Escanaba targets weeds in marina

ESCANABA – Funding for a second year of chemical weed control at the Escanaba Marina was approved by city council during its regular meeting Thursday.

Council approved the retainment of PLM Lake and Management Corp., of downstate Caledonia, to treat the marina basin with a herbicide at a cost not to exceed $15,605.

The costs of services could be less, depending on the new weed growth observed in the spring, said Harbor Master Larry Gravatt, explaining PLM will also apply for the 2013 permit from the Department of Environmental Quality.

Gravatt told council the pellet herbicide worked well and boaters were pleased with the weed control conducted in the harbor last year. The herbicide treatment helped get rid of the invasive weeds in the marina and also helped prevent the spread of the invasive species to other waters, he added.

In past years, the weeds were harvested in the marina because they would get caught in boat propellers. Following application of the herbicide, the invasive plants were controlled but a couple native species became a problem and did have to be harvested this season, said Gravatt.

In other business, council approved hiring Bugle Contracting of Cornell to trim trees near city power lines at an amount not to exceed $10,000 as budgeted.

Council set public hearings for Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and March 21 to allow public input on the city’s upcoming 2013-14 budget. Two additional public hearings will be scheduled as required by law.

Council officially approved the installation of two additional stop signs at the intersection at 1st Avenue South and South 26th Street. During public comment, two residents thanked council and Escanaba Public Safety for making the intersection a four-way stop.

City Controller Mike Dewar, sitting in for the city manager, presented council with an update on the sale of the power plant. The purchaser, Escanaba Green Energy, continues to finalize its loan with its lender and is hopeful the sale can be finalized by next week’s joint meeting of council and the Electrical Advisory Committee, said Dewar.

EGE is buying the coal-fueled plant for $1.6 million and is in the process of acquiring a $30 million loan to purchase the property and convert the facility to burn biomass. The city is selling the plant because it is less costly to buy power compared to generating its own electricity by burning coal.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,