Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Council gives thumbs up to ORV’s on city streets

After public comments and member discussion, the final decision of the Allegan City Council turned many “red” streets to “green”, which made all but one small section of city streets accessible to ORVs.

By Gari Voss

Monday, May 9, 2022, the Allegan City Council finalized several pressing pieces of business. For the crowd in the audience, the most important piece was the ordinance that would allow ORVs on Allegan Streets. For city maintenance, it was approvals of purchase orders to purchase needed equipment. For the overall well-being of the city, it was moving forward the approval of the FY2023 Budget.
During the Study Session, councilmembers took an opportunity to review the most recent wording of Ordinance 502 regarding Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) on city streets. According to the map, all streets in downtown Allegan were red (closed to ORVs) except Chestnut Street from Monroe Street to Cutler, a section of Cutler Street from Chestnut to Water and Water Street from Cutler to Monroe. This would get ORV riders into town to a parking lot, gas and food.
City Manager Joel Dye reminded everyone of Allegan’s unique situation of being surrounded by three state trunklines (highways) – M222, M89 and M40. ORVs may not travel on State connector routes unless there is an 8-foot shoulder. None of the city trunklines have the required shoulder or the room to create that space.
When Ordinance 502 was presented during the regular meeting, a half dozen citizens came forward to thank the council for their work on this, but felt more streets could be opened that would get riders closer to the southeast side of downtown, which includes the riverfront.
After citizen comments, the motion was made to approve the ordinance as currently written. Council discussion ensued that explored a variety of amendments to the original ordinance. Each suggestion redefined which streets could be traversed by ORVs defined as 2 to 4 wheel vehicles propelled with a combustion engine. One concern was that ORV parking would take spaces from those who come to do business with shops along Locust Street.
In the end, Ordinance 502 added the amendment that ORVs would be allowed on all city streets except the 1-way section of Cutler Street from Chestnut Street to the light at Cedar Street. The motion with amendment passed.
A caveat to the ORV ordinance is that Scott Engineering is examining the Trestle Bridge that crosses the Kalamazoo River and comes into Jaycee Park. When it is determined that the Bridge has the weight capacity to handle numerous ORVs, a provision could be made to allow bikes, golf carts and ORVs on the Trestle Trail, which would facilitate access to downtown from the north. In addition, a determination needs to be made regarding signage that would help ORVs enter the city without traveling on State highways.
The City Council passed a motion to recognize Allegan Youth Baseball as a nonprofit operating in the Allegan community. This recognition would allow the organization to complete paperwork and be recognized by the Michigan Gaming Commission to conduct fund raisers. At this time, Youth Baseball lacks operating funds and the ability to provided participants with scholarships. Fund raises are extremely important.
The first review of the FY2023 Budget brought no comments from the public or the council. Copies are available at City Hall. A second reading and vote will occur at the May 23rd meeting.
The City Council approved accounts payable in the amount of $129,821.86 and payroll in the amount of $99,228.76 for a total disbursement of $229,050.62.
This led to the approval of a request by Shawn Hauck, the Distribution and Collection Manager, to have the City Council approve $190,000 that will be used to replace equipment required for work on water line replacement. After a review of the required equipment and a reminder that when a piece arrives, Hauck must have the ability to move quickly before it disappears from the shelf. The motion to make the purchase of equipment passed.
Director of Public Works Doug Kadzban received approval for a purchase order to Truck & Trailer of Dutton, Michigan in the amount of $27,994.00 and contingencies in the amount of $2,800.00 for refurbishing the city’s aerial lift truck. This purchase order was approved.
Kadzban was then given approval to purchase a pressure washer to replace the one that is failing at the DPW building.
The Public Works director’s final request of the Council was to identify equipment and vehicles that have “reached the end of their dependable service life”. Items are no longer in use or repairable. The Council approved Kadzban to put these surplus items up for sale.
During the Study Session, the Council was able to look forward. First, discussion reviewed Sections 2-323 and 2-324 of the Allegan Code of Ordinances. Department heads have permission to make purchases up to $1000 without the permission of the Council if the item has already been included in the budget. The conversation then focused on how much the City Manager could approve without the consent of the Council. Finance Director Tracy Stull reminded members that there are several internal controls for checks and balances. She also researched the amount other municipalities allowed city managers to spend. The consensus was that the $5000 ceiling could be moved to $10,000, which was comfortable to both Dye and Stull. This information will be taken to the committee that is reviewing city ordinances.
Another serious discussion reviewed security in the city’s parks. As summer approaches, more people hang at parks. There is a desire to reduce any further vandalism. Though there are several concerns to iron out, a decision was made to place more cameras in the parks to catch anyone who would deface or ruin city property.
Permission was given to Mayor Delora Andrus to use her power to cancel Study Sessions. In order for the councilmembers to mingle during the Monday Fork in the Road: A Food Truck Rally, once a month the Study Session will be cancelled, but the regular Council Meeting will begin at 7pm.
Downtown Manager Parker Johnson reminded the Council and visitors that Friday, May 13th, the Gordon Lightfoot Tribute would begin at the Griswold Auditorium at 7pm. Saturday, May 21st would be the city’s ALEgan Beer, BBQ and Blues Festival at the Allegan County Fairgrounds.

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