For a second meeting in a row City Council met for approximately 30 minutes. Food trucks were discussed, Lisa Plank gave an update on accomplishments of the Lowell Area Historical Museum during the past year and nine items VOIP expense items were approved.
In a brief biodigester update City Manager Mike Burns informed council not much has happened since the joint update released on Jan. 16 of this year. He also mentioned City Attorney Dick Wendt has indicated LEAD representatives are close to submitting a proposal for review.
City Manager Mike Burns brought information to council members regarding what nearby cities’ have done with food trucks. He contacted cities of similar size to Lowell, each with a downtown district. Cities including Belding and Rockford do not allow food trucks within city limits. Hudsonville is currently working on an ordinance to establish rules and regulations for food trucks. The ordinance used in Ferndale was presented to council as an example Mike Burns and Police Chief Steve Bukala liked as far as an example which provided details when it comes to expectations for food trucks. Council directed Burns to draft a sample ordinance for Lowell as a way to kick off council discussion, scheduling a public hearing, and ultimately making a decision.
During 2016 the Lowell Area Historical Museum saw nearly 26,900 patrons participating in programs or visiting the museum. Launched in the fall, The Past Online has given the opportunity for the museum to share its inventory with the public as well provide information on those buried in Oakwood Cemetery and genealogy results for those the museum has researched. Numerous programs for school aged children were offered and will continue in 2017. An exhibit featuring the history of fur trading in Lowell opened in October of last year and will remain until fall of 2018.
The voice over IP (VOIP) project for the city will begin soon. City Council unanimously approved nine expenses needed to start the project. During the Lowell Light & Power’s board meeting this Thursday the same items will be considered for approval. The new system will allow for installation of an updated phone system, shared internet service within city departments, and a monetary savings each month. The expected return on investment is around 24 months according to Lowell Light & Power’s General Manager Steve Donkersloot.
The first reestablished Coffee with Council took place this past weekend. Three members from City Council greeted five residents over the course of two hours. This informal setting allows members of the community to come and speak with their elected government officials. The next opportunity to talk with council members will be Saturday, March 4 from 8-10am at the Chamber building on the riverwalk.
The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, February 21 at 7pm at City Hall. Note this is a Tuesday due to the observance of President’s Day when city offices will be closed. If you’re unable to attend a City Council meeting they can be viewed at the City of Lowell YouTube channel. They are typically uploaded a day or two following the meeting. Agendas and minutes for council meetings can also be found on the city’s webpage. Items being discussed at a Monday meeting are typically posted the Friday prior to the meeting. Both of these resources are a good way to keep informed about what’s going on in the city.