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HeatherHeather Grace
City Manager
 

Heather Kay Grace was born and raised in West Branch, and is an honors graduate from Ogemaw Heights High School.  She is married to T.J. Grace, and together they have a son named Lowan.  Heather obtained her Bachelor’s Degree summa cum laude from Saginaw Valley State University and was awarded a full-ride scholarship to attend the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.  During her legal studies, Heather served as an Associate Editor for the Thomas M. Cooley Journal of Practical & Clinical Law, along with working first as a Legislative Assistant for State Representative Tom Meyer, and then as a House Page for the Michigan House of Representatives.  Heather then transitioned from working for the Legislative Branch of State Government to working for the Judicial Branch, serving as a Research Attorney extern for the Michigan Court of Appeals, as well as serving as a Judicial Law Clerk intern for then Court of Appeals Judge Bill Schuette, who is now serving his second term as our State Attorney General.

During this time, Heather also became very active with the Thomas M. Cooley Moot Court Board, becoming an Honors Member and competing in numerous Moot Court Competitions.  Due to her skills as an appellate advocate, Heather was selected to represent her law school at two different national competitions, one in New York, and one in California.  In 2008, Heather's two member team won first place in the nation at the Center for Children’s Rights Thirteenth Annual Juvenile Law National Moot Court Competition in Costa Mesa, California, beating out all other law students from across the country.

After graduating cum laude from Cooley with her Juris Doctor degree in Litigation, Heather has since gone on to gain admission to the State Bar of Michigan, the Bar for the Eastern District of the United States District Court, and the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.  She has also worked as an associate attorney at a general practice firm, started her own solo practice firm, served as a continuing legal education instructor for Michigan police officers through the Northern Michigan Law Enforcement Training Consortium, taught police academy recruits as an Adjunct Professor of Law for Kirtland Community College, and written numerous draft opinions and research reports for the Michigan Court of Appeals as a Prehearing Division Research Attorney.

Most recently, Heather was appointed in September of 2014 to serve her community as the City Manager for the City of West Branch—a position that she greatly enjoys.  Since starting her role as City Manager, Heather has successfully overseen many important transitions for the City, including two new Mayors, four new City Council Members, a new Clerk/Treasurer, a new Deputy Clerk/Treasurer, a new Police Department Building, a new Chief of Police, and a new Airport Manager, among others.  Heather looks forward to many other exciting new changes to come, and is eager to help lead the City of West Branch into a bright and prosperous future!

John
John Dantzer
Clerk/Treasurer
 
John is a native of West Branch, born and raised.  He is a graduate of Ogemaw Heights High School and furthered his education at Michigan State University where he received is Bachelors Degree in Finance.

John worked 15 years for C.A. Hanes as the General Manager before accepting the position as the Clerk/Treasurer for the City of West Branch the beginning of 2015.

John, his wife Jody and three daughters Alyssa, Ashlyn and Ally are members of Ogemaw Hills Free Methodist Church.  He enjoys being being involved in sports, and has coached girls softball & basketball for several years on multiple skill levels.

Michelle
Michelle Frechette
Deputy Clerk/Treasurer
 
Michelle was born in Warren Michigan and raised in Auburn Hills.  She graduated from Pontiac Catholic High School and went on to earn her certification in Bookkeeping from the Pontiac Business Institute holding a position on the Deans List throughout her education.  She later also earned her certification in Computer Technician from Kirtland Community College.

Michelle moved to West Branch in April 1995.  In October of that same year, she was hired by the City part-time as the Administrative Executive Assistant; a position she had held for almost 20 years.  As a part-time employee, Michelle held other employment positions over the years such as a Legal Secretary for a local law office, and many years as the Secretary for the Michigan State Police Drug Team.

In 2015, Michelle's many years of dedicated service to the City, and her extreme knowledge of the inter-office workings earned her a promotion to a full-time position as the City's Deputy Clerk/Treasurer.

Outside of spending time with her children, Jacob & Rachel, Michelle also serves as the Treasurer of the West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce Board, and the Vice-President of the Ogemaw Football Boosters Board.
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Bridget Charles
City Hall Office Assistant
cityhall@westbranch.com



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FV, City Hall Administration


City of West Branch
121 N. 4th St.
West Branch, MI 48661
Ph: 989-345-0500 / Fax: 989-345-4390

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New Administrative Policy for Agenda Items

Effective immediately, the City of West Branch hereby adopts the following administrative policy:

Any party seeking to be added to the agenda of a public meeting must provide the City Clerk with written notice of their intent to be added to said agenda no later than NOON three (3) business days prior to the day of the scheduled public meeting.  (Example: If a City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 16th at 6:00 p.m. and an individual wanted to appear on the Agenda as a "Scheduled Matter from the Floor", the individual would need deliver to the City Clerk a letter or email indicating their name and what subject they want to address and what meeting date they plan to attend so that our staff has enough time to add the issue to the Agenda and get the packets for meeting prepared and out to each Board/Council member in time prior to the start of the meeting).

The same policy pertains to written materials that individuals would like Council Members/Board Members/Commission Members to review prior to meetings--i.e., in order for said materials to be compiled, scanned, and inserted into packets for review, they must be received no later than NOON three (3) business days prior to the meeting in question.

NOTE--Nothing in this newly adopted administrative policy should be interpreted to override pre-existing policies set by ordinance, including procedures for reviews of zoning applications, etc., which may have their own standards regarding timelines for submission and review.

ALSO NOTE--This policy also does not prohibit parties from appearing at public meetings and speaking during "Public Comment" sections, nor does it prohibit parties from requesting to have their matters be considered as "Additions to the Agenda."  However, administrative policy will be such that administration may recommend that the respective Council/Board/Commission should postpone making any decisions regarding any issues brought up during "Public Comment" as well as any issues presented as "Additions to the Agenda" so that administration has sufficient time to research said issues and make recommendations to the respective Council/Board/Commission prior to a decision being made.

Anyone with questions regarding this policy may contact City Clerk/Treasurer John Dantzer at (989) 345-0500.

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City Manager Report

Heather's Happenings
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Department Profiles—Department of Public Works (DPW)

Most people have seen members of the City DPW crew at one point or another, but how many really know what it is that their department does?  After all, what does the term “Public Works” mean anyways?  Well, according to the American Public Works Association, “Public works is the combination of physical assets, management practices, policies, and personnel necessary for government to provide and sustain structures and services essential to the welfare and acceptable quality of life for its citizens.”  However, if I had to put it into my own words, I would say that a public works department essentially oversees the proper functioning, care, and maintenance of all City-owned buildings, parks, facilities, equipment, and infrastructure, including roads, sidewalks, water and sewer pipes, etc. 

As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking.  With a lean crew of only four full-time employees, including the DPW Superintendent, our City DPW has its work cut out for it.  But we are extremely fortunate to have a hardworking group of dedicated employees who put that extra bit of effort in everyday to make sure that City residents are receiving top-notch services for their tax dollars. 

The West Branch DPW is headed by Superintendent Dennis Jameson, who has over 30 years of experience working for the City, and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the inner workings of the City’s infrastructure.  If you ever have a question about a water main or a sewer pipe, he is definitely your man!  Mr. Jameson is also extremely dedicated to his position with the City, and impresses me every day with the amount of commitment he displays. 

