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By law, the only time you may appeal you assessment is at the March Board of Review meeting, which is held the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday following the second Monday in March. After you receive the Change of Assessment notice you may contact the City Assessor’s Department at 269-329-4433 to schedule an appointment; or send a letter of appeal, including the Michigan Department of Treasury Form L-4035 - Petition to Board of Review (PDF), which is available at the Office of the City Assessor. Send to:7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property’s estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair.
You may appeal when you can prove at least one of three things:
State law provides the next level of appeal at the Michigan Tax Tribunal. A letter of appeal on residential property must be sent to the Tribunal:PO Box 30232Lansing, MI 48909
The deadline for commercial appeals is May 31st and the deadline for residential appeals is July 31st.
State law provides for one time per year to protest the value of your property. That protest may be made at the March Board of Review only.
Fill out the property record form, and submit it to our office for review. You may be contacted by a staff member from the Office of the City Assessor if there are questions concerning the information about your property. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the City Assessor at 329-4433 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost all of the information in the Assessor’s Office is public record. The amount paid in taxes is also public record and it is available on the City of Portage website. Access the Assessor’s tax lookup site and to look up information by name, address or parcel number. Square footage and 2022 values are available. 2023 values will not be posted online until the roll has been reviewed and confirmed following the March Board of Review. Preliminary information is available at the Office of the City Assessor beginning February 2023.
The Assessor is responsible for estimating the value of your property, which determines your assessed valuation. The Assessor does not determine your property taxes. Instead, the assessed valuation determines the overall share of taxes you pay. Because your assessment affects your property taxes, it is important that your assessed value be accurate and fair. It is also important that you understand how the value of your property is estimated and what can cause property values to change.
To change your email address, you need to send a written request by fax 269-324-8073, email or regular mail to:7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
OR use the fillable form under the Property Tax Forms tab, named Address Change Form.
This will change the address for both assessments and taxes. It will not, however, change the water billing address. You must contact the Portage Treasury Office at 269-329-4455 separately, unless using the on-line fillable form.
The State Tax Commission recommends using a period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020. This is considered to be a 24-month study.
The State Tax Commission recommends using a period from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021. This is considered to be a 24-month study.
The State Tax Commission recommends using a period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022. This is considered to be a 24-month study.
The Assessor estimates the value of your property typically by first examining and collecting information on the physical characteristics of the property. Physical characteristics can include, among others:
A property's value can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property changes: a bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of a change in value is a change in the market.
State Equalized Value (SEV): 50% of Market Value or True Cash Value, commonly referred to as your property assessment.
Capped Value (CV) has the formula of: Previous year’s Taxable Value minus Losses (physical changes to the property) times the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5%; whichever is less, plus Additions (physical changes to the property), (TV-Losses x CPI (5%) + Additions = CV).
Taxable Value (TV) is the value upon which property taxes are based. TV is the Lesser of State Equalized Value (SEV) or Capped Value (CV). TV in the year following a transfer of ownership (sale, gift inheritance, etc.) is equal to the SEV.
The simple answer is that it is against the law. MCL 211.27 states that the purchase price is no longer the presumptive True Case Value of a property. The assessment may be close to 50% of the purchase price but the property SEV is determined by investigating the other sales in the vicinity of the property. All of the SEV in the vicinity of the property is set using that sales study.
Sale prices going down in the neighborhood will not be reflected immediately in your assessment. The State allows for a two year sales study and an optional one year sales study. In inflationary times, a two year study helps the taxpayer because sales used are older and therefore lower in value. In deflationary times, a one year sales study helps the taxpayer because it reflects the more recent sales.
The City of Portage has used one year sales studies for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The City used two year sales studies for 2014-2022.
The homestead exemption is more correctly known as the Principal Residence Exemption (PRE). The qualifications are simple; you must own and occupy the home as your principal residence on or before June 1st. A person or a married couple is allowed only one PRE in the state. You may not claim an exemption in any other state. The exemption continues until the use of the home as your principal residence changes.
When the change occurs, you must notify the Assessor’s Department in writing. Proposal A and state law does not allow for partial credit. As an example, even if you move into a non-homestead property on June 5th, the exemption does not begin until the following year. Recent legislation has allowed the granting of a second homestead in certain conditions. The “Conditional Rescission” is available when the previous homestead is not occupied or rented and is listed for sale. Please contact the Assessing Department at 269-329-4433 if you think you qualify for the additional exemption.
In March 1994, voters approved a new system for funding schools known as Proposal A. It led to three key changes:
A very comprehensive report of Proposal A is provided by the State of Michigan here: SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM IN MICHIGAN PROPOSAL A: RETROSPECTIVE
Yes, we have plots available in both Central and South Portage Cemetery although space in Central Cemetery is limited.
Generally, we arrange an appointment with our cemetery sexton who will meet you at the cemetery with a detailed map to review available plots. You will then make payment and complete the paperwork at the Office of the City Clerk at:
7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
The cost covers not only the plot and/or opening and closing the grave, but helps in the perpetual care and maintenance of our cemeteries.
A Solicitor’s Permit (PDF) is required for any individual or organization that takes orders for the sale of goods, wares and merchandise or other personal property for future delivery or for services to be furnished or performed in the future. You may turn this form into the City Clerk's office.
To obtain permission to hold a neighborhood block party an individual must make a request in writing to the City Clerk. The request must include the date of the event, time frame, contact person and exact location of the event (including names of cross streets). Additionally, the neighborhood must abide by the following:
Barricades are available upon request from the Department of Streets and Equipment at 329-4444. View the Block Party page for more information.
Liquor licenses must have a specific property associated with them before the application process may commence. File an application with the City of Portage along with a fee of $850, and file an application with the State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission along with an inspection fee of $70. There are other fees charged by the state depending on the type of license(s) being sought and services being provided. The State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission has a listing of all Class C liquor licenses available in the County which is what you will need to serve alcohol in your place of business.
You may transfer a license into Portage from another municipality, and some licenses can be found in escrow. Liquor licenses are a commodity and have a market price associated with them, and the State currently offers Class C Licenses for $20,000 if locating within a Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Resort Licenses for qualified applicants are also available. The only DDA in Portage is located generally along Westnedge Avenue north of I-94 and south of Kilgore Road. You may call the Michigan State Liquor Control Commission for further information at 517-322-1400.
Liquor licenses must have a specific property associated with them before the application process may commence. File an application with the City of Portage, and file an application with the State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission along with an inspection fee of $70. There are other fees charged by the state depending on the type of license(s) being sought and services being provided.
The State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission has a listing of all Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) liquor licenses available in the County. You may transfer a license into Portage from another municipality, and some licenses can be found in escrow. Liquor licenses are a commodity and have a market price associated with them.
The State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission has a listing of all Specially Designated Distributor (SDD) liquor licenses available in the County. You may transfer a license into Portage from another municipality, and some licenses can be found in escrow. Liquor licenses are a commodity and have a market price associated with them.
Voters may register in person or by mail up to 14 days prior to an election. You may register to vote at the Office of the City Clerk or any Michigan Secretary of State Branch Office. You may also register to vote by mail.
Voters may also register within 14 days of an election, up to and including Election Day, only through the following:
By law, voters must be 30-day residents of a jurisdiction to be qualified to vote in that jurisdiction.
No, you do not have to register each time. Registration is permanent as long as you continue to live in the city or township where you are registered.
You can register online at the Michigan Voter Information Center. You can also register at any of the 131 Secretary of State Offices, the office of your local city or township clerk, the office of your county clerk and other state offices.
Yes, you must mail a completed voter registration application postmarked on or before 14 days prior to the next election you wish to vote in. If you have never registered to vote in Michigan and choose to mail in your application, you will need to verify your identity by including the following:
All registered voters are eligible to vote via absentee ballot. Ballots may be obtained via postal mail until 5 p.m. the Friday before an election. Ballots may also be requested in person directly at the Office of the City Clerk up until 4 p.m. the Monday before an election - however, any ballots requested the day before the election must be voted immediately at City Hall.
