Dexter Community Report 05-23-22

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

The following highlights come from Dexter’s City Manager, Community Development Manager, and Mayor reports submitted to the City Council on May 23, 2022.

Affordable Housing Options: Community Development Manager Michelle Aniol stated in her written report, “The need for diverse options of affordable housing has become increasingly relevant for the economic development community, especially in Michigan. Private companies seek communities that have a healthy inventory of homes when making location decisions, but today’s market has not been able to keep up because housing costs have increased faster than incomes. To address the situation, the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) has published a guide called “Housing is Economic Development - A Guidebook for using Tax Increment Financing for Housing Development.”

Ms. Aniol provided the Council with a link to the guidebook, also stating, “The guidebook not only serves as a guide to the development process, but helps when making the case to investors and local leaders for housing needs in a community.”

Spongy (formerly Gypsy) Moth Season: The City is consulting with its arborist to take measures to prevent or minimize the impact of the Spongy Moth this year. Last year the City experienced a significant breakout and expects something similar this year.

No Mow May: The Council discussed the pros and cons of “No mow may,” the social initiative designed to help pollinators become established by letting their lawns go uncut for May. Some area municipalities have endorsed the concept. The Council discussed that some people participating in the cause experienced problems with the long grass. Councilmember Michels explained the movement began in Minnesota, where lawns do not grow to a great length in May as they do in Michigan. He recommended the City approach the matter with a “soft touch” in the future.

Outdoor Art: The temporary sculpture displays for this year are being installed in their various locations around town.

Walk Your Wheels: The City is selecting locations to temporarily paint “Please Walk Your Wheels” stencils on the Main Street sidewalks between Alpine and Central streets. If the spots are deemed effective, permanent marking will be used.

Community Survey: The City has compiled the survey data and has made the results available in the City Council meeting packet for May 23, 2022. Responses totaled 730.

City Office Remodel: Demolition for the new City Offices at 3515 Broad Street has begun.

Community Garden: The opening day for the Community Garden was May 21.

Mill Creek Park North: Plans are moving forward for the park's rehabilitation. The emphasis has shifted from landscaping to playground structures.

Student Reps: Mayor Keough reported that he is still receiving applications from students interested in sitting in on the City’s governing groups. Mr. Keough intends to make his recommendations to the Council at its June 13 meeting.

DAFD Fire Chief Search: DAFD Fire Chief Robert Smith is retiring on June 30. A job search resulted in the DAFD Board offering the top position to Assistant DAFD Fire Chief Doug Armstrong. Mayor Keough reported that Mr. Armstrong has since withdrawn his candidacy. As an alternative, Mr. Armstrong is working out a plan where he and fellow Assistant Chief Stephen Gaggi will split the duties of DAFD Chief. The Board will review the plan when completed.

Sheriff Clayton: Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton met with Mayor Keough to review the police service his office was providing Dexter. The Mayor also gave Sheriff Clayton a tour of the City’s new office building.

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