Ludington mayor proposes beautification grants, marijuana plan.

January 15, 2019

Ludington Mayor Steve Miller

Ludington mayor proposes beautification grants, marijuana plan.

Letter to the editor by Mayor Steve Miller, City of Ludington.

I came into office with a couple of main objectives.  The first was to improve appreciation and recognition of not only City Council, but everyone working in and under the management of City Hall.  Governing and efficiently maintaining a successful, growing city is not on the “dream job” list of many people. And, in my opinion, those who perform the functions and activities associated with keeping all of us safe and our city moving towards a flourishing future, have gone unacknowledged, under appreciated, or worse, castigated by some for their efforts and dedication.

The high profile elected or appointed job titles draw the greatest attention and reaction.  But, working under their direction is a battalion of city employees who arrive at work every day ready to maintain and improve city services.  They’re prepared to keep the streets plowed in winter, maintain our parks and recreation areas, keep clean water flowing, provide law and order, etc.  These are the everyday operations and functions we’ve all grown to generally take for granted.

Mostly working in the background, some in the dark of night, this committed workforce allows us all to reside, with relative security and confidence, in or around a city that proudly maintains and promotes the natural beauty that surrounds, and is interlaced within, our borders.

Not all of the tasks they perform are enviable; taxes still have to be collected, speeding tickets have to be written, long-loved trees have to be taken down.  But, for all they do, city employees not only deserve our respect, but an illustration of sincere, positive recognition. A show of our gratitude, a smile, a wave, or a thank you, will go a long way to balancing the unfortunate negativity that sometimes comes their way in the performance of their duties.

Equally important, in an effort to accelerate positive interaction and involvement between the city’s residents and their elected representatives, I introduced two initiatives at Monday’s City Council meeting.  

Aiming to stimulate constructive cooperation, the first proposal was a neighborhood beautification and improvement program, funded through an amendment to the city budget.  The requested annual funds of $25,000 would be available for projects, brought forth by city residents, through their respective ward’s councilor, to a panel of appointed citizens, chaired by former mayor Kaye Holman.  Example undertakings could be small community gardens, or neighborhood clean up projects.

Modeling TVs “Shark Tank”, I envision citizens pitching ideas to other citizens, seeking to be awarded of one of five grants, each with a maximum expenditure of $5,000.  The exact details will be negotiated and acted upon in a council of the whole session next month.

The second initiative seeks to assume a practical approach to a sensitive issue looming on our horizon.  The resolution to remain, or not remain, opted out of allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries within the city limits is one the city council will have to make eventually.  Responding to a significantly vocal response to the issue validates the necessity to address it sooner, rather than later.

My request is to form an ad hoc committee of equal numbers of council members and citizens, along with a planning commission liaison.  This committee would be charged with preparing a report, ready to present publicly within six months. The report would consist of data collected from states and municipalities containing empirical data that would include (but not be restricted to) changes in crime statistics, insurance claims and rates, business advantages/disadvantages, medical industry feedback, and actual tax realizations.

Regardless of the outcome of the council’s ultimate pronouncement, the introduction of empirical data into the decision-making process, the inclusion of citizen assistance, added to the proactive attitude and activity, exhibit a healthy willingness to stimulate cooperation and build upon the confidence necessary for a community to fully trust and support the performance of their elected officials.

 

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