HOLLAND, MICH. - The city of Holland is expanding its snowmelt system out of its downtown area and into the neighborhoods.
With construction in full force on Central Avenue, it feels like a typical summer day in mid September. However, the conversation about winter costs is already heating up.
Neighbor, Jon Myers, is getting ready for his first ever snowmelt bill. It's because of the city's decision to expand the system from downtown into this neighborhood.
However, he says unlike downtown businesses, he doesn't need foot traffic.
"Increased foot traffic doesn't bring us more money, it brings us more noise, more trash, more dog crap," Myers says.
City leaders say the project will double the size of the snowmelt system.
"We've heard positive thoughts about, 'Gosh, I won't have to shovel my driveway,' to thoughts like, 'I'm the corner, and I'm going to have two sidewalks that means I get charged twice,'" said Ryan Cotton, the Holland city manager.
This year, the snowmelt cost is expected rise more than usual. City leaders say on an average year, it increases 4-5 percent.
"This year it's 8 percent, that's a little bit more primarily because of the maintenance that was done on the system," says Cotton.
City leaders say on average, the snowmelt bill for property owners on Central Avenue will be around $200, but that's based on frontage. Myers expects to be paying more.
"I don't have any value in this sidewalk being snow-melted, for 450 bucks I'd rather snow blow it," Myers said.
Myers hopes there's time to negotiate the price before winter hits.
City leaders say property owners will be billed for the snowmelt system in February.
They say a $500,000 donation sparked the expansion on Central Avenue. The donors wanted snowmelt for residents at "Evergreen Commons," which is a community center for older adults.
We've also learned that the city is considering expanding snowmelt to the waterfront and to the Hope College campus in future years.
(© 2016 WZZM)