Douglas May Find Room In 2015-'16 Budget For New Community Development Director
“I was glad to find out there is room in our budget for a Ryan 2.0,” reported Douglas Mayor James Wiley Monday, making reference to a possible replacement of Ryan Kilpatrick, Douglas’ former community development director.
Officials discussed the proposed budget for 2015-2016 (the city’s fiscal year starts on July 1) for an hour before their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday.
Douglas City Treasurer Robert Drexler’s proposed requested general fund budget for next year totals $2.8 million, of which $46,000 is being set aside for the potential hiring of a community development figure.
It is a request that city leaders and residents alike have informally made as to the apparent need to have somebody in charge of promoting the city and making it more attractive for visitors.
Besides being the planning and zoning administrator, Kilpatrick worked on various projects to make the city more economically viable and conducive to walking and riding bikes.
Under his leadership, for example, the city worked on the ongoing Blue Star Highway redevelopment plan and the six-foot-wide trail that will eventually connect the city’s downtown to Douglas beach. The paved trail runs along the north side of Center Street towards Lakeshore Drive; at present, it is completed from Wade’s Bayou up to the Wilderness Ridge subdivision.
As part of the budget discussion, officials also talked about the top ten projects the city will continue to be working on this year, including a five-year capital improvement plan, Wade’s Bayou improvements, and the waterfront sub-area plan, the former two expected to be completed within a year and the latter within a year.
The big-ticket item is the Lake Kalamazoo Harbor Dredging Plan, with estimated costs at about half a million dollars.
In other Douglas business, officials Monday approved—without reservations and little comment—the first reading of a proposal to amend the city’s short-term rental ordinance. The existing ordinance requires an annual inspection of rental properties by the fire department before rental occupancy certification is issued.
The proposed amendment would make a fire department inspection and certification valid for a period of three years, not one year.
The council is expected to conduct second reading of this proposed ordinance amendment and make the final adoption at the city council’s next meeting to be held in two weeks.