Wastewater plant resolution approved

Council OKs measures to sell facility

The Negaunee Wastewater Treatment Plant along Marquette County Road 480 was the subject of two actions by the Negaunee City Council on Thursday. The council approved a resolution to discontinue the plant’s public property status, which is the first step in a process that will allow the city to sell the facility. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — The former wastewater treatment plant property along Marquette County Road 480 in Negaunee may be headed to the auction block.

The Negaunee City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a resolution to authorize the discontinuance of its interest in publicly owned property for the roughly 12.4-acre site and set a public hearing at 7 p.m. Feb. 14, as required by the city charter.

The plant was decommissioned in 2014 when the city began using the Ishpeming Area Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility, according to the city’s 2016 master plan.

The Negaunee wastewater facility, which was built in 1953, “was in need of costly investments in order to continue operations,” the plan states. The property is considered a brownfield site by Marquette County.

Once the city’s interest in the property is discontinued, the resolution states it will be advertised and sold to the highest bidder in a public auction by way of a quit-claim deed, which will reflect that the property is being sold “as-is,” making it “subject to existing easements and further subject to any future easements needed for roads or utilities.”

Councilman Don Gladwell, who made the motion to adopt the resolution, said he had voiced concerns to City Manager Nate Heffron about the public auction and how the resulting sale would be handled, but said it can be discussed more at the public hearing.

Councilman Jim Kantola, supported the motion.

“I think moving this property down the line is a good thing for the city,” Kantola said.

As required by the charter, the resolution must be published “not less than once a week” for four weeks after approval, allowing residents to submit objections to the city in writing up until the time of the public hearing.

In a separate order of business, the council approved the second reading of a zoning ordinance amendment which changes the zoning of the property from Public Area to Industrial.

The zoning ordinance amendment also changes several parcels along County Road 480 from Rural Residential to Industrial and two parcels on the north side of Maas Street from Residential 2 to Business 2. The first reading of the zoning ordinance amendment was approved at the council’s regular meeting in December.

The council also approved an $11,630 expenditure for the purchase and installation of a new pump for the city’s wastewater lift station along Division Street.

The pump, which is one of four in that location, failed in December and is not repairable, according to a Jan. 2 memo from Interim Public Works Director Don Larson to the city manager.

The money for the project will come from the city’s wastewater fund, council documents state.

In other business, the council held a public hearing regarding amendments to the city’s electric ordinance before approving the changes.

Under the updates, bills, which were historically read or estimated on the first day of the month, will now be read or estimated within two days before or after the first day of the month.

The ordinance language also includes updated information on net energy billing, a process that credits customers who use solar or other renewable energy sources to generate electricity at their homes or businesses.