Councilor Dan Salo resigns, code enforcement proceeds, new grant opportunity on the horizon
Houghton City Council, Oct. 27, 2021
In a letter read aloud by City Clerk Ann Vollrath, City Councilor Dan Salo announced his immediate resignation from the board. Salo has served on the council since 2011.
He intends to be a “snowbird” (someone who only lives in the area during warmer weather, and moves south during winter) beginning this year, and as a part-time resident does not feel it appropriate to continue as a councilor.
The council has 30 days to appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Salo’s term (about one year), or city statute would require a special election in May to choose a successor. City Manager Eric Waara said they would immediately begin advertising for applicants so that a new councilor could be appointed at the November meeting of the council.
The council agreed to have a hearing for the owner of the property at 915 College Avenue at their Nov. 17 meeting. The property suffered a fire recently and is currently considered a dangerous building under city code. The hearing gives the owner, who does not live at that address, the chance to explain how they will bring the building back into code before the city takes action of its own.
The matter has already come before a judge for a hearing at which the property owner did not appear to defend or explain their inaction on the building.
According to City Manager Waara, if things continue this way, the city public works department will likely end up demolishing the building and the cost of the work will be added to the property’s taxes.
Manager Waara recommended the city apply to a grant program run by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority that, if awarded, would allow the city the chance to grant up to $15,000 to property owners inside a designated neighborhood for improvements like reroofing, residing, or driveway repairs.
A portion of the grant might also be used for sidewalks.
Public restrooms operated by the city have been closed for the season.
Most road work in the city is either finished or halted for the season.
City Manager Waara said he would approach Michigan Tech and the National Park Service about refinishing the seawall that collapsed into Portage Lake last month.
The city is pursuing action against The Fire Station Cannabis Company for the new sign off of M-26, which the city manager said violates the city sign ordinance and has generated several complaints.
The police department is starting to alert people to, and enforce, winter parking restrictions in the city.
Trick-or-treat hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday night. Fire department volunteers will assist Houghton Police Department in patrolling the streets.
The council approved the purchase of a new police vehicle through a 50/50 grant match from the USDA.
The council approved the selling of a police department snowmobile through a sealed-bid system.
The council approved paying half of the cost for ten new bulletproof vests for the police department at a cost of $4,400.