The West Branch DPW is also very blessed when it comes to the rest of its crew.  Lead Heavy Equipment Operator Jeff Brindley has worked for the department for over five years and on top of being a great operator, also has excellent skills as a mechanic, which really comes in handy down at the DPW garage (which is located at 403 S. 1st St.).  Our other two Heavy Equipment Operators—Howard Beach and Jason Winter—are both relatively new to their positions as operators.  However, Mr. Beach, who brings a lot of great carpentry skills to the table, has been an employee of the City for several years, first in the Housing Department, and then later in the DPW, where he was initially employed as a general laborer up until his recent promotion to heavy equipment operator.  Though Mr. Winter is a new hire, he is showing great promise and seems to be a quick study.  Mr. Winter is also keen to learn more about the water operations of the City, including a 175 foot tall 500,000 gallon water storage tank (a.k.a. the “Smiley Tower”), and two 600 gallon-per-minute wells that have to be powerful enough to pump ground water up from a depth of 170 feet all the way up to the top of the 175 foot tall Smiley tower. 

It is very helpful to have all DPW employees eligible to operate heavy equipment, as many of the tasks required of a public works department require the use of some pretty powerful (and unique) machinery, such as the following: blade truck (a.k.a. large snow plow truck), backhoe, loader, grader, street sweeper, bucket truck, dump truck, sewer jetter, various tractors, and more.  Our DPW employees use these pieces of equipment to accomplish a multitude of tasks that you might not even realize that they do—from grave openings to the repair of broken water mains. 

And I have said it before, but I will say it again because I believe that it is true and worth repeating—“People who work hard to serve the communities that they love should always be appreciated!”—and sometimes jobs like those in the DPW go underappreciated.  So the next time that you see a DPW worker, don’t be shy!  Feel free to tell them how much you appreciate everything that they do for our community.   

Heather Grace can be reached online at hgrace@westbranch.com, or by calling (989) 345-0500. 

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Department Profiles—City Police Department
The City of West Branch is extremely fortunate when it comes to staff, and as City Manager, I take great pride in knowing that I work with such a qualified and dedicated crew of individuals who are as committed as I am to keeping our community great.

Of these City employees, each individual staff member is assigned to one of four main departments: (1) Department of Public Works, or “DPW;” (2) Wastewater Treatment Plant, or “WWTP;” (3) Police Department, or “PD;” and (4) City Hall Administration.  Over the course of my next few articles, I will be doing some department profiles, to give everyone a better understanding of what each of these four departments does, and how they do it. 

I am starting my department profile discussion with a conversation centered around our city police department—mainly because most people would assume that they already know everything about what a police department does.  I mean, it seems pretty self-explanatory, right?  But even if you are fairly familiar police operations in general, there are major differences between how a large police force operates compared to how a small police force, such as the West Branch City Police Department operates.

To start, the West Branch City PD is made up of four full-time officers: Chief Ken Walters, Sergeant Steve Morris, Officer Michael Godfrey, and Officer Blake Beehler.  Part-time officers include: Officer Dalton Worthy and Officer Travis Collins.  The City PD also employs two part-time, non-officer crossing guards who help with school traffic and student safety: Simone Willett and Thomas Wiles.

This relatively small police force comes with its own unique challenges.  However, it also presents itself with unique opportunities as well—especially when one considers the size of the area that is being patrolled.  A recent conversation that I had with one of our officers really seemed to demonstrate this difference in a great way for me, so I will try to summarize it for you, to the best of my memory. 

One evening, a few weeks ago, I was at City Hall working late when Office Blake Beehler stopped by to pull some security camera footage off a surveillance hard drive.  Officer Beehler often works the night shift and he is also the PD’s resident “techie,” so it is not unusual that he gets called to handle such computer-related matters.  While he was there, Officer Beehler and I began discussing how he was enjoying his position working at the West Branch PD compared to his prior position working for a much large police force in a more metropolitan city.  Officer Beehler indicated that not only was he thrilled to be back to the community that he loved, but that he also greatly enjoyed the opportunities available because he was an officer of a smaller police force. 

One example Officer Beehler cited was that in larger cities, the sheer volume of calls often forces officers on a call to take the information, create a report, and then quickly move on to the next call—often with little to no time available to do much more than that, simply due to the logistics of the situation.  However, for police forces such as the West Branch City PD, where the officer-to-citizen ration is a much more manageable size, police officers actually have the time and resources to devote themselves to seeing situations through to favorable conclusions—i.e., they actually have the time to investigate crimes!  While this seems so common sense, you might be surprised that this is not actually so common place.  In fact, just from my own personal experience with living in the City of Lansing while I was attending law school, I can tell you that Officer Beehler’s observation is spot on.  While officers of larger cities may have the best intentions in the world, if their police force is not adequately staffed to ensure a proper officer-to-citizen ration, call volume alone is sure to all but guarantee certain results.

Luckily, that is not the case in West Branch.  We have a quality police force that is dedicated to public safety, and also one that it fortunate enough to have a manageable call volume.  This enables our officers to provide quality services to our citizens in the form of quick response times, thorough investigations, and even personal touches that really exemplify what small-town policing should be.  A great example of this is a gas station employee who worked the night shift and felt uncomfortable walking alone out to her car late at night.  So WB PD officers, like clockwork, made sure that a police car was stationed outside the gas station every night when her shift ended, to make sure that they felt safe getting to her vehicle.  Another great example is a story I was told just last week by a merchant in one of our downtown businesses who mentioned to me that she had stayed late at her store to get some things done, and around 3AM she received a call on her office phone line.  Knowing that it was unusual to receive a call that late at night/early in the morning, she answered, and as pleasantly surprised to learn that it was a West Branch City PD officer checking on her to make sure that she was alright, as the officer had noticed that her vehicle was still parked outside her business much later than she usually stays.  That sort of neighborly concern and observation is not something that is typically available in larger police forces, and we are proud that it is an option available to our citizens.

Our Chief Ken Walters also exemplifies what small town policing should be.  He has the skills and credentials to work anywhere, but chooses to work at our small police force because he loves our community and is committed to our citizens, especially the youth of our area.  Along with helping coach for the Falcon football program, Chief Walters has also dedicated himself to expanding the City’s “Bike Safety” program to create a wide-range of “Youth Safety Program” offerings, which are supported by individual contributions and donations from community sponsors.  (For information on how you or your business can contribute, please contact Chief Walters at 989-345-2627).

Additional small-town policing services that are typically not available in larger cities include: “home checks” (PD will check up on your home while you are on vacation, just call the PD to let them know when you will be gone); “lock-out service” (PD will help you when you accidentally lock your keys in your car); and more.  Honestly, the list really does go on and on (and so do the great stories I can tell about each one of our officers).  So the next time that you see an officer out on patrol, feel free to thank them for their service.  People who work hard to serve the communities that they love should always be appreciated! 

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Blight Enforcement Begins

As the snow fades and Spring returns, so too will builders and contractors looking to aid property owners who still need repairs after the terrible hail storm endured by City residents during the past year.  This help is greatly needed, as our City suffered so much damage during the record-breaking storm.  However, such a flurry of building activity does not come without unintended consequences.  So residents are reminded that if they question any practices, they can reach out to City Hall [345-0500], City Police [345-2627 or 911 for emergencies], or the County Building & Zoning Department [345-5919].

This Spring will also mark the starts of a new taskforce within the City, the goal of which will be to eliminate blight and dangerous buildings from the City.  This taskforce, which will consist of the City Manager and the Department Heads from each City Department, will begin by taking inventory of which properties are most in need of enforcement.  Then, when funds are allocated for the program at the start of the new fiscal year, work will begin in earnest to start more aggressive enforcement against properties deemed to be the worst offenders.

That said, there are two major ways that citizens can help the City’s new Community Revitalization Taskforce: (1) Identification, and (2) Collaboration.  For “Identification,” community members can help the Taskforce by sending in pictures and addresses of properties that they believe are dangerous or blighted.  Residents can also help the Taskforce tremendously by helping us identify properties that are not blighted, but are merely hail damaged, and that have a pending insurance claim and repairs that are anticipated to be completed soon—that way the Taskforce does not expend time and resources beginning enforcement proceedings against a property that is about to be repaired.  So if you are an owner of a property that is hail damaged and you want to make sure that the Taskforce does not consider putting your property on our list for enforcement, please send a letter to City Hall indicating the timeline for when you plan to have your property repaired. 