The City Clerk’s Office cannot automatically send ballots to voters. Per Michigan state law, in order to issue an absentee ballot we must have a written request from the voter that is specific for that election.
No. Election law allows for only the registered voter to obtain a ballot. However, you may pick up an application for an absentee ballot for your spouse and you can deliver a voted ballot of any member of your immediate family or any a member of your household.
No - election law specifically states that power of attorney does not apply for voting purposes.
Any voter may ask to be placed on the Permanent Absentee Ballot Application List. Being on the Permanent List means the City Clerk’s Office will send a date-specific absentee ballot application to you prior to every election. In order to get a ballot, a voter on the permanent list must sign and return the absentee ballot application for that election.
Voters must ask to be on the list. The City Clerk’s Office cannot put voters on the permanent list without a request from the voter. You can call the Office at 269-329-4511 or email a request to email@example.com.
Being on the permanent list does not guarantee a ballot for every election. Rather, it means that you will automatically receive an application for an absentee ballot. The application must be completed and returned to the Office of the City Clerk prior to receiving a ballot. If you returned a completed application already, your ballot may be in process or your application may have been lost in the mail. Please call the City Clerk's Office to verify at 269-329-4511.
Receiving an absentee ballot application does not obligate the voter to cast an absentee ballot for that election. If a voter receives an absentee ballot application but doesn’t want to vote in that particular election or wants to vote in person on Election Day, they can simply throw the form away (or shred it). If the voter does not return the request form there is no consequence to the voter’s registration status, their ability to vote in person on election day, their ability to request an absentee ballot for future elections, or their place on the permanent list.
To learn more about the tabulators and voter assist terminals used by Kalamazoo County, visit https://www.essvote.com/faqs/.
Signature requirements for mailed ballots allow election officials to verify a mailed ballot has been filled out by the correct voter. Signatures on file are compared with those on the envelope containing mailed ballots. Measures are in place to ensure ballots are as private as those completed at a polling booth. Mailed ballots are typically delivered to and picked up from the post office by two election office staff and transported in a secure container. These ballots are also processed by teams of election staff to ensure the integrity of the counting process.
Transparency is a critical part of election security. Almost all processes and procedures require two or more trained personnel be involved, and these election workers have taken an oath to uphold state election laws and protect election security. Representatives of political parties or candidates, and sometimes even members of the general public, are also allowed to observe and monitor activities throughout the election processes. Election officials also have contingency plans for emergencies like natural disasters and power loss.
Voting equipment is given logic and accuracy tests against a known set of marked ballots to ensure tabulators are counting ballots correctly. Post-election audits also ensure votes are counted correctly and procedures associated with transporting and securing ballots were followed throughout the election process. On election night, there are multiple sources of election results. Election data are reported by local jurisdictions, typically precinct by precinct, and these data are then uploaded to the county and state’s election reporting systems. This distributed system provides an archive of the results in addition to the hard copy, paper ballots in secure storage. If there is a problem with the reporting system, these archived copies can be used as backup.
After Election Day, each election jurisdiction engages in a canvassing process, where the entire election is reviewed. This canvass ensures that the number of voters recorded as having voted coincides with the number of ballots cast.
Citizens are encouraged to contact the City Manager with concerns or complaints about city services by calling Complaint Resolution at (269) 329-4404 or by visiting reportit.portagemi.gov.
The City Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city. The City Manager is the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Portage and oversees all city departments. The mission of the Office of the City Manager is to deliver superior city services and unsurpassed customer service to Portage citizens and business owners and to respond to the needs of the community. The City Administration carries out its mission under the direction of and on behalf of the Portage City Council.
The Portager newsletter is the official publication of the City of Portage used to inform residents of city services and events and city projects that have significance to Portage citizens. The Portager is published monthly. The Portager is mailed to all residences and businesses within the City of Portage. Read the most recent Portager newsletter and view the archive of past newsletters.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.
The main way people are exposed to these chemicals is by swallowing them. PFAS chemicals are sometimes found in drinking water and in cooking or food packaging products. PFAS can be swallowed along with the water or food, from there they can enter the bloodstream. Touching products made with PFAS or touching water that contains PFAS is not the main way people are exposed to these chemicals. The PFAS chemicals do not easily absorb into the skin. (Source: https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/)
The PFAS chemicals do not easily absorb into the skin. It is safe to bathe, as well as do your laundry and household cleaning. It is also safe to swim in and use water recreationally. Getting water with PFAS on your skin will not harm you. (Source: https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/)
Residents on municipal water have no risk of contamination in their drinking water as a result of this discovery. Municipal water in the City of Portage is continually analyzed, monitored and tested to ensure compliance with standards prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Out of an abundance of caution, the city tested 22 private wells in the close proximity of the former landfill. All results from this testing were found to be well under the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 PPT for PFOA + PFOS and under the proposed Michigan safe Drinking Water PFAS Standards. A Portage resident with concerns about contamination of a private well can contact the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department at (269) 373-5210.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a lifetime health advisory (LHA) level for two PFAS in drinking water: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The PFOA and PFOS LHA is the level, or amount, below which no harm is expected from these chemicals. The LHA level is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS individually or combined. The LHA, protective of everyone, especially pregnant women, young children, and the elderly. Currently, the EPA has not set health advisory levels for the other PFAS chemicals. (Source: https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/)
The first step is to contact the City of Portage Department of Community Development at (269) 329-4477. Connecting to City of Portage Municipal Water: http://www.portagemi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/160/Connecting-to-City-of-Portage-Water-PDF?bidId=
While the exact source of the contamination has not been determined, a landfill was operated at 9010 South Westnedge Avenue from the early 1950s through 1977. In 1978, the site began operating as a transfer station and recycling center. Materials were brought to the site, sorted and trucked to other area facilities.
In 1989, the City of Portage began a major groundwater cleanup effort, including groundwater recovery pumping. Efforts also began to connect downgradient residential properties from the landfill to Crockett Avenue to municipal water. In 1999, cleanup efforts were complete and the city began a comprehensive groundwater sampling and monitoring program, which continues today. All testing has been performed by a highly-qualified environmental consulting firm retained by the City of Portage, American Hydrogeology Corporation (AHC). With the emergence of PFAS across Michigan, the city began self-initiated and precautionary testing at the former landfill for PFAs in the spring of 2019. The city learned that there were concentrations of PFAS in the southwest corner of the site that exceeded drinking water health advisories. The city expanded the scope of testing, following accepted scientific protocols, to determine if the PFAS contamination was migrating off of the site.
The Michigan Construction Code Act 230 of 1972 was amended in 1999 to create the Stille-DeRossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act. This action created a single state building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical code for the State of Michigan. All communities within the state utilize the same construction code and standards which are updated on a three year cycle. The current construction codes include:
*Provisions for one- and two-family dwellings are included in the 2015 Michigan Residential Code.
Most construction projects require a building permit to ensure compliance with the Portage Zoning Code and Michigan Construction Codes. With regard to zoning requirements for one-family residential building projects, please review the One-Family Zoning Regulations (PDF) and the Lakefront Construction Guide on residential property (PDF). Before the construction, enlargement, alteration, moving or demolition of a building or structure, an owner, or the owner's builder, architect, engineer, or agent, shall submit an application for a building permit.
A permit is not required for ordinary repairs or maintenance. Ordinary repairs to structures do not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the exit requirements.
Click the following links to view the residential permits and the commercial permits.
A person shall not equip a building with electrical conductors or equipment or make an alteration of, change in, or addition to, electrical conductors or equipment without receiving a permit to do the work described. Work should not be started until a permit has been issued. Electrical permits are not required for the following:
Click the following links to view the Electrical Information Sheet and an Electrical Permit .
