Mayor’s corner: Getting things done.
By Mayor Steve Miller, City of Ludington.
Here’s how it gets done outside of city hall:
Keeping the city safe is a year round job, regardless of the task and weather conditions. Nothing exemplifies this better than the unenviable job of snow removal.
Starting in the dead of night, when the city curbs are free of parked cars and most easily travelled, the platoon of Department of Public Works plow trucks front end loaders begin their patterned approach to restoring the streets and alleys to unimpeded, passable travel ways as quickly and efficiently as possible.
DPW Superintendent Joe Stickney, a 12-year veteran of the city, coordinates a team of eight drivers and three mechanics that maintain the heavy machinery and upkeep of our streets.
Working on assigned routes, first to clear trunk lines like Ludington Avenue, Lakeshore Drive, and South James Street, the DPW workers then begin the task of plowing all the side streets that crisscross the 3.78 square miles within the city limits.
To clear the wider major streets, it takes up to four separate passes to effectively clear snow curb to curb. The more narrow side streets take at least two to three passes. It’s a practiced exercise of “catch up” with whatever Mother Nature can throw at us.
The unfortunate, nonnegotiable result of each curbside pass is the inevitable filling of driveway entrances with heavier plowed snow. Along with neighborhood sidewalks, the responsibility to remove that deposited accumulation falls to each of us. Thus, is the physical price we pay to live in paradise during the “off season”.
It’s days (and weather) like we’re experiencing this week that accentuate the great appreciation we all have for the lush green parks, inviting sands, and beautiful sunsets we enjoy every year when the sun returns to our side of the earth; which, right now, can’t return soon enough.
Until we can welcome those days and nights of comfort back again, please offer an appreciative tip of our collective snow caps to those who face the elements to make our lives manageable in the worst of conditions.
Here’s how it gets done inside of city hall:
In between regularly scheduled meetings, City Council member time is dedicated to researching information, spent in committee assemblies, and engaging in communications with city administrators and constituents; all in addition to functioning effectively in their full time lives and occupations. Every two weeks, your City Council gathers to review and act upon a myriad of matters, both big and small, that pertain to the business of running the city government.
Regardless of personal opinion or level of interest, considerate discussion and debate amongst the members, with concerted emphasis on respectful engagement is the standard I will highly encourage, and will reinforce as a personal focus to become more adept at maintaining.
While the councilor-at-large is elected by a citywide vote, each councilor is responsible to the constituents in their particular ward. And, when it comes time to consider the merits of any specific issue, each council member is faced with an internal debate: How do I express my reasoning/vote? What’s best for my ward, individually, or what’s best for the city, collectively?
Just as decisive votes are not going to be universally appreciated by every city resident, some votes during council meetings will not be unanimous. And, I look at that as a positive. Differing, passionate opinions and ideas, appropriately positioned, stimulate greater expression, and hopefully instill a greater understanding, on everyone’s part.
Council was not voted into being to express a solitary line of thinking. Seven members bring seven distinctly separate avenues of reasoning. Sometimes, they mesh in absolute agreement. Other times, they’ll clash. In both instances, the responsibility of professionalism and decorum rests uniformly on every member.
Election to sit on council is an honor and a privilege. It also comes with the unwavering responsibility to demonstrate the voice and action befitting the trust of the voters accepted when taking office.