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City Blog

Mar 26

Republic / Waste Management updates

Posted on March 26, 2021 at 3:05 PM by Jessica VanderKolk

Dear neighbors,

We have a huge transition coming next week – no fooling. On April 1 we switch to Republic Services for our curbside garbage, recycling, and yard waste service. We had a contract with Waste Management for many years. We know this is a big change for all of us!

We have some updates to share, based on questions you have asked. We appreciate those. We hope these answers help you.

Republic Services logo with blue background


  • Some of you have watched neighbors receive new recycling carts, or rental garbage/yard waste carts, and you did not. We found our recycling database was not complete. We missed getting 500 of you into that database. If you signed up before Feb. 26, you can expect your carts by the end of next week. Republic will deliver from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this Sunday, too. We are sorry for this mistake.

  • If you signed up for Republic carts after Feb. 26, expect those in mid-April. You still have garbage service in the meantime. You can place bags of garbage at the curb. We recommend doing that by 6 a.m. on your service day, so they sit out for less time before pick-up.

  • We hand-delivered door hangers to about 2,000 of you whose pick-up day will change. If you want to double-check, our interactive map is updated with Republic days and routes. See it by clicking here. You can also access it at

  • If you rent carts from Republic, you can expect the bills by mail after April 15. The bill is for the year, April 1 to March 31.

  • Once we reach April 1, call Republic for missed pick-ups and other needs at 888-249-5112. We know when you call this number now, you might receive a frustrating or inaccurate answer. Republic will not have our account active with customer service until April 1. We know this is frustrating, but we are working with it the best we can.

Waste Management

  • We have heard from multiple neighbors that the cart collection vendor has dumped trash from the carts without picking it up. We are checking into this. Thanks for telling us.

  • We know some of you have received new bills that are confusing. Waste Management told us they generated those bills when you paid past-due balances. This is why they reference resuming service. Please contact WM directly to handle these, at 866-797-9018.

Thank you for your continued patience during this transition. Please know we are working hard to answer your questions, and make this move as smooth as possible.

Have a great weekend,

Your city team

Feb 10

Winter water main breaks not uncommon

Posted on February 10, 2021 at 4:14 PM by Jessica VanderKolk

As we enter the February part of winter in southwest Michigan, neighbors have noticed that we have reported multiple water main breaks in a short period of time.

Most of the time - and this is true now - the fluctuating temperatures cause water main breaks. This is why we see an increase in the number of breaks during winter months.

The freezing temperatures drive the frost into the ground, causing the soil to move. When we experience temperatures warming and cooling throughout the winter, this process can happen over and over, causing additional breaks as the soils press on the pipes.

Sometimes we need to issue a boil water advisory once crews repair a main break. This depends on the repair; if the crew has to drain the water main or experiences negative water pressure, they will issue a boil advisory. These situations could allow bacteria into the system, so a boil advisory is always a precaution in this scenario. Typically, in 24 hours, we can cancel those advisories.

Once crews complete a repair, they typically release air from the water system by flushing nearby fire hydrants. However, you might see some air release from your faucet, because it can become trapped in home service pipes before crews flush it out.

You can sign up to receive text and/or email alerts related to our water system. Visit, and sign up for Water System Information under the Alerts category.

For home water tips to prevent freezing pipes, take a look at our Winter Water Check-in.

Two men in work vests and hard hats stand next to hole in street, with excavator nearby

Jan 20

City-owned vacant lots

Posted on January 20, 2021 at 12:04 PM by Jessica VanderKolk

A neighbor asked us about vacant, city-owned lots during a recent City Commission meeting, so here is some information about those, for everyone's benefit.

We currently have 725 vacant city properties. "Vacant" means the lot doesn't have any structures, like water towers or lift stations, but it does include parks and parking lots. If the lot is not used for a public purpose, we assess and place a value on the parcels.

Of those properties that are not exempt, the proposed 2021 state equalized value is $685,060.

How we sort city-owned parcels:
  • Can be listed with a real estate agent
  • Should be maintained for development opportunities
  • Can be turned into side lots
  • Should be considered to give to the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority, due to the amount of surrounding land, and/or little or no private ownership in the area
Over the last six or seven years, we have used inquiries, bulk direct mail notices of availability, and a lot sale event to remove about 300 city taxable parcels from that list. Lot sales have been on hold since because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have a handful we are working to process.

We planned a bulk mailing last spring, to seek interest on parcels we designated as side lot opportunities, and planned to list others with a real estate agent. Unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted those plans.

Depending on staff capacity, we hope to pursue the sale of taxable vacant lots in 2021.

Grassy, empty lot with a sidewalk at the lower left corner