A plumbing permit is required for the erection, installation, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, conversion or replacement of any plumbing system regulated by the plumbing code. Work should not be started until a plumbing permit has been issued.
Plumbing permits are not required for the following:
Click the following links to view the Plumbing Information Sheet and a Plumbing Permit.
A mechanical permit is required for the erection, installation, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, conversion or replacement of a mechanical system governed by the mechanical code. Except for replacement of minor parts, mechanical work shall not be started until a permit for such work has been issued.
Mechanical permits are not required for the following:
Click the following links to view the Mechanical Information Sheet and a Mechanical Permit.
Yes. The State of Michigan allows two entities the authority to obtain a permit for a residential construction work: a contractor licensed by the State of Michigan or the homeowner if that is their place of residence and they will be performing the work.
Yes. Driveway permits are issued by the Department of Community Development. Please contact the Building Services Division at 269-329-4477 with questions. Permits to work in the public right of way are issued by the Department of Transportation and Utilities. Please contact the Transportation Division project manager at 269-329-4422 with questions.
A building permit will be required in the event that you wish to replace more that four sheets of decking (8x4) or any structural component during the roofing activity. No permit is required to remove and replace shingles only. Find information on how to obtain a residential building permit (PDF).
No permit is required for a seven-foot high or lower fence located on non-lakefront residential property. Consideration must be given, however to be sure that the new fence does not create a vision obstruction for vehicles or pedestrians. Specific rules apply to fencing in the rear (lakefront) yard for lakefront properties.
A sign permit application is required prior to the installation of a new wall sign, freestanding sign, directional sign, non-accessory billboard sign and for many temporary signs. In addition, changes to existing wall and freestanding sign faces require a sign permit prior to making sign modifications.
Click the following links for a Sign Permit with Electric or a Sign Permit without Electric.
The city permits businesses to operate from a home under certain circumstances. Find more information on the standards for Home Occupations and obtain a permit application (PDF). Contact and address information are on the Community Development Department page.
The city permits commercial outdoor promotional events under certain circumstances. Find more information on the standard for Business Special Events and obtain a permit application (PDF). Contact and address information are on the Community Development Department page.
Construction of all sheds require a building permit to determine compliance with the City of Portage Zoning Code and Michigan Residential Building Code. Review the following brochures for additional information. Guidelines for Accessory Buildings brochure (PDF) and How To Obtain A Residential Building Permit brochure (PDF).
Most construction projects require a building permit to ensure compliance with the Portage Zoning Code and Michigan Residential Building Code. With regard to zoning requirements for one-family residential building projects, please review One-Family Zoning Regulations (PDF).
The Department of Community Development provides a full range of services to the business community. If your business is contemplating a new or expanding facility in Portage, the Department of Community Development will provide the support needed to see your project through to completion.
To assure that your projects proceeds on schedule, a four step Development Review process is followed that begins with 1) Development Plan Approval, 2) Building Plan Approval, 3) Construction Inspections and finally 4) Final Occupancy Approval. The City of Portage Development Review Team is ready to work with your team through the four step process. The Development Review Team meets on a weekly basis to review ongoing projects that keeps work moving along in a timely manner. This comprehensive approach to planning and executing projects enables business owners to save time and minimize costs. Team members work with designers and builders to solve complex issues and ensure that project planning, zoning, engineering, utility and fire safety details are consistent with standards adopted by the City of Portage.
In business, time is money and it is important to know that the Department of Community Development is working expeditiously for you to provide a thorough, consistent and efficient process for the review and approval of your important project. For further information on the Development Review process, view our Guide to Development (PDF) or contact the Development Officer at 269-329-4474.
The City of Portage has several business incentives and innovative financing tools available to businesses with business (re)investment. These tools include:
The most commonly used business incentive is the Industrial Tax Abatement for eligible businesses. For further regarding the incentives and financing tools listed above, please contact the Department of Community Development at 269-329-4477.
Complete the City of Portage Contractor License Registration/Renewal Information form and provide it with a photocopy of your contractors license to the Department of Community Development. For convenience, the form can also be mailed or faxed.
The city offers assistance to income-eligible Portage home owners with emergency repairs and housing rehabilitation in order to maintain decent, affordable housing and to promote neighborhood quality. In addition, the city offers residents of Kalamazoo County assistance with the purchase of affordable houses within target Portage neighborhoods. Click on housing programs for more information.
The City of Portage Zoning Board of Appeals meets once per month to hear and act on applications for variances from the requirements of the Zoning Code. A review and consultation with staff can provide information regarding proposals for variances and is recommended prior to submitting an application. A Zoning Board of Appeals Application must be completed and submitted to the Department of Community Development for consideration by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The City of Portage Neighborhood Support Program seeks to improve the livability of Portage neighborhoods. Being a good neighbor and properly maintaining property in accordance with the City Codes is an important part of maintaining a high quality of life for those who work and live in our community. Click the following link to Report a neighborhood concern by address to the Department of Community Development. For additional information please the Housing & Neighborhood Services section.
Zoning is the primary tool used to regulate the use of land in most communities. Zoning classifies land uses into certain categories referred to zoning districts. Some uses are permitted by right while others, referred to as special land uses, require review and approval by the Planning Commission. The zoning districts are then geographically displayed on a map of the community areas determined appropriate for the various types of land uses. Each zoning district has its own set of regulations that control the intensity of development by regulating, for example:
Information regarding the zoning designation for all properties located within Portage city limits is available on the GIS/City Maps. Land uses permitted within specific districts are found in the Zoning Code. A review and consultation with staff can provide information regarding current and planned future land use for specific areas, which may help clarify potential uses within zoning districts, or if a potential change in zoning is feasible. View the City of Portage Comprehensive Plan (PDF) to learn about recommended future land uses throughout the city.
The best way to determine the exact location of property lines is to locate the property line markers (or monuments) that were installed at each property corner at the time the property was platted or surveyed. Property lines indicated on the City of Portage GIS/City Maps page are for reference purposes only and may not be precise in relation to structures on your property. It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that minimum setbacks from property lines are maintained according to zoning district regulations for new construction or alterations to existing structures.
To create a vibrant, beautiful and safe Lake Center District.
The Draft Lake Center District Corridor & Placemaking Study tackles Portage Road’s challenges, opportunity and illustrates the trade-offs that occur within the public right-of-way as we consider a variety of uses – and users. It shows what can be gained by rebalancing the right-of-way. It also shows how designing a corridor around people will best respond to stakeholder feedback, spur economic development and create a memorable place. The vision of a more attractive, multimodal Portage Road anchored by a vibrant Lake Center District for residents, businesses and visitors, is made clear in this plan, and provides the “why” for why the city should act to rebalance and re-envision Portage Road.
With this in mind, the plans seeks to connect and expand this new special place with placemaking activities, physical improvements, gateways, crosswalks, bike routes, boat docks, a lake-to-lake canal walk, and improved accessibility to, from, and throughout the District. A phased implementation plan for achieving these recommendations provides a blueprint for achieving these recommendations, and kicks off implementation with a 1-Year Action Plan.
The Lake Center District study area covers a nearly 2.5-mile length of Portage Road and adjacent businesses, communities, and development between East Centre Avenue and East Osterhout Avenue.
The study process included many opportunities for in-person and virtual public participation, information, and feedback. A wide range of stakeholder engagement tools were engaged to help shape the plan recommendations.
A Lake Center District Steering Committee comprised of area business owners, developers and residents was engaged by the city and consultant through the planning process, meeting several times in 2020 and 2021 to provide feedback and guidance on the study proposals.
Many public engagement activities and feedback opportunities were provided during the study process. The city has received public comments during the entire study process (February 2020-May 2021).
The infographic below illustrates public outreach efforts for this study “by the numbers.”
Review the draft study, related studies that informed and set the stage for the Lake Center District planning process, and submit your comments at: https://www.portagemi.gov/721/Lake-Center-District..
The Steering Committee was organized administratively. The City Council did not decide this. This is not uncommon for steering committees to be assembled administratively for projects such as these. Also, it is not uncommon to have representatives of the council or staff as part of the steering committee. This allows the city to see viewpoints from many different angles.
This was done administratively. The city wanted representatives who would be either directly or indirectly impacted. The city started with the Lake Center Business Association, which provided some names. Several individual recommendations were also made. The Steering Committee comprises business owners, developers, and residents of both West and Austin Lake.
The Steering Committee is comprised of businesses representatives and residents within the Lake Center District. The Steering Committee members can be found at https://www.portagemi.gov/791/LCD-Steering-Committee.
The financial priorities of the city can be reviewed at https://www.portagemi.gov/638/Financial-Documents.
There are a variety of strategic, financial, regulatory tools that can help make this plan a reality for the Lake Center District. Recently, the City Council allocated $6 million for improvements related to the Lake Center District. Depending on the project, funding can be leveraged via the Capital Improvement Program, the proposed Corridor Improvement Authority, commercial corridor redevelopment partnerships, and many other sources to support implementation steps.
The Draft Lake Center District Corridor and Placemaking Study provides a blueprint for how the Lake Center District might achieve its full potential as a community and destination within the City of Portage. The implementation phasing plan in the study outlines near-term opportunities and long-term capital planning for infrastructure projects. It also distinguishes between the implementation of placemaking or programming activities, and infrastructure improvements which are contingent on future decisions, approvals, design development, and funding commitments.
One-Year Action Plan - Comprises planned and budgeted activities for FY21-22 and low-hanging fruit opportunities to immediately activate and improve specific areas of the Lake Center District corridor.
Mid-Term Implementation (2-5 years) - Reflects projects and programming that can be planned, designed and implemented across a 2-5 year timeline. These may include placemaking and policy initiatives, and initial planning for infrastructure improvements.
Long-Term Implementation (5-10 years) - Reflects projects and design development that can be planned, engineered and implemented across a 5-10 year timeline. Planning and design development for these projects can occur in earlier years but coordination, funding sources and prioritization may necessitate longer implementation timelines.
Future Moves - Comprises ideas broached in this study that represent significant investments that will require standalone engineering analysis and cost estimate studies with funding commitments to reflect. These represent projects that may be 20 years in the making, but that are included in the vision for the future of the Lake Center District.
An implementation matrix is provided in Section 5.3 of the study, to summarize which projects solve the issues identified during the study, and proposed cost estimate ranges. The cost estimates included in this study were developed for planning purposes only. They are based on 2020 inputs provided by local realtors, the City Administration, staff, and consultants. Actual cost estimates can only be determined when all scopes of work are finalized, and are subject to contingencies and inflation.
The Lake Center District Corridor & Placemaking Study will not happen overnight. The plan sets the vision and serves as a blueprint for future investments. Infrastructure recommendations in the plan will follow standard project development processes (shown below). Many will require additional approvals and funding considerations by the City Council and City Administration. There is a One-Year Action Plan with key recommendations to advance in the first year. All other recommendations are phased, as outlined in the Implementation Phasing section of the study.
The Planning Commission is involved with the review and recommendation to the City Council of the annual Capital Improvement Program. Funding for certain investments within the study area will be contained within the Capital Improvement Program, others will not. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the FY21-31 ten-year Capital Improvement Program for capital improvement investments citywide, including investments within the study area.
Following the May 15 open house, the Council will bring the draft final study to a public hearing on July 13, 2021, where the public may provide feedback again. If the City Council accepts the study, the individual projects contained within the study will go through standard project development processes and typical budget and City Council approvals.
The master planning process for Lakeview Park is being led the Parks Department . Staff from the Parks department will be on site at the open house on May 15 to provide information on plans for the future of Lakeview Park. There is also cross-coordination of these efforts listed in the study.
The property is currently owned privately. Any development on this site would go through the city’s zoning and development review processes and approvals.
The images and renderings in this planning report are for conceptual and illustrative purposes, except where measurements are shown.
The city has no plans to use eminent domain to acquire property in the Lake Center District. However, if a property becomes available for sale, the city may consider purchasing that property.
At its regular meeting of July 13, 2021 at 7 PM, the City Council will consider accepting the Draft Lake Center District Corridor and Placemaking Study. This will involve a public hearing. If Council accepts the study, the City Administration will move forward in advancing the One-Year Action Plan outlined in the study. Projects will still need to go through the normal budgeting and Council approval processes and there will be ample time for public comments along the way.
Payments to vendors are batched and processed on a two week cycle.
The city offers free ACH electronic payments for any City of Portage vendor. Payments can be made directly to your financial institution and deposited in your account. Electronic deposits are made the same day that checks are mailed. Complete and submit the ACH Application Form (PDF) to receive ACH payments from the City of Portage. Payments to vendors are batched and processed on a two-week cycle.
Summer bills are mailed by the middle of July and are due September 14. Winter bills are mailed the day before Thanksgiving and are due February 14. Property owners always receive the original billing statement. If the property owner has an arrangement with a mortgage company to pay the property taxes, the mortgage company will receive a copy of the tax bill, provided the mortgage company requested a copy.
The Treasury Office, located in City Hall, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except legal holidays. The exact address is:7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
All Portage water/sewer customers receive billing statements quarterly. When your billing cycle is being billed, you should receive the billing statement before the 10th of the month. The billing statement is generally due the last business day of the month, but can vary slightly. If you don’t receive your utility bill before the 15th of the month, please contact the Treasury at 269-329-4455 for the amount owing and the due date of your bill.
Find related links to the Paperless Billing page and the Bill Payment Options page.
You can use a credit/debit card to pay at the City of Portage. These payments can be made in person at the Treasury counter, online through the City's Access website, or via phone 866-270-5701. These payments are processed through a third party, Point and Pay, who charges the customer $3.95 (for up to a $500 charge) for utility bills and charges a 3 percent fee on all other payments.
The city takes actual reads for each utility customer and bills for all the water consumed. For residential customers only, the city automatically provides a “lawn sprinkling allowance” that limits the sewer charges assessed. The “cap,” as it is known, is based on each customer’s “winter-quarter” water use, which is defined as the billing cycle which includes the month of January. The “cap” is automatically computed and applied to all residential customers and does account for water deemed to have not been added to the city’s sanitary sewer.
Credit/debit card payments can be made in person at the Treasury Office, located at the City of Portage City Hall 7900 S. Westnedge Avenue. To pay with a credit/debit card via phone call 844-943-3997 option 1 you must have your Utility account number or to pay via internet visit www.portagemi.gov and click on $ on the home page. Invoice Cloud (third party vendor) charges a processing fees for all credit/debit payments. The processing fee via online or in-person is $3.95 and payment via phone is $4.70. The maximum payment per transaction amount is $500.00.
All Portage water/sewer customers receive billing statements quarterly. When your billing cycle is being billed, you should receive the billing statement before the 10th of the month. The billing statement is generally due the last business day of the month, but can vary slightly. If you don’t receive your utility bill before the 15th of the month, please contact the Treasury at 269-329-4455 for the balance and the due date of your bill.
Find related links to the Paperless Billing page and the Bill Payment Options page.
The permit serves several purposes including providing a list of emergency contacts for the location; information about the company monitoring the alarm; for a business, hours of operation and locations of key boxes. There is no charge for this permit.
Permits do not expire and remain valid while the alarm system is in operation.
if the alarm monitoring service is stopped or restarted, a new permit must be requested.
If the Fire Division responds to a false alarm, the permit holder will receive a letter with a request for information regarding the cause of the false alarm and steps that have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence. This answer must be provided within 14 days. A response fee, set by the City Council, is assessed for more than one false alarm in a calendar year.
Recreational fires may be kindled only if a permit has been obtained. To receive a permit, contact the Portage Department of Public Safety - Fire Division at 269-329-4487 or visit Fire Station #1 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at: 7830 Shaver Road Portage, MI 49002
Burning of leaves or yard waste is prohibited by city ordinance. However, the Department of Streets and Equipment has regular leaf pickup and brush pickup programs.
