2013-11-27 / News

Croswell downtown back in business for holidays

BY MARGARET WHITMER
reporter

It’s been a long haul, but Croswell’s downtown restoration is wrapping up, just in time for Christmas.

The new water and sewer lines are in, sidewalks and asphalt have been laid and road striping will be completed this week, said City Administrator Sam Moore.

Installation of new lighting is beginning, with about half to be completed by Nov. 29.

?Our goal is to have the east side of the street completely lit up for the Christmas parade,” he said.

The start of this year’s Christmas parade has been pushed back an hour to 6:30 p.m., to give people more time to finish dinner. But early birds still can arrive at 5:30 p.m. to enjoy the hot cocoa stands and s’mores.

?We want to get people back downtown and walking around,” said Moore.

The council also approved bringing Santa’s reindeer to town, along with Santa himself.

The reindeers’ visit was very popular last year, but was in doubt, as the Parks and Recreation Committee didn’t think they could afford to bring them all the way from the North Pole.

The city council approved additional funding to make sure Santa’s trusty sleigh pullers would be well fed and cared for and housed in front of the Community Center again this year.

Some changes of note: Parking has been eliminated across from the Croswell United Methodist Church, which was in the original construction plan.

Also, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires a minimum sidewalk width of five feet. Croswell’s new sidewalks are slightly wider than that, to ensure the convenience of pedestrians.

?It shouldn’t make it more difficult for road traffic,” he said.

In other business, an auditor for Berthiaume & Co., Saginaw, reviewed the annual audit with the council.

The city ended the 2012- 2013 fiscal year with total revenues of $7,208,422 and total expenditures of $6,660,872 on June 30. The audit showed $547,550 in excess revenue over expenses for the year.

The auditor’s discussion and analysis stated the city continues to maintain positive fund balances in each of its funds.

“However, concerns arise when considering the revenues and expenses that the city is facing in upcoming years,” stated the audit report. “The major sources of revenue for the city are property taxes, stateshared revenues and charges for services. These sources have certain limitations outside of the city’s control -taxable value of property in the city has remained relatively flat, resulting in small increases in property taxes; the State of Michigan has experienced budget deficits and has reduced revenue sharing payments to local governments to help in reducing their deficit; the economy has restricted the city in what it can charge its customers. In comparision, certain expenses continue to rise at a rate higher than inflation, such as insurance, utility costs and gasoline expenses.”

Council also:

Approved paying carrying charges to DTE Energy for use of their power lines. As of Jan. 1, Croswell Light & Power will buy its wholesale electricity from CMS Energy, but still must pay carrying charges to DTE for the use of their grid.

Gave a thumb’s up to new city administrator Sam Moore at his six-month review. Moore was hired last April.

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