Douglas Officials Make Their Own Deal With Edgewater Resources Regarding Harbor Issues
Douglas officials have decided there is no need for a completely different contract dealing with harbor issues with the engineering firm that is already working on the City of Douglas’ Master Plan, an addendum will work just fine for the city.
The Douglas City Council had already been working with the Edgewater Resources firm even before the City of Saugatuck opted not to work with Douglas under the auspices of the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority relative to a long-term plan for the harbor, but instead submitted its own long-term plan with its own specific needs.
Council members decided Monday night to simply incorporate the long-term harbor plan into its existing Edgewater Master Plan agreement.
The long-term plan was originally envisioned as a single agreement between Edgewater and the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck as collaborative signees.
However, Saugatuck officials called for a specific set of tasks to be completed in a specific order. Their Douglas counterparts were not of the same opinion that the work should be done the way Saugatuck wanted.
At least one Douglas council member was not pleased with the divergent paths.
“I am disappointed we are going in this direction,” said Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath. “I was hoping all three communities (the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas and Saugatuck Township) would be participating as one entity rather than going separately. Long term, this is not a benefit to our constituents.”
Harvath nevertheless joined the rest of his colleagues in approving the contract.
The Douglas addendum totals $37,500, the same amount Saugatuck City Council approved last week for its contract with Edgewater. The engineering firm is working with Williams & Works on Douglas’ Master Plan, which city officials approved last year for $42,245 and is a related, but separate effort than the long-term plan.
Despite the two separate contracts, most officials—as well as Edgewater representatives—have promoted them as accomplishing the same objective:
* Identify options to deal with the sedimentation of the harbor.
* Address what could be done upstream to mitigate the problem.
Edgewater also will identify options on how to pay for the long-term solutions.
Citing concerns over costs and the need to gather more input from its constituents as it relates to how significant it is for them, Saugatuck Township has so far chosen not to fully participate in the Harbor Authority. The township has a representative on the authority, but not voting rights since it has not provided any money for the effort.
Among the tasks Saugatuck requested in its contract with Edgewater was getting them to “meet with regulatory agencies to determine what options would have the best chance to being permitted.”
It is step one in its five-step program, a rationale Douglas officials questioned arguing it was more reasonable to start with public input, not more of what has already been provided: input from regulatory agencies.