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City commission sets third leaf collection date

Central Michigan University President Bob Davies speaks to city commissioners about CMU issues during the Nov. 25 Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting at City Hall.

Mount Pleasant City Commissioners approved another leaf pickup next week, named a field after a local community member and heard a speech from Central Michigan University President Bob Davies on Nov. 25.

The meeting featured a public input over the course of the meeting. Residents spoke about starting a leaf collection cycle on Dec. 3 and naming a field in Island Park after Kaye Bouck, who has been a lifelong supporter of local softball. The city approved both of these proposals in unanimous votes.

Leaf collections

After input from residents, the city decided to add a third leaf collection cycle on Dec. 3.

The leaves issue was sparked after the city decided to postpone its third leaf collection this season. City Manager Nancy Ridley said she was the one who made the decision to postpone it due to winter conditions.

“Ultimately I would say it was my decision,” Ridley said. “The department heads made recommendations about what our options were and I will take responsibility for making the decision to postpone it.”

By the time the third pickup was scheduled to occur, the forecast for the week before was predicting more cold and snowy conditions. She said that it didn’t make sense to do a third collection.

This led the city to postpone the third collection to next spring. Residents were asked not to put leaves in by the streets. If they wanted their leaves removed, they were encouraged to take them to the Isabella County Material Recovery Facility for a fee.

“We (made the decision) fully thinking we were helping residents out because we didn’t think they would be able to rake their leaves and even get them out in the street,” Ridley said. “That became the basis of the decision made last Monday.”

However, the weather ended up being warmer than forecast, and many residents didn’t realize the decision was made. Commissioner Kathy Ling said it’s always hard to decide when to schedule leaf pickups because the weather does not always cooperate with the timing of the leaves falling.

Before the motion was discussed, residents voiced their frustrations during the public input portion of the meeting. 

Residents were frustrated with what they thought was a lack of communication from the city. Amy Swaney, Mount Pleasant resident and accounting faculty member at CMU, said she didn’t find out about the postponement until that morning, after raking leaves for many hours.

Community member Pat Heitman said the pickup should have been postponed but should have done it once the weather began warming up.

Kaye Bouck softball field

During a public hearing section, many residents suggested renaming a field in Island Park after Bouck, who has supported Mount Pleasant Girls’ Fast Pitch Softball for over 46 years.

Residents and supporters of hers came up one after another to give their sometimes-tearful support for the renaming of the field. One Union Township resident, Jim McLain, said he worked with Bouck for 39 years, and she deserves the honor.

“I’ve never met a finer person for youth sports than Kaye Bouck,” McLain said. “Her intentions have always been honorable, and she’s always presented a great program.”

Another resident said Bouck organized tournaments and brought people together all in the love of softball.

Other Business

Also featured in the meeting was a speech from President Davies, who spoke about various topics regarding the university. He spoke about new faculty members, this season’s football turnaround, enrollment and CMU’s relationship with the Mount Pleasant community.

“I want to make sure that when students come to look at CMU as their place of education, (that) they look at our campus,” Davies said. “They look at our residential halls (and) our facilities and interact with our faculty and staff. But (we want them) to also come downtown.”

The full speech can be watched here.

At a work session after the meeting, commissioners talked about affordable housing in the city's 2020 Operating Budget. They discussed pilot programs and subsidized housing, but Vice Mayor Lori Gillis said nonprofits like Chase Run Apartments get tax credits, which may be worth more than a for-profit apartment complex. She said she doesn’t want the burden to go to taxpayers. Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Joseph said he shares her concerns, but he said these programs aren’t meant to get people rich, they’re meant to benefit those who are disadvantaged. 

The commission also unanimously approved a $200 fee to apply for marijuana event licenses. Ridley said the fee is the same for medical and recreational marijuana retailers.