Consumers Energy To Set Up Office In Muskegon Heights City Hall

Andrew Trzaska | January 7, 2013

Consumers Energy will move some of its local operations into Muskegon Heights’ City Hall, a plan discussed at the city council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday.

City manager Natasha Henderson’s discussed the lease at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

“We’re very excited about this. It didn’t take us very long to work through this contract.”

Henderson also indicated that she found it “important to still have a [Consumers Energy] presence in the city.”  Consumers Energy is in the process of moving most of its county presence to a new facility off of Sternberg Road in Norton Shores. The utility is still set to shut down its current service center in Muskegon Heights on Wood Street.

The presence at city hall will be customer service offices – not electrical or mechanical operations.  City residents will now be able to directly pay both their water/sewer and electric bills in city hall, albeit to different entities.

Consumers Energy will pay the City of Muskegon Heights $8.00 per square foot on a 1469 foot space on the north side of the building – the left corridor if one enters the main door. The city manager’s office, water and sewer and city clerk’s office occupy the south hall. On top of the $8, Consumers will pay a blended rate of $2.00 per square foot for all utilities and an extra 75 cents per square foot for snow removal, lawn mowing, trash and janitorial services.

This works out to $1,315.98 a month for the first year, or about $15,800, but this value will rise by about $200 per year, as the base rent will increase by 16 cents per square foot per year. In year 5, yearly rent will reach $16,760.49.

The lease will be renewable in one-year periods, and will be signed following a vote by the full council next Monday; all signs point to a smooth passage, as the vote to bring it out of committee was unanimous.

Blueprints obtained from the City of Muskegon Heights indicate there would be minor construction to accommodate the energy company’s presence, including a reworking of walls to create an enclosed suite of rooms, an exterior night deposit box, sanitary pipes, doors, and an exterior walkway. She stated that the work will be mostly done on weekends and will take less than two months.

The utility company’s move inside the building will force the relocation of the inspections department to the planning department’s current space. Henderson stated the move was logical, as both department work hand in hand on many things.

“It is definitely a good thing,” said Henderson.

Consumers Energy is set to start their construction work and move into the facility within the calendar year.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst