City Commission Approves Ukrainian Resettlement Resolution, Budget, Parks Projects
By Beth Milligan | June 8, 2022
Traverse City commissioners voted Monday to approve a resolution to support Bethany Christian Services’ application to the U.S. Department of State to resettle Ukrainian refugees in Traverse City. Commissioners also voted to approve the 2022-23 city budget – with $360,000 now included for three firefighters requested by the Traverse City Fire Department – and approved contracts/agreements for improvements at the West End Beach parking lot, Indian Woods Park, and Kids Creek.
Bethany Christian Services has assisted refugees from Ukraine settle in the Traverse City area since the 1970s. The organization has been approached by Church World Services to expand refugee programming through the U.S. Department of State’s Reception and Placement program. If Bethany Christian Services’ application is accepted, the group plans to help resettle 50 Ukrainian refugees locally in the first year, 40 of whom have family members living in Traverse City. City commissioners passed a resolution backing the local nonprofit's application to the U.S. Department of State.
Commissioners also voted Monday to approve the 2022-23 budgets for the city, Traverse City Light & Power, and the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Commissioner Ashlea Walter voted against adopting the city's budget, while Commissioner Tim Werner voted against adopting the DDA budget, saying the DDA's vision didn't seem aligned with the city's. At the request of commissioners, City Manager Marty Colburn included $360,000 in the budget that was originally left out to fund three new positions at the Traverse City Fire Department. The actual hiring of those positions, however – as well as two new positions of a second assistant city manager and a utilities engineer – will be contingent on future city commission approval.
Commissioners Monday also approved contracts for several improvement projects on city properties. Among those is a nearly $79,000 contract with Team Elmer’s to repair the damaged parking lot at West End Beach, a portion of which has been closed for several years due to high water damage. Commissioners also voted to approve a contract for just over $140,000 with Team Elmer’s for site work and nearly $59,000 with Sinclair Recreation for playground equipment at Indian Woods Park. Finally, the board approved an authorization agreement with The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay granting permission for the nonprofit to access city properties along Kids Creek for work as part of a corridor restoration project. The agreement will allow Watershed staff to remove invasive vegetation.Comment