Snowmelt costs to rise

The price of having sidewalks clear of snow and ice in downtown Grand Haven may soon double.
Alex Doty
Jun 3, 2013


City leaders are considering raising the cost from the $6.38 per frontage foot along Washington Avenue that was in place this past winter. City Manager Pat McGinnis said $12.26 per foot is recommended.

“It is significantly more per property, but it is the cost you pay to run the system,” he said.

Snowmelt operation is a partnership between the city, the city's Main Street Downtown Development Authority and the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power.

According to officials, when the city set up the system, City Council’s intent was to have the beneficiaries of the system be responsible for its ongoing costs.

The capital cost of the system was covered by a bond and a special assessment. Downtown property owners pay a special assessment on their taxes each year to cover the $500,000 for project capital costs, which is about $6 million.

McGinnis said that the operational cost of the system for the winter of 2010-11 was covered as a project expense. Last year, the city billed for energy use only — a little more than $33,000 minus a $20,000 allocation agreed upon as the value of city crews no longer having to shovel snow from downtown sidewalks.

The city estimated the snowmelt cost $45,412 this past winter. Subtracting the same $20,000 credit for city crews no longer picking up snow, the city is left with $25,412 to be spread amongst all private property owners with frontage on Washington Avenue.

“It’s a very expensive thing to operate,” City Councilman Mike Fritz said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Well I didn't see that coming (end sarcasm)


I thought the heat energy used to melt the snow and ice was from waste heat from the power plant!

How can that price go up?

Otherwise, its just dumped in the Grand River!


Did each of the new businesses that are coming into the downtown area have any say on this? I see this as an attraction for shoppers (Maybe) but something that will send potential businesses elsewhere. Lets double the cost...H'mmm Something smells here.

Say no to new taxes

First the Grand Landing fiasco and now this. Any more bright ideas?


haha, Grand Landing, what an oxymoron.

Did they have to be cited to finally cut the grass of the 'Official Entrance' to Grand Haven?


Did anyone noticed that we dug up the bricks again on Washington and Harbor Dr. I don't see the City of Holland having issues with their bricks in years past... Sounds like the wrong people on the job whether its the City of Grand Haven or the Construction Company.


Crazy. Is this a surprise. While the concept of a snow melt system seems pretty cool, I have noticed that downtown at Christmas time the last couple of years does not seem as festive. Instead of snowy white, it is generally dingy grey. (By the way, I understand that street snow is not always pure white and sometimes there is no snow at all at Christmas time.)


I would like to see the city's itemized cost 'estimate' they did themselves. Can we get a professional outside auditor in here?

Maybe they should expand the system past their own building.

Hmmm...This waste product could be very profitable if sold to heat the local bike paths and charge the homeowners per foot! (JUST KIDDING)


This was an idiotic idea when first proposed. Not as idiotic as replacing stop lights with the worst traffic management device known to man, the 4-way stop, but right up there near the top for sure.
Of course we all know that the height of the shopping season in downtown Grand Haven is in January and February right? I was always told that the dutch faction were extremely tight with their money and didn't subscribe to the old adage "a fool and his money is soon parted".


You said it all with your first sentence. It should have stopped in the discussion stages.


In terms of the Grand Landing project and latest downtown upgrades, weren't any of the initial planning stages made public? Were residents barred from coming to council meetings, making comments, or offering input? Have there been no elections in the ensuing years where residents could have made their feelings known?


Ahhh, I wish I was that naive to think my input would've made a difference. I have offered input in the past, been thanked for that input and then summarily dismissed with "We feel our decision to move forward is the right choice for our city". Bottom line is they're gonna do what they want to do unless there is a huge outcry and most folks don't have time to police what these "visionaries" decide is best for the rest of us.
I've lived here since 1977 and the removal of the stop lights to be replaced by 4 way stops is without a doubt the stupidest decision I've even seen made by the city fathers. What person with more than a single digit I.Q. would think that was a good idea? It's a free-for-all down there nowadays and at it's worst during tourist time.


This is a tempest in a teapot; the system will be an historical artifact once global warming really descends upon us.


Its just about time for someone to be fired. You think they would spend their own money on this jackassery??? I highly doubt it... Someone would be in trouble by now. I'm really thinking its about time for some new city management and city council members. These people work for us tax payers. See the City of Holland has many wealthy families that have donated monies over the years for downtown projects. Grand Haven really does not have that luxury....its our tax money being wasted.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.