Ontonagon gets Portage Health Foundation grant for lakeshore

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette Ontonagon Village Council member John Hamm goes over the details on the Portage Health Foundation Grant for the village’s lakeshore project.

ONTONAGON — The Portage Health Foundation awarded a grant of $16,900 for the Accessible Pathways to Public Beach Project to the village of Ontonagon.

The award was announced at Monday’s Village Council meeting.

The project is to be completed by this upcoming Aug. 15.

“The grant is for the installation of beach access mats along the lakeshore. Thanks go to Carol Maass, who wrote the grant on behalf of the village,” said village manager Joe Erickson.

Erickson also told the council the village’s sewer had an overflow and that it was reported to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Health Department. This happened on April 12 and 13.

“On the 12th the Water Department superintendent reported that the fourth lagoon topped the overflow. Jeremy had already collected samples for our planned discharge from the lagoons and were awaiting the results,” Erickson said.

The results came back within the discharge parameters and normal drawdown began on April 15, he said.

“On the 15th less than 300 gallons of sewage was discharged at the marina from a drain port under the docks. The drain plug was removed last fall after flushing the sewer connection to the pump out station.”

Erickson also informed the council regarding Michigan House Bill 4046, which exempts short-term rentals from local zoning regulations. The bill is moving forward through the House.

The proposed legislation would declare they are not a commercial use of property. The Michigan Municipal League (MML) has not taken a position and feels this is a local issue.

Communities that have dealt with these issues already report issues such as noise, parking and property maintenance.

“It should also be noted, that they are rarely registered with Treasury to collect sales taxes and there is not local property tax benefit to the community,” quoted Erickson.

In March three council members and Erickson went to Lansing to meet with legislators. The cost of this trip was $4,736.

The council agreed to reimburse Gitchee Gumee Garden Group $650 for flower boxes on River Street.

The new forms for those filing Freedom of Information requests were approved.