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City discusses coronavirus updates, special assessment rejected

Mount Pleasant City Hall building, the Borden building, located at 320 W. Broadway St.

Coronavirus updates were given and a special assessment was rejected at the March 24 city commission meeting.

Mount Pleasant City Commissioners met in an unorthodox commission meeting, taking precautions during the coronavirus spread. Only city commissioners and officials could meet within city hall. Officials took public comments via email. Commissioners sat far apart from one another and two commissioners, Kristin LaLonde and Lori Gillis, were present over the phone.

City manager Nancy Ridley gave an update on what the city is doing in response to the virus spread. She said the city will be monitoring which city services are essential to keep operating on a weekly basis and make adjustments based on the situation. Services like fire, police, wastewater, water, trash pickup and airport operations fall under critical services, she said.

Parks will be open during this time though, Ridley said. Water shutoffs are suspended because Ridley said she doesn’t want people to lose water when people should be washing their hands.

“We certainly don’t know what the future will bring for us, in the short term or the long term,” Ridley said. “But I do know that we, as a community, can get through this and we can take care of each other during this time period.”

A special assessment was rejected by the city commission in a unanimous vote. The special assessment would have paid for lighting improvements, but now the improvements will be paid by the city-at-large by the Capital Improvement Fund, Ridley said.

The special assessment would have required business owners at the properties where the pedestrian lighting would be improved to pay for part of the project. Many of the commissioners said that the assessment would have been tough for local businesses to pay for during this time.

“The economic conditions with CMU losing students, especially now dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have even less bodies in Mount Pleasant,” Mayor Will Joseph said. “With our local businesses suffering, it’s hard to make that ask.”

In other news:

  • Commissioners laid out their priorities for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe 2% funds. Twice a year, the tribe gives funds to local government and education entities to fund projects and programs. The commision wants to prioritize PEAK, Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport, drinking water reservoir rehabilitation, and the Mount Pleasant Police evidence room.

The full meeting can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel