Ludington amends budget, considers changing alcohol sales ordinance, hears reports

March 5, 2013

By Alan Neushwander

MCP Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – Ludington City Council approved the city’s 2012 budget amendments Monday night. City Manager John Shay said the city’s revenues exceeded expenditures by $336,429. Shay cited numerous reasons why revenues were higher than anticipated including higher building permit fee revenue due primarily to Memorial Medical Center’s expansion project, an increase in revenue sharing, an increase in seasonal and daily boat ramp passes, and a $112,000 refund from Consumer’s Energy for over billing the city for street lighting.

Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance

The first presentation of an ordinance that would modify the city’s policy on the sale of alcoholic beverages in city parks was heard Monday. The proposed changes would allow beer, wine, mixed spirits and mixed wines to be sold in a city park by organizations that have a liquor license and a permit from the city from 7 a.m. To 10 p.m. during special events. The time would be extended until midnight for events at the west end of Ludington Avenue and until 2 a.m. for events on North James Street. City Councilor Gary Castonia said he had concerns about the ordinance.

“I’m absolutely against selling alcohol at 7 in the morning,” said Castonia. “It’s just too early. The rest of the ordinance is fine, but I wholeheartedly disagree with selling alcohol that early.”

Councilor Dick Rathsack explained that the 7 a.m. start time was included to accommodate the upcoming Queen’s Cup Race, which has a tradition of drinking Bloody Marys prior to the start of the race.

The second reading of the alcoholic beverage ordinance will be presented March 18.

Annual Reports

Several annual reports were given to the Ludington City Council Monday night. Zoning Administrator Carol Ann Foote reported that the city issued 81 construction permits in 2012, totaling over $16 million in construction costs. She said major construction projects last year included the Memorial Medical Center expansion, the new North Star Chiropractic and Crossfit buidling on South Rath Avenue and the installation of silos at the House of Flavors ice cream manufacturing plant. Foote noted that four new single-family homes were constructed in the City of Ludington in 2012 along with two double-family homes and one multi-family home.

City Assessor Brent Bosley reported that assessed property values declined by 0.8 percent in 2012. He credits the decline in value due to a large drop in commercial and industrial properties. Bosely also informed the City Council that the real estate market is starting to pick up. In 2011, there were 73 home sales within the city limits. That number increased in 2012 to 81 sales. For fiscal year 2013, Bosley says there has already been 46 property sales in Ludington.

Waterplant Superintendent Kurt Malzahn presented the 2012 waterplant report. Malzahn said the overall 2012 pumpage was up by about 34 million gallons as compared to 2011 due in part to the dry summer.

 

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