Update from City Manager, Nancy Ridley – July 2020

The past several months challenged us in ways we never thought possible. We found ourselves battling, and continuing to battle, a virus that knows no boundaries. Once only a news story from across the globe, COVID-19 quickly made its presence known in our state and in our community.

Throughout our City we were required to temporarily close many of our businesses and schools and halted our daily activities. As we start to reopen, like the rest of the nation, we are trying to find the delicate balance of getting our society up and running while staying socially distanced and safe. To accomplish this, City Commissioners and City staff are finding creative ways to conduct City business and assist our local businesses and residents in this financially challenging time.

Outdoor Business Activity Options

To make the transition of doing business in a COVID-19 landscape a little easier, the City Commission adopted a resolution temporarily authorizing outdoor business activities for all businesses within the City limits.These activities include waiving certain standards and fees for outdoor dining, tent and merchandise display permits. 

To allow for proper social distancing, businesses are able to utilize the space directly in front of their establishment and possibly adjacent frontage of service providers who will not be using their outdoor space. Although license fees are being waived, businesses must still apply for an outdoor dining license or merchandise display license if using public space. Expedited approvals are in place for use of privately-owned outdoor space.

In the downtown business district, Broadway Street between Main and University Street is closed for restaurant, merchant and public use. Even though this street closure has the possibility to last until September 30, staff is reviewing it every two weeks.

Summer Tax Payments

Due to financial hardships the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused to City taxpayers, the City Commission also approved waiving late charges which accrue on unpaid taxes from August 1 to September 14. This waiver is for tax payers who do not escrow their tax payments with financial institutions. Based on state law, interest will be applied at the rate of 1% on any unpaid balance on September 15, 2020 and the rate shall increase by 1% each month thereafter until paid. 

Additionally, some taxpayers may qualify for deferment of Summer Taxes to February 2021. Taxpayers who meet certain eligibility requirements can file for deferment of Summer 2020 taxes to February 14, 2021. This deferment only applies to a principal residence property. Details can be found at: https://mpcityblog.com/2020/06/30/city-of-mt-pleasant-summer-property-tax-bill-information/

Past Due Utility Bill Payment Plans

If you are having difficulty paying a past due utility bill, please contact the Utility Billing Department to discuss payment plan options. The City Commission authorized staff to approve payment plans within certain parameters during this time. (989) 779-5387.

Island Park Improvement Projects

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic City staff are working on the following Island Park improvement projects.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pedestrian Bridge leading to Pickens Field is being replaced. This includes adding a half mile trail to Island Park’s existing paved trail. Once completed, the one-mile trail will circle the island and feature outdoor fitness equipment along the route. This project, partially funded by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and Tribal 2% funds should be completed by the end of August. 

The Island Park Amphitheater’s decorative concrete walls, stone pillars and wood ceiling will be seal coated. During this process the amphitheater will not be available for use. This project is expected to be complete by the end of July.

Street Construction

City staff worked with construction contractors to complete three projects while traffic volumes were low. The Michigan and Pickard Street projects were completed ahead of schedule.

  • Michigan Street from Oak to Washington was reconstructed.
  • Pickard Street from Mission and Bradley was milled and overlaid.
  • The alley west of Mission, bordered by Bellows, Arnold and Gaylord Streets was reconstructed and completed on schedule.

Currently, work is occurring to reconstruct Brown Street from North Drive to Broadway, as well as the parking lot at University and Illinois.

Stay safe.

We hope some of these programs and improvement projects make this transition period a bit easier for our residents. Thank you for following the recommended guidelines from our health officials, as well as wearing a face mask when out in public. Stay safe and be well.

Absentee voting option now available to all registered voters

Due to the November 2018 passage of a statewide ballot proposal, all registered voters in Michigan are now eligible to vote via absentee ballot without a specific reason.  A written request to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you can be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office in any of the following ways:

  • Drop box in parking lot – 320 W. Broadway Street
  • Postal mail – City Clerk, 320 W. Broadway Street
  • Email (scan or photo of application) – clerk@mt-pleasant.org
  • Fax – Attention: City Clerk – (989) 773-4691
  • In person in the Clerk’s office – Upstairs at City Hall, 320 W. Broadway Street

Absentee Voter Application Forms are available at the City Clerk’s office or can be found online at http://www.michigan.gov/sos.  You can also visit www.mi.gov/vote to see what contests and questions are on your ballot, as well as track your application and ballot.

If you have concerns related to COVID-19 and voting, many of the options available still allow you to fully participate in the voting process, but in a contactless manner.

By mail:  Absentee voter ballots may be mailed to you at your home address or any temporary address outside of your city of residence until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.  Ballots must be returned via postal mail (it is recommended to mail a week before the election to allow adequate time for delivery), drop box located in the City Hall parking lot, or in person to the Clerk’s office by8 p.m. on election day.  

In-person absentee voting:  This option is available at the City Clerk’s office from now until Monday, August 3, 2020 at 4 p.m.  For your convenience, the City Clerk’s office will also be open for in-person absentee voting on Saturday, August 1, 2020 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

All registered voters can now also request to be added to the permanent absentee voter list maintained by the City. Once an individual is on the permanent absentee voter list, they will receive an application to vote absentee for every election. After the completed application to vote absentee is received by the Clerk’s office, a ballot will be mailed directly to the voter, eliminating a trip to the voting precinct on election day.

Election Day is Tuesday, August 4, 2020 and polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Even though safety protocols will be in place at all polling locations, absentee voting is the safest option during this COVID-19 pandemic. Need a ride to and from the polls? I-Ride is offering free rides. Call (989) 772-9441 to schedule.

Visit www.michigan.gov/vote to confirm where you are registered to vote. If you have questions regarding absentee voting, or being added to the permanent absentee voter list, call (989) 779-5361.

Island Park improvement projects to begin on July 6, 2020

The following Island Park construction projects are scheduled to begin on Monday, July 6, 2020, please be aware of occasional disruptions to vehicle and foot traffic in the park.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pedestrian Bridge leading to Pickens Field will be replaced. This project also includes adding a half mile trail to Island Park’s existing paved trail. Once completed, the one-mile trail will circle the island and feature outdoor fitness equipment along the route. This project, partially funded by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, should be completed by the end of August. 

The Island Park Amphitheater’s decorative concrete walls, stone pillars and wood ceiling will be seal coated. During this process the amphitheater will not be available for use. This project is expected to be complete by the end of July.