City Manager's Desk
Each year I try to send all an update on what has been
going on in the City of Caspian. Our fiscal year
ends in June so our new budget year, 2007/2008, begins
on July 1st. The Caspian revenue picture remains
about the same as in past years. The incoming
revenue is pretty much the same each year, but expenses
keep creeping upward; thus the challenge to effectively
manage the budget comes into play. City
energy/utility/fuel costs, medical insurance premiums,
and maintenance costs for our Public Works equipment are
the main culprits. All of you are pretty much aware of
what is happening in the first two areas i.e.,
energy/utility/fuel costs and medical insurance
premiums, while I attribute much of our escalating
maintenance costs in Public Works to our aging equipment
fleet. Our trucks run well, but require continual
maintenance and repair. In any event, these areas
will require continued scrutiny and managing in the
Grants continue to be our mainstay.
We have and continue to be the recipient of many grants.
Grants are not free, but they enable us to stay away
from incurring any more forms of long term debt and the
like. Grants typically require a cash match (15 to 25%
of total project cost) or an "In Kind" services match which
can be contributed in the form of cash dollars,
equipment an/or labor. Work will begin soon toward
development of our fishing quarry park in Old Caspian.
We will construct a pavilion, floating pier on the
quarry, picnic tables, grills, in this area adjacent to
the land point between the two ponds. Work on this
project will be completed this year. Also, work
will begin soon on Phase II of our main sewer line
rehabilitation project at Spring Valley Drive, West
Railroad Street, and 1st Street. This project involves
about two blocks of residential area. Affected
homeowners in this area will also be required to replace
their sewer line laterals no later than one year after
this Phase II project completion date. This project,
too, was a grant award. If these grants continue
in the future, it will allow us to do additional main
sewer line rehabilitation, on a piecemeal basis, as all
of our main sewer lines will need replacement in the
years ahead. Many of you are probably wondering
just what is going on in the old Buck Mine area.
The State of Michigan , via contractor U.P.
Environmental Services, is cleaning up and restoring the
various ponds and wetlands in that area which, over the
years, have accumulated much undesirable type run off
from the mine that operated there years ago. These
ponds are being dredged, dried, and the residual is
being hauled to an appropriate land fill for disposal.
This is a state grant project and is not costing
the city a penny for this major clean up effort. This
project is expected to go on through most of the 2007
calendar year before the completion targets are
achieved. The city has yet another grant pending
which involves extension of the Apple Blossom
Walking/Biking trail eastward to the Gaastra city
limits. This project will, in all probability, not
begin until early 2008. We continue to seek alternatives
on how to curb the dust problems on the main ORV trail
which runs through Caspian, basically, along County Road
424. Presently, that project is on hold due to
the intense discussions with the Michigan DNR which have
taking place. The city has a difference in opinion with
the DNR as to what type of material we can use to
correct the dust control problem. We have again applied
this year for a Homeland Security fire truck grant to
replace our older back up truck. We have had much
past success with these type of grants, and I am please
to say our firefighters are well equipped with some of
the best personal and safety gear available.
I continue to work with our Mayor and
City Commissioners on how we can increase our tax base.
Sale of lots for new homes continues to be high on our
priority list, and we will need to be much more creative
as to how we market these lots. Marketing the fact
that we have an Industrial Park in Caspian is another
high priority area. The Iron County Museum
continues to do well, and all of us should be proud to
have them in Caspian. The same is true with the
Iron Amateur Hockey Association and all of the fine work
that this dedicated hockey group performs at the Hockey
arena and Multi Purpose building. The Community
Center continues to attract youth from all over the
area. Certainly, the new playground equipment at
that location has been a welcomed addition. More and
more people are using the Apple Blossom walking and bike
trail, 12 months throughout the year. I am also working
closely with our neighboring cities to see how we can
work together more closely than ever in providing needed
city services especially if dollars are there to be
saved. The cemetery is one area that immediately
comes to mind.
Lastly, there are ways in which you can
help us to help you. Living in Caspian has it
advantages, but there are times when some of us could do
more. Over the past twelve months we have been
experiencing problems in certain areas. I have
listed these major shortcomings below in hopes more of
you could work with me in correcting same:
* Blight in our yards is an
issue in many cases. Yards are no places for abandoned
cars, old appliances, household junk, tires, and the
like. If this applies to you, clean up before you are
cited or fined. I have instructed our Police department
* Put garbage out in tightly
sealed containers the morning of pick up, not the
evening before. This will help keep garbage from getting
inadvertently spread all over the city due to animals,
wind, etc. Until pickup, household garbage should be
secured and stored where it is not visible to everyone
in the neighborhood.
* Speed and reckless driving of 4
wheelers is a continuing problem in Caspian. Parents
need to oversee this matter, closely, with their
children. If this cannon be corrected soon, it is
conceivable we will consider banning operation of these
vehicles anywhere in the city. The Police
department has been instructed to be more aggressive in
policing this shortcoming.
* Vandalism continues to be a
problem here. The City of Caspian is a Community Watch
neighborhood. If you see vandalism or a crime in
progress, report it immediately by calling 911.
You do not have to give your name to do same.
* Get involved with your city.
When is the last time you came to a city meeting to find
out what is going on and how you could help? Ever
consider joining one of our various committees?
Hopefully, this small update letter will give
one and all a better idea of what is going on in
Caspian, and what you can do to help us in the future.
Community pride is a must for all of us so take part in
same. As the tightening of budgets throughout the city
and state gets even tighter in the years ahead, it will
make our jobs of managing our funds even more critical.
No one wants to pay more taxes or have higher utility
bills, certainly not me. By giving us your support
and cooperation in the future we will keep such measures
to a minimum. I promise!!
Lastly, on behalf of our mayor and city
commissioners, please accept my best wishes for all that
is good in life. I hope you will feel free to contact
the Mayor, any of our city commissioners, or me in the
city hall if you have any questions at all at any time.
Best Personal Regards,
Richard L. Frighetto, City Manager