For “Collaboration,” the West Branch Community Revitalization Taskforce is also asking residents to consider volunteering their time to a new program that is being developed called “Smiley Helpers.”  These helpers would volunteer their time to help clean up blighted properties (in cases where the owners agree to accept the assistance).  This program is anticipated to be multi-faceted, and will hopefully run the gamut from volunteers who simply do weeding and painting, all the way up to “Habitat for Humanity” style effort, for those who have such skills and are willing to volunteer their time to help improve their community and help their neighbors.

Those who would like to know more about the Smiley Helpers program or the West Branch Community Revitalization Taskforce are encouraged to contact City Manager Heather Grace at (989) 345-0500 or hgrace@westbranch.com.

Thank you, and have a marvelous Spring!  : )

Heather Grace City Manager

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Tons of Fun in 2016!

     Circuses, rodeos, car shows, and more!  These are just a few of the exciting things that we can look forward to in the coming year in the City of West Branch.  By partnering with some great community organizations, the City has been able to help coordinate some wonderful events for 2016 that will be sure to provide residents with all kinds of fun over the months to come—so get out your calendars!       Now that the real winter weather has finally arrived, be sure to take the little ones out to enjoy some sledding, skating, and hot cocoa at the Family Fun Day at Iron’s Park on January 23rd.  The Chamber’s glamourous Winter Ball on February 20th is followed by the Shivering Shamrock Challenge on March 12th, the Business Expo out at OHHS on April 7th, and the Spring Art & Wine Walk on April 16th.

     To kick off summer, the City will again be hosting the Back to the Bricks Promo Tour on June 14th, and this year’s surprise theme promises to deliver a real bang!  The Fabulous Fridays season begins June 24th and brings something new to West Branch every Friday all summer long.  They are even slated to potentially feature a real rodeo this year, with bull riders and mutton busting that the whole family can enjoy.      The 4th of July weekend this year will also be spectacular, as the Fireworks Committee is working hard to raise money for a great fireworks display, which will be complemented by the Chamber’s excellent parade, as well as a new treat for this year—a circus that will be coming to town and setting up their tents behind Surline.  Labor Day weekend will be tons of fun as well, with both a Hometown Jamboree and our own Bridge Walk at Iron’s Park.  Plus, the Victorian Art Fair, which is always a crowd-pleaser, will be held August 13th-14th.      As you can see, 2016 is shaping up to be another thrilling year here in the City of West Branch, with an enormous variety of activities and experiences available for people of all ages to enjoy.  If you would like to show your support for these great community events, be sure to volunteer at one or all of the many organizations that donate so much of their time and resources to ensuring that West Branch remains a fun place to visit and call home, including: the Fabulous Fridays Committee, the Downtown Retail Merchants group, the Ogemaw EDC, the Creative Arts Association, the West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, and many more.  Feel free to call City Hall for more information regarding any of the events, or how you can help.  Thanks!  : )
Heather Grace can be reached online at hgrace@westbranch.com, or by calling (989) 345-0500.

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New Road Funding Revenues

     State-municipal revenue sharing is a topic that probably does not come up much in your everyday conversations.  In fact, outside of a state or local government office, it is a subject that few people have ever even heard of, let alone spent much time talking about.  But for those who are interested in getting a clearer picture of how municipal governments operate, revenue sharing is an essential issue.  It is also something that has been making headlines lately, mainly due to the package of road funding bills that Governor Rick Snyder signed into law on November 9th.       These new laws aim to raise an additional $1.2 billion per year to be spent on road and bridge repairs throughout the state.  However, though some of the tax and fee hikes start relatively soon, in early 2017, the entire $1.2 billion annual increase will not take full effect until the year 2021.  But what does this have to do with the City of West Branch, you may ask?      “Act 51” refers to Public Act 51 of 1951, which is Michigan’s transportation funding act.  While the details of this act are somewhat complex, it is essentially a plan for how to divide up the road monies that the state generates through gas taxes and vehicle registration fees.  Once these funds are receipted by the State, the Michigan Department of Treasury uses the Act 51 guidelines to divide the funds between MDOT, public transit agencies, and local road agencies—such as road commissions or cities.  Under this plan, with the State’s new road funding increases, the City of West Branch will be receiving an additional $40,905 in 2017, on top of what it would already be receiving otherwise.  From there, the City will receive increases in road funding every year until 2021, when it will receive a total of $290,445 from the State to spend on road projects, compared to the $173,431 the City received in 2015.       While state-municipal revenue sharing as a whole still remains low compared to past years, due to drastic cuts in statutory-general-fund revenue sharing, local road agencies throughout the state are very much looking forward to the increased road monies that will soon begin to be available.  So while no one loves increased taxes, at least we can take some kind of solace in knowing that very soon these new gas tax increases will be making a real difference in the quality of our local roads.

 Heather Grace can be reached online at hgrace@westbranch.com, or by calling (989) 345-0500.

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Railroad Crossing Public Hearings

Some lively public hearings regarding the railroad crossing closings proposed by MDOT Railroad Safety Division were held on November 16th, with many residents and business owners showing up to speak or sharing their views on the subject via letter or email.  No decision is yet slated to be made on the matter; however, it did appear that the majority of those who offered opinions were not in favor of moving the roadway on North 5th to avoid the railroad tracks.
     Some other topics that garnered ardent discussion at the meeting were proposals submitted for additional zoning changes, which, if approved, would include changes to the types of uses allowed in the downtown Central Business District.  For instance, one of the proposed changes would permit downtown businesses to have first-floor apartments in their buildings, provided that said apartments were rear-entrance only and reserved the storefront for more traditional commercial uses.  City Council and the West Branch Planning Commission are both actively looking to receive input on these proposed changes, so please feel free to contact City Hall if you would like to express your opinion, or even if you would just like to learn more about the details of the suggested zoning changes.
     Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank DPW Heavy Equipment Operator Larry Greer for 25 years of dedicated service to the City of West Branch.  Our City has been very fortunate to have such a skilled operator on our team, and we are sad to see him go, but we wish him a happy and enjoyable retirement!  So if you happen to run into Mr. Greer, please congratulate him and thank him for his years of service.  : )

City Manager Heather Grace can be reached online at hgrace@westbranch.com, or by calling (989) 345-0500.

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Streamlined Administrative Procedures
     During an exciting meeting filled with robust discussion, the West Branch City Council approved many changes to City policies aimed at improving public safety, streamlining administrative procedures, and saving taxpayer dollars.  Some of these changes include new grass mowing/weed control ordinances, new brush removal policies, site plan and metal trace wire requirements for installations of new water/sewer hookups, and a cessation of the City’s water bill “renter’s deposit” mandate.  Details regarding these changes are available online at www.westbranch.com, or at West Branch City Hall.         

     In addition, the City Council will be holding two public hearings at the November 16th regular meeting—one at 6:00 p.m. for comments on proposed closings of railroad crossings, and one at 6:30 p.m. for comments on proposed changes to the City’s zoning code, which include the creation of new zoning districts, as well as the re-zoning/re-districting of certain areas throughout the City.  The railroad crossing proposals come at the suggestion of the MDOT Railroad Safety Division, which would provide a significant monetary incentive to the City that could be used for any other transportation purpose if accepted, including road improvements projects.  The proposed closings, if accepted, would involve creating a cul-de-sac on N. 7th near Lindsay St., and would also involve moving the N. 5th/Houghton Ave. intersection so that N. 5th would angle along the tracks and intersect with Houghton without having to cross the tracks.  Some of the new zoning proposals include re-districting near Court St. and Wright St., as well as the creation of two new mixed-use districts that would allow for limited business uses of properties, as well as residential uses.

      No final decisions have yet been made regarding either issue, and Council looks forward to hearing comments and suggestions from the public regarding both subjects.  Anyone who is unable to attend the meeting or the public hearings in person may still share their comments with the City in writing via mail or email, and those comments will then be shared with the Council.  In addition, City Hall staff is always available to answer any questions in regards to these, or any other issues.  : )
     One additional reminder is in regards to upcoming closings of City Hall due to the fastly approaching holiday season.  City Hall will be closed on the following dates:  11/26/15-11/27/15, 12/24/15-12/25/15, and 12/31/15-01-01-16.  Happy Holidays!!!

Heather Grace can be reached online at hgrace@westbranch.com, or by calling (989) 345-0500.

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Fall Is In The Air

     Fall is in the air, and lots of exciting improvements to City streets and buildings are underway!  After a recent repair to S. 5th St., along with a section of Houghton Ave., the City Council has approved road repairs to portions of the following: N. 2nd, N. 3rd, Parkway Dr., Griffin Rd., and S. 7th.  The contractors performing the work, along with City Hall and the DPW sincerely thank you for your patience while we perform this much needed road maintenance.  We also encourage everyone to use caution when driving near these areas while the construction is underway, being sure to observe all traffic safety signage—both for your safety and for that of the workers.  Any citizens with questions or comments regarding the project are encouraged to contact City Hall.

     The City Facebook page has also been gaining in popularity lately, and it is an excellent way to stay on top of the latest City news and happenings.  Anyone who has not yet had a chance to check out the City Facebook page is encouraged to visit www.facebook.com/cityofwestbranch.  Content is updated often, and we are always looking for ways that we can better improve the options available for citizens to interact with their local City government officials.  For example, launching very soon on the City Facebook page will be online surveys, as well as a new interactive application called “Facebook Focus Groups,” through which citizens will be encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions on various topics affecting City business.  But regardless of which way you decide to interact with City Hall, we encourage you to do so because we love hearing from you and greatly appreciate your input!  : )

Sincerely,

Heather Grace, City Manager

P.S.  Also look for work on various City buildings to begin soon and carry on into next Spring/Summer to repair hail damage, as well as make needed improvements, such as adding insulation to increase City Hall’s energy efficiency, etc.

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Fall is Approaching
Dear City Residents,
Now that Fall is approaching, the kids are all heading back to school and the City is making great efforts towards finalizing all of this year's exciting Summer projects.  The recently completed repair work downtown on Houghton Avenue has really helped fix some of the rutting issues the street was having.  The paving project on S. 5th Street also went very smoothly, helping residents enjoy a less bumpy ride through their neighborhoods.  In addition, DPW Superintendent Dennis Jameson and I have ensured a quick start on next year's road projects by starting the necessary administrative work early.  So look out for even more road projects coming your way next Spring/Summer!
Another exciting upcoming project will be the planting of 25 new trees by the DPW in various places throughout the City.  Financial support to purchase the new trees is being graciously provided by Consumer's Energy through a $2,500 grant the City received through Consumer Energy's 2015 Forestry Operations Community Tree Planting Grant Program.
Also, just as a reminder, don't forget to come on out and shop local at our wonderful Farmers' Market, which continues to run every Saturday morning from 8am-2pm, all the way through the end of October! So stop by downtown at S. 3rd St. to get some farm-fresh food or handcrafted items.
Sincerely,
Heather Grace, City Manager

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 City of West Branch
121 N. 4th St.
West Branch, MI 48661
Ph: 989-345-0500 / Fax: 989-345-4390

 

Heather