BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman City Council on Monday approved new rules for charitable solicitation in the roadway and set in motion a new ordinance to ban dogs on Weko Beach, though access to the nearby dog beach at Warren Dunes State Park will be maintained.
The new solicitation ordinance limits solicitation by charitable and civic groups to only Lake and Church streets. This intersection was recently equipped with flashing four-way stop signs. The new rule also limits solicitors to 16- and 17-year-olds with written parental permission and adult supervision, and requires $500,000 liability insurance by the sponsoring organization.
Also on Monday, City Attorney Sara Senica was asked to prepare an ordinance prohibiting dogs on Weko Beach throughout the year, with the exception of the path to the adjacent dog beach at Warren Dunes. There was some discussion of extending the Weko boardwalk the short distance to the state park beach.
“Bridgman is a dog-friendly city. We even have a bar that allows dogs and a dog park and provide doggie bags along the street,” said council member Jan Trapani.
Council Member Rick Fuller said he thinks enforcement needs to be consistent. Senica noted that current city ordinances are inconsistent about the matter. He feels the new year-round ban will make it easier for the police to enforce the rule. It also will eliminate potentially dangerous rescues from water or icy surfaces.
In other business, Director of Public Services Tim Kading reviewed the conclusions of the Water Asset Management Program that set the stage for a $3.25 monthly water rate increase for the 93 percent of users who are served by 5/8-inch meters. Higher increases will be seen by customers using larger meters.
“We have to do something. We can’t push this under the rug any longer,” said Mayor Vince Rose, referring to the rate increase.
Fuller said he would like to see all the proposed rate increases being considered, including water, sewer and garbage disposal, presented as a total package for communicating to residents. City Manager Juan Ganum said his goal is to have a complete package of rate increases and reasons for them the January issue of “Community Buzz.”
According to Kading, the increases, which will total about $40,000 per year, are needed to cover the future maintenance identified by the Water Asset Management Program to ensure a secure supply of safe, high-quality water to meet current and future demand.