City Commission Worksession Minutes 02-12-2024

View the PDF version Google Docs PDF Viewer

             February 12, 2024 @ 5:30 PM

The Worksession Meeting of the City of Muskegon was called to order at City
hall, 933 Terrace Street, Muskegon, Michigan, at 5:30 PM, Monday, February 12,

Present: Mayor Ken Johnson, Vice Mayor Rebecca St. Clair, Commissioners
Katrina Kochin, Willie German, Jr., Destinee Keener (left at 7:10 p.m.), and Jay
Absent: Commissioner Rachel Gorman


     A. Allocation of remaining ARPA Community Grant Funds Manager's Office
Staff is requesting approval to redirect $150,000 to additional applicants of the City's ARPA
Community Grant Program who were not previously selected for funding in late 2023.

2/14/23: City Commission authorized $1.6M from the City’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act
(ARPA) funds to establish the City's ARPA Community Grant Program. Eligible applicants included
non-profit orgs, small businesses and each neighborhood association.

3/1/23 - 3/31/23: Grant application period open; 60 applications received.

April 2023 - May 2023: Review of applications and established ARPA Community Grant Review
Committee. Six members included: Lawrence Baker (Ward 1), Leon Howard (Ward 2), Jennifer
Sanocki (Ward 3), Nina Leask (Ward 4), Jonathan Seyferth (City Manager), and Sharonda Carson
(Director, Community and Neighborhood Services). Two additional advisors – Community
Foundation and United Way

June 2023: The Review Committee held four public meetings at City Hall on 6/5/23, 6/7/23, 6/22/23
and 6/29/23. A multistep scoring process was used to review and evaluate all applications. The

                                           Page 1 of 5
responses to 9 questions on the application served as the evaluation criteria on which to base the
scores. Projects were ranked by the cumulative average of each committee members scores.

The Review Committee recommended (22) project proposals for the Commission’s consideration.
On August 2, 2023, the Commission approved (21) proposals for funding. At that meeting, a
recommended proposal from Pioneer Resources in the amount of $150,000 was removed due to
conflict of interest documentation involving Commissioner Gorman which had not yet been resolved.
Upon resolution of the matter, the Pioneer Resources project was brought back to the Commission
for unanimous consideration. The proposal did not ultimately receive enough support and was
subsequently denied. Thus, $150,000 was then made available to be redirected to other applicants.

As of 12/31/23, the remaining balance of uncommitted funds from the city's ARPA (American
Rescue Plan Act) allocation ($22,881,894) is approximately $435,133.40. (Staff has an equipment
recommendation for this $435,133.40 from Public Safety.)

Peter Wills, Director of Government Relations and Strategic Operations,
provided an overview of the ARPA Community Grant Program and how the
funds were awarded as well as a status update on the awarded grants. Staff is
recommending additional ARPA Community Grant fund allocation based on
the applications that were received and reviewed under the original
application and deadline.

Discussion took place between Commissioners and Director Willis. This item will
appear on the agenda for February 13, 2024 for consideration to award
additional (unallocated) ARPA Community Grant Funds to four organizations.

     B. Staff Recommendations for Short Term Rentals Public Safety
In 2023, the city started to engage with residents and Short-Term Rental owners
through in-person workshops and online surveys to collect feedback and learn
more about issues regarding Short-Term Rentals in our community. At the
11/13/23 worksession, it was discussed for staff to provide recommendations on
how to better regulate Short-Term Rentals to ensure quality of life for all residents
in the city. Public Safety will be providing a presentation on recommendations
to better regulate Short-Term Rentals and Planning will also provide a
presentation on potential zoning changes for Short-Term Rentals.

Chief Kozal started by providing an overview of the current Short Term Rental
program including the number of current Short Term Rentals, the number of
police calls, information from a portal where neighbors can report incidents,
etc. Information regarding registration and unregistered Short Term Rentals and
the enforcement process was also presented. Recommendations are also
being provided as to how to strengthen enforcement, among other things.

