BRIDGMAN —The Bridgman City Council set in motion a new ordinance that would ban dogs on Weko Beach and approved new rules for charitable solicitation in the roadway and during its Monday, Oct. 7, meeting.

After a presentation by Milo Root, director of parks and recreation, City Attorney Sara Senica was asked to prepare an ordinance prohibiting dogs on Weko Beach throughout the year with the exception of the path to the adjacent dog beach at Warren Dunes State Park. There also was some discussion of extending the Weko boardwalk the short distance to the state park beach.

“Bridgman is a dog-friendly city. We even have a bar that allows dogs and a dog park and provide doggie bags along the street,” said council member Jan Trapani, noting the Warren Dunes dog beach right next door so keeping them off Weko Beach should not be a hardship.

Council Member Rick Fuller said he thinks enforcement needs to be consistent.

Senica noted that current city ordinances are inconsistent on the issue and said the new year-round ban will make it easier for the police to enforce the rule. It also will eliminate potentially dangerous rescues from water or icy surfaces.

With the safety of both the solicitors and motorists alike in mind, the new law limits solicitation by charitable and civic groups to only Lake and Church streets. This intersection was recently equipped with flashing four-way stop signs. The new rule also limits solicitors to 16- and 17-year-olds with written parental permission and adult supervision and requires $500,000 liability insurance by the sponsoring organization. 

In other Oct. 7 business, Director of Public Services Tim Kading reviewed the conclusions of the Water Asset Management Program that set the stage for a $3.25 monthly water rate increase for the 93 percent of users who are served by 5/8-inch meters. Higher increases will be seen by customers using larger meters.

“We have to do something. We can’t push this under the rug any longer,” said Mayor Vince Rose, referring to the rate increase.

Fuller said he would like to see all the proposed rate increases being considered, including water, sewer and garbage disposal, presented as a total package for communicating to residents.

City Manager Juan Ganum said his goal is to have a complete package of rate increases and reasons for them the January issue of “Community Buzz.”

According to Kading, the increases, which will total about $40,000 per year, are needed to cover the future maintenance identified by the Water Asset Management Program to ensure a secure supply of safe, high-quality water to meet current and future demand.

The board gave enthusiastic approval for a request to reserve Weko Beach House for the second annual Food Fight to Celebrate Hometown Heroes on Sunday, Nov. 10. The event will benefit the Bridgman American Legion Post 331. The request was made by Abigail Dougherty, special events and catering manager for Brewster’s, sponsor of the event. She said last year’s event, which featured mac and cheese, was a greater success than expected and even more local restaurants are joining this year’s taco competition.

In other business, the board approved an agreement with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) that provides for reimbursement to the city of approximately $1,000 per year for the cost of electricity associated with its air monitoring device. Bridgman is one of the five locations where the state measures particulates from nuclear power plants.

The council also approved the purchase of a 60-inch John Deere zero-turn mower from Greenmark Equipment for $10,900 and a $7,200 automotive lift.  The council approved the annual resolution to take the exemption option of the state act regarding employee health insurance.

Council Member Linda Gedeon‐Kuhn commended the fire department on the recent fire at Sunset Landing apartments. Fire Chief Joel Buist said his firefighters, and neighboring communities who assisted, did an excellent job and “everything went the way it was supposed to work.”

Gideon also complimented Fuller on his work in making his businesses — Sandpiper Gift Shop and Hoof to Hanger Fiber Mill — attractive, and said she hopes other businesses will follow the example.

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