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Houghton celebrates Winter Carnival downtown

Houghton City Manager Eric Waara says there are some events planned over the next couple days to tie in with Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival.

Ice will be delivered downtown Friday. We’ll have a carver going on Friday and Saturday. Saturday night fireworks, there is going to be some bonfires out by the [Keweenaw] Chamber office and by the Subway deck.

Waara discussed the topic at Wednesday’s council meeting.

The city’s finances were also a focus. Waara says that a change in auditors made a review of fiscal year 2021 take longer than normal to be prepared. Anderson, Tackman and Company returned a mostly favorable result. He said it will take time to review because of how familiar Waara is with the format from the former firm.

The council agreed to purchase a tractor from Ward’s Outdoor Equipment and Repair for $37,567. The equipment features a 54” heavy duty snow blower and 60” mowing deck. It would be used for all-season landscaping around Dee Stadium.

Two motions were made surrounding the format of council meetings from member Brian Irizarry. One was approved after an amending proposal was made by Mike Needham. He suggested that the council move public comment to after the administrative reports, which would allow late arrivals to weigh in, and give attendees a chance to hear the most current information on issues affecting the city. Irizzary initially had asked the council to add a second public comment segment to the end of the meeting.

The council will also study whether it is feasible to offer council meetings online through an interactive format such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Mayor Robert Backon said he was unwilling to consider that option until costs are known and there is a guarantee that meetings could not be hijacked. In 2021, a session was “Zoom bombed” with several profanities being uttered. Backon said the incident was an embarrassment that he did not want to see repeated. The issue will need to come up for a vote by the end of June.

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