The Department of Public Safety - Fire Division regularly provides fire station tours and public education events for school or community organizations. These are hosted at Fire Station #1 located at: 7830 Shaver Road Portage, MI 49002
To schedule your organization's visit, please call 269-329-4487 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Fire Division does not sell or service fire extinguishers. Several local businesses provide this service. The Fire Division does not recommend any particular firm. For details, call 269-329-4487.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are available from several local businesses. For those unable to purchase one, the American Red Cross may be able to help. Contact the American Red Cross at 269-353-6180 ext. 7181.
The Fire Division installs car seats by appointment only on the first Wednesday and the third Saturday of the month. Please call 269-329-4487 to schedule an appointment. The events book up very quickly so please call well in advance.
All job openings are listed on the City of Portage Career Portal..
We have several ways for you to apply:
You may apply online through our Career Portal.
An employment application (PDF) can be downloaded, completed and mailed to the Human Resources Department at:
City HallCity of Portage7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
Or an application may also be completed in person at the Human Resources Department located in City Hall.
The City recruits qualified individuals for On-Call Firefighter positions on a year round basis. In order to be considered, an applicant must possess Firefighter I, Firefighter II. Hazardous Materials (Operations level) and a MFR license. To become a City of Portage On-Call Firefighter, candidates must pass a written test, a physical agility test and a background investigation process. Some residency requirements apply. On-call firefighters are assigned to a station and shift and respond to calls that occur while their shift is on-duty. On-Call Firefighters are not expected to respond while they are working at other employment or while in class. The On-Call Firefighter position is an excellent way for an individual to serve the community while also being paid.
The City also periodically has opportunities for untrained candidates to partner with us to earn their Medical First Responder's license and Firefighter I & II certifications. Applicants must be able to commit to attending all scheduled training sessions, pass a written test, physical agility test, background investigation and post-offer physical examination. Some residency requirements apply. To find out when the next opportunity is available, please contact the Human Resource Department.
Call 269-329-4533 for more information.
A person is not prohibited from working for the city if they have a felony conviction. However, there are certain positions where individuals convicted of a felony cannot be employed. For other positions the relationship between the type of felony conviction and position are considered, as is the number and nature of felony convictions, the amount of time since the felony conviction, and the potential risk the applicant would pose to the city or public.
For most positions an applicant must be at least 18 years old.
No, applicants are welcome to apply online.
Each applicant receives an email acknowledging that their application has been received. An email is sent to each applicant after their application is carefully reviewed, updating of their status. Applicants may call the Human Resources Department at 269-329-4533 to check on an application, but there is very little information that can be given over the telephone.
The City tests approximately twice a year for Firefighter positions and on an as needed basis for Police Office positions to create a candidate pool for upcoming openings. Applications are always accepted. The City will email all candidates that have applied since the most recent test date to notify them of upcoming testing opportunities. Candidates will receive instructions on how to register for the test in the email.
Approximately ten weeks prior to an election, the city contacts individuals who successfully worked the previous election to confirm their interest in working the upcoming election. If additional workers are required, applications on file are reviewed and if necessary the city recruits new election officials. Any person registered to vote in Kalamazoo County can fill out an Election Official application (PDF) and submit to the department or visit the Human Resources Department at:
Human ResourcesCity of Portage7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
The city provides Election Official training within two weeks prior to the election. In order to work the election, Election Officials must receive training at least every two years.
Yes, election workers are paid $140 for working the day of the election and $20 for attending training.
Volunteer opportunities are posted, including Boards and Commission opportunities. Volunteer applications can be completed online or at the Human Resources Department at:
Individuals interested in volunteering with the city are encouraged to complete a volunteer application even if there is not a volunteer opening listed, since the skills and abilities of a potential volunteer opportunity may spark the identification of a volunteer opportunity.
There are no proposed recommendations that would impact the water quality of either West Lake or Austin Lake.
There are no proposed changes to the physical canal. Any improvements proposed would be canal/drain adjacent (eg; boardwalk in Lakeview Park on city-owned property). The concept is merely to connect people and places.
This rendering of the pontoon boat was located in the Public Engagement section of the report, highlighting the materials presented during the 3-day public charrette and related surveys corresponding to those materials. The rendering has been removed. All references to canal/drain connectivity have been removed from the recommendations and implementation section of the study.
There are no proposed changes to the physical canal. Any improvements proposed would be canal/drain adjacent.
There are no current plans for any public docks. Private docks would be approved consistent with city and state (EGLE) regulations.
The City Council approved Scenario 3, which occurs entirely within the existing public right-of-way.
The city is not proposing this number of units, it’s simply the potential amount of units that could fit on the acreage as identified by a residential market analysis. This is privately owned property and any potential development project would undergo the standard processes and reviews, which may include a Traffic Impact Study if deemed necessary.
The City of Portage manages traffic on a daily basis, making adjustments as needed, and as new residential projects and businesses open throughout the year. New visitors, residents, and traffic to the Lake Center District also mean an increase in customers, support for businesses, and spending of dollars within the community. If we build a safer, more beautiful, and vibrant corridor, “traffic” is envisioned to be more multimodal - not only cars but residents on foot and on bicycles, children on scooters, aging residents with walkers, all of whom would be able to safely patronize businesses and enjoy the Lake Center District through a variety of ways.
There are a variety of strategic, financial, regulatory tools that can help make this plan a reality for the Lake Center District. Recently, the City Council allocated and approved over $6 million in the city’s FY21-31 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) related to estimated capital improvements for Portage Road and right-of-way improvements in the Lake Center District. The FY21-31 CIP is a publicly available document that has been reviewed and approved by both the Planning Commission and City Council.
Funding for certain investments within the study area will be contained within the CIP, others will not. Depending on the project, funding may also be leveraged through federal and state transportation funding, the proposed Corridor Improvement Authority, commercial corridor redevelopment partnerships, and many other funding sources that can support implementation steps.
There are a variety of strategic, financial, regulatory tools that can help make this plan a reality for the Lake Center District. Recently, the City Council allocated and approved over $6 million in the City’s FY21-31 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) related to estimated capital improvements for Portage Road and right-of-way improvements in the Lake Center District. The FY21-31 CIP is a publicly available document that has been reviewed and approved by both the Planning Commission and City Council.
There are a variety of strategic, financial, regulatory tools that can help make this plan a reality for the Lake Center District. Planning-level cost estimates for the recommendations are in the final section of the report. Recently, the City Council allocated and approved over $6 million in the City’s FY21-31 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) related to estimated capital improvements for Portage Road and right-of-way improvements in the Lake Center District. The FY21-31 CIP is a publicly available document that has been reviewed and approved by both the Planning Commission and City Council.
The creation of a corridor improvement authority, much like a Downtown Development Authority (DDA), is being considered and would capture tax dollars coming from that corridor. Those tax dollars would go directly back into that corridor in the form of public improvements. The tax rate will not change; these funds would be a result of the increase in property values and values from new construction. For detailed information on the State of Michigan’s Corridor Improvement Authority please visit: corridor-improvement-authority-pa-280.pdf (miplace.org)
No; however, as stated at the public hearing of the July 13, 2021, City Council meeting, if the project is successful, property owners in the area will benefit from improvements to the corridor (eg; higher property values, etc.).
The development of a form-based code is in the 1-Year Action Plan and it would go through the standard city approval process. We would also seek to educate and get feedback from residents and businesses, through this process and also during the forthcoming Zoning Code Update.
The City Administration plans to recommend the purchase of property within the District. Approval and the source of funds will be determined by the City Council at the related City Council meetings.