Mike Franzak, Planning Director, provided information for consideration of

                                          Page 2 of 5
several options, including an overlay district or limit on the number of Short Term
Rentals and/or potentially splitting the city into different zones with different
caps, no caps, whatever would work best for the area. We could also limit the
number of STR's side by side or on a block so that there isn't too high of a
concentration in any one area. Commissioners provided feedback on the some
ideas and suggestions that were presented.

    C. Apple Avenue Corridor Improvements Public Works
Staff presented the outcomes of the Apple Avenue traffic study, some
engagement feedback received from a core group of stakeholders over the
past several months, and funding discussions with MDOT all with the goal of
defining what Apple Avenue could look like in 2027 after MDOT's rebuild.

MDOT has programmed approximately $24 million dollars to rebuild Apple
Avenue from downtown Muskegon to US-31 in 2026. They have been open and
willing to engage with the City on what the next version of Apple Avenue might
look like, and the time has come to combine all the various sources of input and
determine the framework under which MDOT will begin to design the project.
 Some of the items that staff will present for review:

The results of a traffic study by ProgressiveAE
The process by which staff, ProgressiveAE and MDOT met with stakeholders and
received input about how Apple is used and what improvements could be
Concept designs prepared by ProgressiveAE based on that engagement
The results of meetings with MDOT to determine what the state can pay for and
what may require City cost sharing
The results of utility studies and video taping, showing which utilities will need to
be replaced as a part of the project (at the City's cost)

Taking into account all of these items, staff will propose a framework for Apple
Avenue including what each item may cost the City and how it will further the
community's vision for Apple Avenue. Some of the items identified will need to
be planned and budgeted for in 2026, while others may be things the City and
MDOT partner on to create the space and opportunity for future improvements
past 2026.

Dan VanderHeide, Public Works Director presented information relating to the
option of the city assisting MDOT in the design process for the reconstruction of
Apple Avenue scheduled for 2026.
Deborah Sweet, Community Engagement Manager, reviewed the efforts the
city has made to engage the community on the topic. Engagement included

                                    Page 3 of 5
business owners, residents, bus users, walkers, subject experts, and city staff. Dan
VanderHeide also provided an overview of the take aways from the traffic
study that was conducted and reviewed the city's potential participation in the
road project.

Discussion took place.

    D. Water Affordability Grant Application Public Works
Staff presented a 100%-funded opportunity to study water affordability in the
City of Muskegon.

The State of Michigan has made available $5.7 million dollars in grant funds to
help communities study water affordability through the Affordability and
Planning Grant, part of the MI Clean Water Plan, due February 19, 2024. Staff
has long had interest in learning more about affordability in Muskegon,
including efforts by Deputy City Manager Mikesell in 2020 and 2021. To further
those efforts, Prein & Newhof has offered to help the City prepare a grant
application for this program.

The grant will be used to gather data on affordability in Muskegon, learn about
how affordability affects our residents, investigate other community efforts
around affordability and how those efforts have been received and
implemented, and determine how a community action agency (such as Mid-
Michigan Community Action Agency, the City's current partner for utility
assistance) can help the City manage a water affordability program.

The grant is a planning grant, and does not commit the City to implementing an
affordability program or any associated rate changes. Once the report is
received, the City could choose to implement any or all of the report's

Some of the deliverables from the grant will include mapping and other data
on affordability within the City, the time and efforts associated with current
assistance and billpay practices that could be offset by an affordability
program, the finances a program would require and ways the City could gather
the resources, the ordinance changes required and other legal ramifications,
etc. The grant allows and the process is expected to take one year to
complete. Public engagement will be a part of the effort and is planned to be
covered by the grant.

Public Works Director, Dan VanderHeide presented information regarding the
water affordability grant. Discussion took place.

                                   Page 4 of 5
Public Comments were received.

Motion by Commissioner German, second by Commissioner Kilgo, to adjourn at
9:11 p.m.

                                     Respectfully Submitted,

                                     Ann Marie Meisch, MMC City Clerk

                                 Page 5 of 5

Top of Page

New Agenda Notifications

* indicates required