with the depth of frost, the department is receiving an abundance of calls regarding frozen water lines. To alleviate the problem, DPS officials suggest allowing a stream of water to run from a single faucet.

Officials in Burr Oak, Centreville, Constantine and the city of Three Rivers have reported a similar problem in their community and recommend the same course of action.

Potential ordinance regulating boxes

February 17, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Three Rivers city officials are in the midst of working out a potential ordinance regulating collection boxes.

The matter was most recently discussed at the commission’s Feb. 4 meeting, when Mayor Tom Lowry indicated his preference for the boxes to be banned within the city limits. Lowry said the boxes take resources away from the community and do not provide a direct financial benefit to the city.

A preliminary draft ordinance was presented by attorney Pat O’Malley. His draft calls for regulating the boxes, as opposed to an outright ban.

The majority of commissioners indicated they would prefer to see local, non-profit agencies have preference to the placement of collection boxes in Three Rivers. Some of the current boxes are sponsored by for-profit organizations with no local roots.

For-profit organizations Better World Books and USAgain, and non-profit Planet Aid all have boxes in Three Rivers.

Business awarded tax abatement

February 14, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

A Sturgis-based business was awarded a 12-year tax abatement this week by members of the city commission.

Midwest Plastics Engineering Inc. on Wednesday was granted the abatement for an investment in new equipment. The addition will help retain 40 jobs at the facility and create 10 new positions, company officials said.

It is investing more than $190,000 in four injection-mold machine upgrades, material loaders and a cleanliness testing laboratory.

Cathy Knapp, of Southwest Michigan First, told commissioners there are only three labs like it in the state. Investment is making it possible for the company to serve the needs of a new automotive contract, she said.

Midwest provides parts that end up in the Ford Fusion and F-150.

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