In recent years, the city has boosted its use of social media and listserv tools, adding to the more traditional methods of project notifications through the Portager newsletter, direct mail letters, and the media. We will continue to employ these various methods to advise the community about city-initiated projects in the Lake Center District. To stay up to date, sign up for Notify Me at www.portagemi.gov/list.aspx and subscribe to the Lake Center District Area category.
Opening day of the Portage Farmers Market will be on May 8, 2022. It will run every Sunday thereafter until October 16, 2022. During these 25 weeks, the market hours are from 9 AM to 1 PM.
There are four types of vendors that will be selling at the Portage Farmers Market: producers, growers, retailers and artisans. The number of non-food vendors and service vendors will be limited to ensure an authentic Farmers Market experience.
During the 2022 season, the Portage Farmers Market will be located in the new Senior Center parking lot, 203 E. Centre Ave, next to Dairy Queen.
All vendors will accept cash payment in US dollars. Some vendors will also be able to take credit card payments at their market stalls. The Portage Farmers Market will be NOT able to accept credit card payment in exchange for tokens. Portage Farmers Market Tokens will then be available for food assistance program participants. The Portage Farmers Market currently supports the following food assistance programs: SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Project Fresh, and WIC Farmers Market Nutritional Program. Food assistance programs cannot be used for services and non-food items.
All vendors participating in the Portage Farmers Market must meet all Federal, State and local preparation, licensing, labeling and storage regulations. All vendors must also sell only products that are legal under Federal and State law.
The Portage Farmers Market only allows its vendors to use the word "organic" in verbal or written form if they are Certified Organic, in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program.
Yes. Many of the vendors do have their own websites and Facebook pages. Each vendor and their contact information will also be listed on the website for the Portage Farmers Market at www.farmersmarket.portagemi.gov.
Unfortunately, the Portage Farmers Market does not allow pets into the market or anywhere near where food is sold/consumed. However, registered service animals will be allowed entrance.
We ask that you do not park inside the Farmers Market area or in the parking spaces behind the vendor tents. There is plenty of parking inside the City Hall parking lot for customers and vendors. Additional parking is available on Brown Street and at First Reformed Church.
Yes. If a market day happens to fall on a holiday or holiday weekend, the Portage Farmers Market will be open.
Yes. The market normally operates in rain, cold and snow. However, it will not operate during emergency situations or when weather warnings have been issued.
Yes. There is plenty of handicapped parking spaces available to customers and vendors. Additionally, the market has enough space for customers using wheelchairs and other walking aids.
At this time there is not an ATM at the Portage Farmers Market, though there are two ATMS nearby the Portage Farmers Market at Comerica Bank and Huntington ATM.
We are always looking for volunteer to help out at the market. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact the Farmers Market Manager at 269-548-9481 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music and entertainment is one activity that we would love to add to the market this year. If you are interested in playing at the Portage Farmers Market, please contact the Market Manager at 269-548-9481 or via email at email@example.com
We are always looking to add new events and activities to the Portage Farmers Market. If you have an event idea or are interested in hosting an event or activity, please contact the Farmers Market Manager at (269) 548-9481 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Farmers Market Manager, Annie Pryor at (269) 548-9481 or email@example.com
Opening day of the Portage Farmers Market will be on May 8th, 2022. It will run every Sunday thereafter until October 23rd, 2022. During these 25 weeks, the market hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each market stall measures 10' by 10'. If additional space is required, arrangements must be made with the Market Manager prior to opening day.
Every vendor will be required to provide their own tent, table, signage/banner, and weights (at least 50 pounds per tent).
A market stall with a table costs $325 per season. Daily vendors are charged $20 per day.
Unless previously arranged, a 48-hour notice should be given to the Market Manager. Emergency cancellations need to be reported to the Market Manager ASAP.
Only vendors or farms that are certified organic, in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program may use the word "organic" in written or verbal form.
Growers are defined as vendors that feature 80% or more of products grown by their own business and are typically farmers who produce vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc.
Producers are vendors that sell 80% or more of prepared food or drink products, Michigan Cottage Food eligible products, value-added items, or processed goods resulting from animals raised by their business. For example: bakers, farmers who sell meats, cheeses, eggs, etc.
Retailer are vendors where 20% or more of their market sales come from products that are grown or produced by another business or farm. Ex: some farms may sell items from cooperatives or other farms or represent additional vendors not featured at market.
Artisans/Crafters sell hand-crafted, non-edible products that are locally made and are designed by the business owners and employees. Examples include: pottery, paintings, fiber arts, hand-blown glass, jewelry, etc.
The Portage Farmers Market asks that all vendors be set up by 8:45 a.m. each Sunday. You may arrive as early as 8 a.m. to begin set-up. Any delays must be reported to the Market Manager ahead of time. A cell phone call or text message should be given to the Market Manager only in emergency situations.
It is not required. However, when applicable, it is strongly recommended that vendors participate in food-assistance programs. The Portage Farmers Market will be supporting SNAP, Double Up, Eat Smart Live Strong, Project Fresh and WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program during the 2022 season.
It depends. Vendors with liability insurance are required to provide the Market Manager with documentation of liability insurance 30 days prior to attending the Portage Farmers Market. All food vendors selling hot, ready to eat food items and vendors that are preparing food on-site must carry liability insurance in the amount no less that $1,000,000 and naming the City of Portage as additional insured. Vendors that are not required to carry liability insurance must sign the Hold Harmless waiver.
Yes. Seasonal vendors will be assigned their space on their first day of the market. Daily vendors will need to check in with the Farmers Market Manager each week during set-up, to find out their assigned space for the day. If you would like the same space as prior years, please make the Market Manager aware of your request either in person or on the application.
You are able to hand out literature and promotional material about your products and your businesses. In fact, we encourage it. However, we ask that you refrain from handing out promotional material unrelated to your products and businesses as well as political literature. Additionally, please refrain from handing out literature for other businesses and products.
Yes. Cottage Food producers can sell food at the market. However, vendors must be properly labeled and comply with the State of Michigan Cottage Food laws. The Farmers Market Manager will also need to be notified in advance if any samples are being handed out to the public.
Yes. However, you do need to indicate what samples you are handing out to the public on your application. If you decide to hand out samples after your application has been submitted, you must notify the Farmers Market Manager in advance on what samples you are planning to hand out to the public. You must also comply with all state and federal regulations when sampling your products.
Before you can become a vendor, you must first fill out a vendor application which is available online (Farmers Market | Portage, MI (portagemi.gov). Your application will be approved or denied based on the type of goods you sell and the amount of space that is available in the market. If you are approved, please refer to the market application for deposit and payment deadlines.
You must sell products or goods that comply with Federal and State laws and regulations. Vendors must also make or grow 75% of the products or goods that they sell at the market. Vendors are allowed to sell products made by other farms, vendors and manufactures. However, these products must be detailed on the application or approved by the Market Manager.
The Portage Farmers Market is always open to event ideas, activity idea, and new partnerships. If you would like to bring an event or activity to the market, please contact the Farmers Market Manager at 269-329-4421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The use of motorized vehicles by the Parks Department is the best way to access the trails for trail repairs, litter removal and emergency needs. Park Rangers periodically patrol trails by trucks throughout the year when bicycle access is not feasible.
Park restrooms are not heated and subject to freezing and damage during the late fall/winter periods. Restrooms are closed and winterized during the last week of October and opened around May 1.
Please contact the Public Services Department at 269-329-4444 to report your concern. Staff will investigate the matter and take the appropriate action.
The Skatepark was developed solely for use by skateboarders. Bicycles have a greater potential to damage the Skatepark facility and for safety purposes would need to be separated from skateboard activity. As the city does not have the resources to manage separate uses, bicycles are prohibited within the South Westnedge Skatepark.
No, any person 21 years or older can rent a pavilion or one of the Portage Historical buildings in Celery Flats. Learn more on our Facility Rentals page.
Facilities may be reserved up to one year in advance. Learn more on our Facility Rentals page.
