BRIDGMAN – Bridgman High School Class of 2020 will get a break from the City of Bridgman if they wish to hold their graduation party close to home.

Graduates will receive a reduced rate of $50 per hour for the rental of the Sunset Room in the Weko Beach House during the month of June 2020.  The normal rental rate of $1,500 per day will be reduced to $50 per hour for families of 2020 graduates.  

The discount was one of two actions taken during the Sept. 17 City Council meeting as the city tries to increase rental income at the facility throughout the year. Rentals on Sundays in June are not typically high. Another step taken to increase rentals was the approval of a 50 percent discount on the eight summer concert dates. The discount recognizes the early ending time of 6 p.m. for rentals on those days.

The city also will also be going into the kayak and paddleboard rental business next season at Weko Beach after the purchase of Waikiki Jack’s rental equipment for $5,000. The board opted to take over the operation rather than seek a new vendor when Waikiki Jack decided to cease his operations. The city estimates revenues of $16,000 will exceed the operating costs of $9,000.

The council also approved the construction of a joint fire department training facility on the city’s property at the old sewer lagoons off Rambo Road. Joining the city will be Lake Township’s Fire Department and the Cook Nuclear Fire Brigade. The facility will be constructed of shipping containers, to be provided by Cook, and enclosed in a chain link fence to be provided by Lake Township. In addition to the land, the city will provide the concrete pad and prep work at an estimated cost of $8,000. The new site will be used to store training props and conduct fundamental fire fighter training.

A revised ordinance regulating the solicitation of donations by charitable and civic groups in intersections was submitted for first reading by City Attorney Sara Senica. The revisions were prompted by council discussion at the Aug. 19 meeting. The proposed ordinance limits solicitation to the intersection of Lake and Church Streets and attempts to balance safety with the needs of community organizations. The section limiting solicitation by minors was deleted. The second reading is scheduled for the next meeting on Monday, Nov. 7.

The second reading and enactment of an ordinance regulating the use of fireworks in the city was approved. Fireworks will be limited to certain hours and days surrounding New Year’s, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. The new ordinance mirrors the state law but allows for local civil enforcement which is less time consuming and costly for all.

City Manager Juan Ganum ended his report by updating the council on the current financial status of the sewer fund and the on-going subsidy of the sewer fund by the general fund. Setting the stage for a sewer rate increase, Ganum said additional information is expected in mid-November when Wightman Associates completes its study for the Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater Grant.

In other business, the board:

• Appointed John Truesdell to the Planning Commission for a partial term expiring April 1, 2020;

• Tabled a proposed five-year contract with Boss Services for the one-time payment of $1,100 for plumbing services within the city’s parks;

• Approved Bridgman School’s Homecoming Parade on Friday, Oct. 4, beginning at 5:30 p.m. from City Hall parking lot down Lake Street to the high school;

• Hired Brad Mattner as part time building official and zoning administrator;

• Approved the annual poverty exemption eligibility requirements.

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