Mt. Pleasant, MI Quarterly Newsletter Winter 2022

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Connections Fall /Winter2022

City Manager

Nancy Ridley


When Nancy Ridley moved to Mt. Pleasant as a Central Michigan University student, she never imagined she would later become City Manager and oversee the multiple services provided to residents. After graduating from CMU with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Finance, Nancy remained on campus to continue her work in the finance area. Then in 1997, Nancy joined the City of Mt. Pleasant to fill the Finance Director role. In 2014, she was appointed City Manager. When asked what prompts someone to seek out a career in municipal government Ridley replied, “Local government, although challenging at times, is very rewarding because you are able to see the results of your work, every single day.” She continued, “Whether it is the water that comes out of our faucets, the condition of the streets and sidewalks, an extensive park system, public safety, redevelopment projects, or trash and recycling programs, these functions all serve as reminders of what we, as local government, are tasked with on a daily basis.”

Although water, streets, public safety and parks are a part of a resident’s daily experience, there is nothing routine about assuring these services are uninterrupted and of high quality. During her tenure as City Manager, more than $10 million was earmarked towards capital improvement projects for streets, water, sewer and the airport. Curbside recycling for rooming houses and multi-family residences was expanded, intersection and pedestrian lighting was enhanced throughout the city, 25 more miles to the sidewalk snow removal program were added, park amenities were upgraded, and accessibility was

improved by constructing more sidewalks and bike routes. In addition, after receiving public input, the City Master Plan 2050 was developed and adopted, and the completion of the West Broadway Revitalization Project took place with the recent construction of the Broadway Lofts. There are many challenges to being a City Manager, Ridley observed, “The biggest undertaking is meeting the needs of various groups such as; elected City Commissioners, city staff, residents/businesses and community partners. They all play vital roles, and balancing the needs of each group is extremely important and is not possible without strong partnerships.”

Throughout her past 7 years as City Manager, Ridley has strengthened affiliations with Central Michigan University, the Central Michigan District Health Department, Isabella County, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Union Township. A sampling of positive results flowing from this enhanced collaboration include: improving relationships between college students and residents in neighborhoods north of campus; four new grid streets connected to Mission Street to enhance safety; extending the non-motorized path through the south end of campus safely connecting Deerfield and Broomfield Roads; a cooperative COVID-19 response strategy; the establishment of Hannah’s Dog Park; the formation of both the Airport Joint Operations and Management Board and the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority. Communication with community partners is key, and

is also a major driver in the overall city staff culture set by Ridley. Reflecting on working with city staff Ridley shared, “I have enjoyed watching the growth and ingenuity of our staff members. We have been handed some tough issues and projects throughout the years and it always impressed me how staff, fueled by their dedication to city residents, would find creative solutions.” Due to COVID precautions, a public retirement reception for Nancy Ridley will not be scheduled. Individuals are encouraged to send a note to her at 320 W. Broadway, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 or email at nridley@mt-pleasant. org before her final day scheduled for October 29.

Aaron Desentz Named City Manager In April 2021, current City Manager Nancy Ridley announced her retirement effective in October. As a result, the City Commission hired Walsh Municipal Services to conduct the City Manager recruitment process. Out of 63 applications received, 10 candidates were presented to the City Commission for review.

The City Commission selected four candidates to interview on Saturday, August 21, and narrowed the field down to two candidates; Aaron Desentz, currently the City Manager at Eaton Rapids, and John Hanifan, City Manager for the City of Chelsea.

After Mr. Hanifan withdrew his name from consideration, the City Commission held a special meeting on August 26 and unanimously voted to extend a conditional offer of employment to Aaron Desentz, pending a background check and contract negotiations. An ad hoc committee comprised of Mayor Will Joseph, and Commissioners Mary Alsager and Petro Tolas, Recruiter Frank Walsh and Human Resource Director Susanne Gandy drafted the conditions of the contract, and submitted it to the full commission for approval at the September 13 City Commission meeting. The terms of the contract were unanimously approved by the commission with Mr. Desentz’s first day of employment slated for October 18. Current City Manager Nancy Ridley has agreed to assist with the transition. Her final day is October 29.

City Commission Candidates Three City Commission positions are available for the January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2024 term. These openings are due to the terms of current Commissioners Lori Gillis, Amy Perschbacher, and Petro Tolas expiring on December 31, 2021. Commissioners Gillis and Tolas are not seeking re-election.

The five individuals running for the three available seats are: • Elizabeth “Liz” Busch • Maureen N. Eke • Daniel “Dan” Hess • Philip “Phil” Kruska • Amy Perschbacher Polls will be open on November 2 from 7am-8pm. Free rides will be offered by I-Ride (989) 772-9441.

Excessive Vehicle Noise is IllegalA Message from Director of Public Safety Paul Lauria

Did you know altering your vehicles exhaust to produce louder noise is illegal? Excessive vehicle noise will end up costing you a ticket and a fine. Michigan law requires vehicle exhaust systems to be in good working order, and not modified to produce more noise in excess of legally established limits. Please be mindful of your neighbors and keep the vehicle noise down.

Leaf Collection Schedule As the temperatures cool, and the trees start to show their vibrant colors, residents and landscaping companies are reminded to not rake leaves into the streets until the week of October 25. City staff will make one sweep through the entire city during pick up weeks. Therefore, leaves should be raked into low piles before Monday of pick up weeks and not cover catch basins.

On High and Pickard Streets, where high traffic volume prohibits leaves in the gutter; residents and landscaping companies should rake the leaves onto the rights-of-way, between the curb and sidewalk. Those who live on streets other than High and Pickard must place their leaves in the street. If you live on a boulevard, do not place leaves in the median, place them in front of your home.

Yard waste bags should not be used; this collection is for leaves only. Leaf piles must not contain garden or shrubbery clippings, dead grass, branches, trim board or other material.

Residents who wish to rake their yards ahead of the city’s collection schedule may bag and dispose of the leaves for a fee at the Material Recovery Facility. Leaves may also be mulched with a mulching lawnmower.

The city’s 2021 leaf collection schedule is as follows: • October 25

• November 8

• November 22: Leaves left in the street after crews have made their final pass will not be collected and are the responsibility of the homeowner. Questions? Call 989-779-5401.

City Commission Approves Amended Animal Ordinance The City Commission approved an amended animal ordinance to address the increasing number of complaints regarding stray cats. These concerns include noise, sanitary issues, child safety, and the growing stray cat population in certain areas of the city. Over the past several years Code Enforcement has worked with the Humane Animal Treatment Society and Isabella County Animal Control to address these issues. The trap, neuter/spay and release method has been utilized, but with limited success due to some residents feeding and harboring the animals. The amended ordinance provides Code Enforcement personnel with additional tools to address health and safety issues created by animals. As in the past, the first enforcement step will be education. The second step involves working with local partners to, if necessary, humanely impound the animal(s) and/or have the animal(s) trapped, spayed/neutered and released/ adopted if possible. Neither the original or amended ordinances allows stray animals to be euthanized, except in instances as determined by a licensed veterinarian. This amended ordinance does not change the number of household pets permitted (up to three cats/dogs; no more than four) that has been in effect for decades. There is no plan for city staff to go door to door to determine how many animals are living in every city residence. Like many of the city’s other regulatory ordinances enforcement will only occur if there are health and safety concerns or complaints have been received. A staff report regarding this amended ordinance will be shared with the City Commission six months after implementation.

10-digit dialing will soon be required for all calls in Michigan’s 616, 810, 906 and 989 area codes. Beginning October 24, 2021, telephone users in the 616, 810, 906 and 989 area codes will soon be required to include an area code in every phone call - known as 10-digit dialing - as part of the rollout of a new way to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The change is in preparation for the July 16, 2022, activation of a new 3-digit dialing code - 988 - to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. From now until July 16, 2022 individuals must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline.