Click the Purple View Facilities & Register Online button on our Facility Rentals page. That will take you directly to our Reservation site where you can view all of our facilities, the availability as well as make a reservation. Feel free to contact the Parks office with questions at 329-4522.
For additional information, see our Facility Rentals page.
Yes, during the months when the lifeguards are on duty (Memorial Day through Labor Day) there is an admission fee to the park for Non-Residents. The 2019 Season is offered FREE to Residents. Prior to Memorial Day or after Labor Day there is not an admission fee. Contact the Parks and Recreation Division at 269-329-4522 for fee information.
It is not permitted to charge entrance into a city park; however, you are able to charge specifically for your event prior to the event.
No - additional picnic tables are not available for rental.
Tents and canopies are allowed, however an additional security deposit and rental fee are required for anything larger that a 10-foot by 10-foot pop up tent. Call the office at 269-329-4522 or visit our Facility Rentals page for more information.
Single-use inflatables (no bouncing inflatables) and climbing towers are allowed when provided by a licensed, commercial vendor meeting city insurance requirements. No residential units are permitted. All requests for inflatables, climbing towers and dunk tanks must be approved by the Parks and Recreation Division prior to installation. Call 269-329-4522 for more information.
Alcohol is allowed in most city parks, with the exception of Ramona Park due to the beach operation and Westfield Park due to a neighborhood initiative. However, alcohol consumption is not allowed in parking lots to prevent safety concerns, nor is alcohol allowed in the dugouts of any softball diamonds. The serving of alcohol for rentals requires a city permit which can be obtained by calling the Parks and Recreation Department at 269-329-4522.
The City of Portage does not regulate, set or change the date or time for trick-or-treating within the city. It is a matter of personal and/or neighborhood preference.
The Police Division does not respond to routine lock-outs unless there is an immediate danger, i.e., a child is locked inside or in response to an animal locked in the car with the windows rolled up and the situation could constitute animal cruelty. Otherwise, you will be asked to contact a locksmith or towing company.
Stop and remain at the scene. If possible, you should move your vehicle off the roadway. Have someone call the police at either 911 or 269-329-4508 depending on the severity of the situation.
Depending on the nature of the police investigation, reports may be available within five business days. Some reports may take longer, and most are subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. You may call the Police Records Section to check on the status of your request at 269-329-4568.
Yes. A police officer will be dispatched to address the complaint. In many cases, callers reporting noise complaints prefer to remain anonymous. In those cases, the officer will still respond; however, if the noise has stopped when the officer arrives, no police action can be taken.
An officer will be dispatched on the same basis as that of a noise complaint.
We would prefer that you start with the officer’s/employee’s immediate supervisor. In most cases this will be a sergeant. There is always a police supervisor (a sergeant or lieutenant) on duty seven days a week, 24 hours a day - so please call 269-329-4508. You may also complete a complaint/compliment form online or fill out a form located in the police lobby located at:7810 Shaver RoadPortage, MI 49002
If the complaint can be resolved by a supervisor, they will do so. These issues usually involve a question of why did the police do or not do something. If the complaint cannot be resolved at this step, it is documented on a department administrative review form and directed to the Public Safety Director. Minor complaints will be referred to a supervisor to investigate. More serious complaints are referred to Internal Affairs. In most cases, it will be necessary to take a recorded statement from the person complaining. This eliminates any confusion or misunderstanding. Any witnesses will also be interviewed. The employees involved will be interviewed under oath and recorded. Any video, audio, documents or other data will be collected. Internal Affairs will then compile all of this material into a file and refer all material to the Public Safety Director.
The Public Safety Director reviews all of the documentation and makes a determination. If department employees violated department policy, corrective action will be taken. This may range from remedial training, counseling, and up to and including termination. If the documentation does not support a finding of policy violation, no action is taken. The person making a complaint will be notified of the finding in writing.
The Portage Department of Public Safety - Police Division is located at:7810 Shaver RoadPortage, MI 49002
The Police Division does not operate a holding facility. All arrested persons are transported to the Kalamazoo County Jail located at:1500 Lamont AvenueKalamazoo, MI 49048
Once the person has been transported to the Kalamazoo County Jail, visitation is allowed. The phone number for the Kalamazoo County Jail is 269-385-6173.
If you live in Portage, contact the Community Policing Officer at 269-324-9255.
Fingerprints can be taken at the Department of Public Safety - Police Division at:7810 Shaver RoadPortage, MI 49002
The information needed will vary based on what is being reported. The following is a list of questions that could be asked when you call for police service. Not all questions will be applicable to every call. The communications operator is going to want to know:
Questions 14-16 are necessary for the safety of approaching officers. Also, if police K-9s are used, this information will assist in effectively deploying the dogs.
You should decrease your speed gradually, use your signal to indicate which way you intend to pull over (pull to the right if at all possible) and come to a complete stop. If you are pulled over at night, try to stop in a well-lit area. Turn on your dome light and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not begin collecting your documents before you are requested to do so.
Do not exit your vehicle unless you are requested to do so. Stay calm and provide the information requested by the officer relative to your driver’s license, registration and insurance card. Please do not reach under the seat, into the glove box, etc. without telling the officer what you are doing. Remember, the officer does not know what your intentions are.
Yes, there are several alternatives. Make a report via telephone through the “teleserve” unit by calling 269-329-4558. Submit a report.
If there is a possibility that physical evidence exists, it may be necessary to have an officer come to you.
The Fall Leaf Pickup schedule can be found on the Fall Leaf Pickup page.
Loose leaves are only collected in the fall. The city will collect leaves bagged in biodegradable paper bags during the April Brush Pickup. The city also hosts Brush Drop-off Days several times throughout the year at the Portage Compost Facility.
The city does not plow private driveways. One thing you can do to minimize the problem is to clear snow to the right side of your driveway (facing your house from the street). This gives some of the snow a place to go as the plow goes by and will minimize what ends up in your driveway. A clear illustration of this practice can be found on the city website, Snow Remove Page.
Due to ever changing weather conditions, we are not able to give you an estimate of when your street will be cleared. As weather conditions change, we often must alter our snow fighting strategy in the middle of snow removal operations in order to try to control drifting snow, ice or other special problems.
Each snow plow has an assigned section. If the trucks spread salt on the way to their destination, they won't have enough to spread in their sections. Additionally, other drivers passing through may plow off salt without realizing it. Plowing along the way would mean it would take that much longer for the truck to reach its assigned section.
Big plow trucks are used to plow an initial access path in all cul de sacs. When all major and local roads have been cleared, a 4x4 truck will return to each cul de sac to cleanup as needed. Snow will be removed from the middle of cul de sacs only when piles create an obstacle when maneuvering. Please note that cul de sacs are lower on our plowing priority list, since we have fewer residents living on them. We ask for your patience and our trucks will get to you.
As we plow from curb to curb, snow may fall onto the sidewalks. Unfortunately, there are some areas where the curb lawn is narrow and the plowed snow covers the sidewalks. Some have suggested the plows go through these areas at a slower speed so the snow is not thrown that far. However, plows must maintain a certain speed to keep the snow from sticking to the blades. We also do not store snow on the curb lawn because it can cause visibility problems for traffic.
Our practice is to plow from curb to curb, which is why you see our plow trucks typically make three or more passes on each side of the street. This is to clear the street as much as possible the first time we come through; due to changing weather conditions, we might not be back for a while. Snow that is left behind will harden, making it more difficult to remove when we return.
Yes. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code (Section 257.677a), a person cannot place snow, ice, or slush on any road or highway. Residents clearing their own snow, or private companies hired to do so, must keep the snow on the property it came from.
Different weather events require the use of different techniques. The decision whether to salt or plow depends on the weather conditions. For example, if the temperature is below 20 degrees and not expected to rise, salt will not be effective. But if the sun is shining, and the temperature is 20 degrees or higher and expected to stay stead or rise, then salt would be more effective. Plowing under the wrong conditions can create a polished street surface, resulting in dangerous glare ice.
