Meeting Overview: Kalamazoo City Commission Approves Budget Items on October 17, 2022
On Monday, October 17, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted numerous budget items, including employee healthcare services, wastewater treatment chemicals, traffic maintenance, and control, and extending the lease on Bronson Park.
On Monday, October 17, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted numerous budget items, including employee healthcare services, wastewater treatment chemicals, traffic maintenance, and control, and extending the lease on Bronson Park. There was a presentation for the detailed quarterly report for the progress on odor measurement and remediation for the wastewater treatment facility and Graphic Packaging International in Kalamazoo.
The commission’s consent agenda includes $1.5 Million for the two-year contract extension to staff and operate the Kalamazoo City employee healthcare clinic at 1631 S. Westnedge by Midtown Fresh. In 2021, employees and their dependents saved over $33,000 in healthcare costs by using this clinic over other facilities.
For wastewater treatment, the commission approved $110,200 for the 100 tons of Ferric Chloride for 2023. Also, for wastewater treatment, $493,308 for Liquid Phosphate, which is a 73% price increase since last year, is one example of how the cost of water treatment chemicals has increased significantly recently.
Further, supplies totaling $100,000 to repair and replace traffic signals for the remainder of 2022. The traffic signal fund was adversely affected by the gas fire in September at the corner of Lake and Mills streets. Additional traffic signal improvements totaled $174,910 for the series of signals on Stadium Drive from Lovell to Howard Streets. Continuing traffic needs, an additional $325,000 got approved for supplementing the current contract with Rathco for 2022 through 2024 for temporary traffic control, sign services, and loads of traffic projects for special events throughout the City.
There is the approval of a $275,000 grant to purchase and rehabilitate a long-vacant former beauty shop at the corner of East Main and Trimble Avenue to create a welcoming restaurant or cafe space to be completed by April 2023.
Interestingly, the City has been using Bronson Park without a lease from Kalamazoo County since January 2021. The commission approved extending the previous 50-year lease through 2024. It continues the leasing tradition that has been in place since 1855. Fortunately, the County has not attempted to evict the City from the park for lacking a lease.
Three ordinance changes were discussed and approved.
One change dealt with Kalamazoo College zoning reaffirmation, and the others were “housekeeping” changes moving the Wellhead Protection Ordinance (“overlay”) from the Zoning Ordinance to the Public Services Department.
The Kalamazoo College master zoning plan is reviewed and updated every ten years. The changes approved include the campus edges along West Main, Stadium, and Lovell streets, an updated parking study, improving pedestrian circulation throughout the campus and adjacent neighborhoods, and the use of stadium lighting.
Next passed were a pair of “housekeeping” changes centering on the Wellhead Protection ordinance. Currently, Wellhead Protection is under the Zoning Ordinance. However, this belongs under the Public Services Department because wellhead protection crosses multiple city boundaries and the measurement responsibility and any enforcement come from the Public Services Department.
For the ongoing odor issues in the Northside of Kalamazoo, James Baker, Public Services Director and City Engineer presented the quarterly report for the ongoing odor remediation efforts for the Kalamazoo Water Reclamation Plant and Graphic Packaging International.
Director Baker discussed the wastewater treatment plant, with the installation of four carbon scrubbers, and the state of the biofilter treatment project and demonstrated the website, which provides the current and historical readings from the odor monitoring stations. The public website,
shows the current Hydrogen-Sulfide (H2S) readings and recent history overlaid on a map of the City.
Finally, the commission approved a special permit for a “brilliant and friendly but shy” indoor miniature pig as a household pet.
Figure: Website Showing Kalamazoo Odor Monitoring Stations