On-Street Parking Not Permitted During Snow Emergencies If a snow emergency is declared by city staff, onstreet parking will NOT be permitted, and failure to remove vehicles from the street will result in a ticket. Towing may be utilized if ticketing has proven ineffective and/or the vehicles parked on the street cause a delay in snow removal.

Notice of when a snow emergency is declared, and later lifted, will be provided through the city’s social media channels, blog, community information phone line (989-779-5320), local media notification, and an email alert. For those who want to receive email notifications, please sign up to receive the city’s monthly eConnections newsletter by visiting

Other parking ordinance guidelines are as follows: • Overnight street parking is allowed throughout the city year-round, except for the Downtown area.

• Downtown street parking is prohibited from 4 – 6 a.m. year-round.

City of


320 W. Broadway Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 • (989) 779-5300

Local Postal Customer

Mount Pleasant

Upcoming Activities & Events Check for confirmed meeting locations. October 21

Farmers’ Market: 7:30am - 2pm Island Park Airport Joint Operations & Management Board - 3:30pm


Regular Meeting: City Commission - 7pm Fall Leaf Collection


Regular Meeting: Parks and Recreation - 6pm


Farmers’ Market: 7:30am - 2pm Island Park


Pumpkin Promenade - 4-6pm Downtown


Trick or Treating - 6-8pm


November 2

Election Day - 7am-8pm


Regular Meeting: Planning Commission - 7pm


Meeting-Mid Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority - 8:30am Regular Meeting: City Commission - 7pm Fall Leaf Collection


Historic District Commission Meeting - 5pm


Regular Meeting: DDA- 10am


Regular Meeting: Parks and Recreation - 6pm


Airport Joint Operations & Management Board - 3:30pm


Regular Meeting: TIFA - 8:30am Regular Meeting: City Commission - 7pm Fall Leaf Collection


Regular Meeting: ZBA - 7pm


City Offices Closed


Regular Meeting: Planning Commission - 7pm


Christmas Celebration & Cram A Cruiser: 5-8pm Downtown


Christmas Celebration


Cram-a-Cruiser, Toys for Tots Collection - 4-6:30pm 804 E High St.


Regular Meeting: DDA- 10am


Meeting-Mid Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority - 8:30am Regular Meeting: City Commission - 7pm


Airport Joint Operations & Management Board - 3:30pm


Regular Meeting: ZBA - 7pm


Regular Meeting: City Commission - 7pm (if needed)



Stay Connected

Community Information Line Get the latest updates on city services and announcements.

(989) 779-5320


Christmas Tree Collection Christmas trees will be picked up from January 3-14. Utilize this service by attaching two refuse tags to the tree for a total cost of $6.30. Individual tags are available at GreenTree Grocery. Multiple tags can be purchased at Meijer, Ric’s, and City Hall. Trees are to be placed at the curb, even in areas where normal trash collection is in the alley. If you know you will be using this service, please call (989) 779-5401 or email with the date the tree will be curbside. All tinsel and plastic bags must be removed, and the trunk ends of the trees facing the street. Evergreen wreaths will not be collected. After January 14 trees may be taken to the Materials Recovery Facility or disposed of through the city’s brush chipping program.

Christmas Celebration Mark your calendars for December 3-4. Details to be released soon.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information The Central Michigan District Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments and clinics to individuals, ages 12 and above. Schedule an appointment by calling 2-1-1 or visiting: Vaccines are free.

Join Forces with the Mt. Pleasant Police Department & Toys for Tots The Mt. Pleasant Police Department invites the public to help ‘cram a cruiser’ with new, unwrapped, unopened toys to support Toys for Tots. Toy drop off times:

Friday, December 3, 5-8 p.m. - Downtown, Broadway/ Main Street intersection, during the Christmas Celebration activities. Wednesday, December 8, 4 – 6:30 p.m. - Public Safety Building, 804 E. High Street.

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