Despite an early interruption from pranksters, Houghton City Council was able to wrap up several orders of business in a little over an hour Wednesday night. The efficient meeting featured a discussion from manager Eric Waara about a range of issues. In regards to correspondence from a recent meeting, Waara said the city reached out to its insurer regarding potential liability related to unhappiness from at least one resident over repair work done on Dodge Street after the Father’s Day flood. The company reviewed the complaints and said it felt confident that appropriate steps were taken. In a separate legal matter, Waara said the city’s impasse with Walmart was being put into abeyance, essentially a pause, to allow for similar cases to be adjudicated first. The City of Bad Axe, in Huron County, is also locked into a battle with the retailer over the amount of property taxes that are rightfully owed. Menards has a case in the Michigan Court of Appeals against Escanaba that could also have legal ramifications. Waara says the move will help in the long run.
Public comment from Michael LaBeau spoke against a potential dog park in the city. Waara said that the work being done on Garnet Street does not necessarily have to turn in a pup-friendly space. He is happy to have it evolve into a more traditional park, but that would eliminate a centralized location that is walkable for many residents. Other sites for a potential dog park lack the same convenience.
Another order of business was rubber stamping a plan to deal with relocating residents during construction work. It is necessary to complete when applying for the MEDC grant that will help build the pier. Waara said it was not truly relevant in this case, as the project isn’t happening near a residential space, but it had to be done nonetheless. It passed easily.
The city reaffirmed that it does not discriminate based on disabilities and okayed formalizing a process to resolve complaints that could be potentially brought by employees in that area.