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March 18, 2019 2:03 pm

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Douglas City Council Elects Jim Wiley As Mayor; Martha Hoexter Mayor Pro Tem

     Douglas City Council once again elected colleagues Jim Wiley as mayor and Martha Hoexter as mayor pro tem following the November 4 general election. 

     Council also extended a warm welcome to Neal Seabert as its newest member. He is new to local government after being elected to the post by the local electorate in the November 4th elections. 

     The council elects a new mayor and mayor pro tem following each council election. 

     The council race was unopposed this year with four candidates running for four open seats for a two-year term. 

     Besides Wiley, Eric Smith and Bill Japinga were re-elected.

     “I’d like to thank the city staff and city council for being so helpful in trying to get me up to par,” Seabert told his new colleagues. 

     “I hope to do the best job that I can for you. I appreciate the opportunity to be on city council. I’ve never done it before.”

     And Hoexter announced, “Thank you very much for the honor of serving you again as mayor pro tem.” 

     Wiley also thanked his fellow council members for their support and election. 

     In other city business, Douglas City Council passed a resolution Monday in support of the grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to initiate the process of trying to acquire 150 of the 315 acres of the property known as Singapore Dunes, LLC. 

     Oklahoma City natural gas magnate Aubrey McClendon owns the property which he now has up for sale.

     The Douglas council’s move on Monday followed a previous motion to have city staff draft the letter of support. 

     The acquisition of the property, with potential future purchase of the remaining 165 acres, “represents the logical expansion of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park,” states the resolution. 

     It also states the land would be a unique opportunity to have in this area (as it is) heavily dependent on tourism, offers low-impact campgrounds and benefits from an “increase of more than 600,000 visitors to the area, adding $4 million to $6 million dollars to the local economy and supporting an additional 96 to 148 jobs.” 

     City of Saugatuck officials are considering a similar resolution in support of the measure to try and obtain the MNRTF grant.

     Local environmental preservation advocate Jon Helmrich recently announced the MNRTF grant application has great prospects, as it was the only application among 10 that had four people that spoke on its behalf at a recent MNRTF board meeting. 

     He further announced that a big supporter of the grant is Samuel Cummings, a MNRTF board member himself and a Grand Rapids based-developer who owns a summer home in the City of Saugatuck. 

Douglas City Council Elects Jim Wiley As Mayor; Martha Hoexter Mayor Pro Tem

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