There are several possible reasons:
The short answer is that we just don't have the staff or resources to do this. Additionally, as weather conditions can change quickly, this could waste time by working crews that have nothing to plow. Department of Public Works management and the Department of Public Safety monitor weather changes so we can call in crews as needed. From December to March, we generally have 24 hour coverage during the week, with staff covering weekends as weather conditions require.
We don't use sand because it doesn't work in all situations. In an urbansetting like Portage, sand washes into and can clog our storm sewers.
The potential for a medical emergency does not warrant prioritytreatment. Anyone needing an ambulance in a medical emergency should call 911and the situation will be handled in an appropriate manner.
Overnight on street parking is prohibited between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., November 1 through April 15.
Please contact the Department of Public Works at (269) 329-4444 or complete an online report. The City of Portage Damaged Mailbox Replacement Policy allows for the repair or replacement of damaged mailboxes, which were in previously good condition, on a case-by-case basis. Please take a moment to review the City of Portage Damaged Mailbox Replacement Policy for more information.
Property owners are responsible for clearing snow/ice from sidewalks in front of their residence or business within 24 hours following a snow or ice event.
For the 2016-2017 season, we have a budget of roughly $900,000. Plowing is funded by state Public Act 51 money, which comes from the gas and weight taxes. Local taxes do not fund snow plowing operations. Overall, budgets have remained flat or slightly less over time, and we face increased expenses. The budget reflects fluctuating fuel costs, increasing equipment costs and salt costs.
We wish we had enough snow plows and drivers to take care of every street right away, but our resources are limited, so we must adhere to a carefully laid out system for clearing the streets. If we allowed our plows to be diverted each time a special request is made, it would take longer to get all streets in the city cleared.
1. All major streets. Examples include South Westnedge Avenue, Oakland Drive, Milham Avenue, Kilgore Road, Shaver Road, Lovers Lane, etc.
2.All primary “feeder” streets leading into various residential neighborhoods, including access streets to all schools.
3.All interior neighborhood streets. 4.Cleanup of cul‐de‐sacs and dead ends streets.
Visit the city's Report It! module to file a report or contact the Streets Maintenance Division at (269) 329-4444.
Yes, the city will pickup dead wildlife if in the street or city right-of-way, but not on private property. Please contact the City of Portage Streets Maintenance Division at (269) 329-4444. Note: The city will not pick up domestic animals. For this service, please contact Kalamazoo County Animal Services and Enforcement at (269) 383-8775.
Residents may report damage to a mailbox to the Streets Maintenance Division as soon as it is discovered. Please contact the Streets Maintenance Division at (269) 329-4444.
Contact the City of Portage Purchasing Department at 269-324-9284.
Yes, the City of Portage maintains a “general” vendor list. Contact the Purchasing Department at 269-324-9284 to be added to list. No forms are required. These bidder lists are usually used to solicit bids or proposals for products and projects that exceed $40,000.
The City participates in joint public auctions held once a year, usually October. The City also utilizes an on-line auction firm, Biddergy http://www.biddergy.com. For more information, please contact the Purchasing Manager at 269-324-9284.
Portage residency is not a requirement for membership. Our members come from all over Kalamazoo County and beyond. View our Membership page for information on fees, and exceptions to individuals who are unable to pay.
Membership is required to participate in all social/recreational clubs and groups. Non-members may travel with the Portage Senior Center (PSC), and register for various classes but pay a higher price. Membership is not required to take advantage of services such as the Center Cafe, transportation, foot clinics, etc. View our Membership page for more details.
Currently the annual cost is $30 for Portage residents and $40 for non-residents. (Inability to pay will be taken into consideration.) A scholarship fund is generously provided by the Friends of the Portage Senior Center. View our Membership page for more information and for how to pay.
The Center is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays, and evenings and weekends to accommodate scheduled events / activities.
Some performing arts groups also practice in the evening. Occasionally the Center is open on Saturday or Sunday for a special event.
A few "intergenerational" trips are scheduled annually. Persons younger than 50 may come if there is room. Seniors have priority in registering for trips. Of course, if a senior needs assistance while traveling, a younger companion is welcome to sign up. View more on our Travel page.
When Portage Public Schools cancel or close due to inclement weather, the Portage Senior Center will be open on regularly posted hours. Please note the following exceptions:
On the rare occasion that the City of Portage makes a decision to close non-emergency operations due to inclement weather, ALL Senior Center activities will automatically be cancelled. Participants are encouraged to monitor closing announcements on WWMT-TV Channel 3, WKZO-590 AM radio, social media and Portage Alert notifications. Questions regarding the PSC Closing Policy may be directed to any PSC staff person.
On December 9, 2019, the City of Portage received its temporary permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to pump water from the Hampton Bog. The pumping began on December 9, 2019 and will continue until the water level is lowered by 4 inches.
The permit will allow pumping to occur over a 12-month period, whenever high-water events occur.
Approximately $50,000, which included set-up.
The historical high-water level of the bog is 872.4 feet above sea level.
The temperature sampling was completed in August 2019. The data is encouraging as bogs are colder than Hampton Lake and the proposed water drainage route would allow for an equalization of the water temperature. Storm events tend to increase water temperature; however, water traveling through the drainage system and ground water will cool.
No estimate has been prepared yet. Fishbeck plans to meet with the state regulatory agencies first to understand the scope and potential hurdles and to best understand the project and what it may cost. Funds in the amount of $1 million are being recommended for the 2020-2021 Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
Alternative options will be evaluated prior to application submittal for the state permit.
The open water around the golf course should be brought to the same water level as the bogs as a result of the project.
Yes. However, any proposed new developments would have a stormwater management plan as part of the permitting process to further address the situation.
The definition does not change but the data behind it does. The new data and models gathered from storm events in recent years were being accounted for when referring to a “100-year storm event”.
Not enough data has been collect to answer this question. However, water levels are higher than normal in the Greenspire Bog and mature trees are succumbing to the water level.
The proposed permanent should address the flooding issue for surface water. Groundwater in this area flows south towards Portage Creek. The groundwater and bog levels should remain at similar levels. Draining the bog should result in a corresponding decrease in adjoining groundwater.
Different versions of the passive system exist around the state, so the concept is not foreign. The Portage project is a specific design due to the nature of the bogs and there are other passive systems within the city.
The proposed limestone bed will operate as a natural filter and is expected to help mitigate pH concerns.
An easement is needed from the Woodbridge Hills shopping mall and the DNR, but only once EGLE approves the permit.
It is expected that results would be noticeable within a year.
The majority of the research work has been completed and the city’s consultant is hoping for a quick review by the state. Per the application process, the state has 90 days to provide a response to the proposed project application. Once the application has been approved, an assessment district must be determined and initiated, construction plans must be created and approved by EGLE and the construction project must be bid. Fishbeck will prepare a construction plan concurrently with the application process in order to allow construction to commence once an approval decision is rendered by EGLE.
The city has mapping available to determine approximate boundaries and property line locations. The City of Portage does not have a Licensed Surveyor or staff to perform property surveys. There are many local survey companies which can perform this task.
Storm water in Portage is generally collected at catch basins and allowed to infiltrate (drain) back into the subsoil. In a few instances, neighborhoods near a lake or Portage Creek have a drain to the water body for discharge. Regardless of the discharge location is important to never dispose of litter, oils, pet waste or any other debris in the catch basin. If you observe any suspicious activity around a catch basin, please call 269-329-4422 to report any dumping.
Yes, driveway permits are issued by the Department of Community Development. Please contact the Building Services Division at 269-329-4477 with questions. Permits to work in the public right of way are issued by the department of Transportation and Utilities. Please contact the Transportation Department at 269-329-4422 with questions.
You may learn the current status of I-94 widening projects at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) website. You may also contact the local MDOT office at 269-375-8900 to obtain further details about a MDOT project.
You may find out about current street projects and detours through our Major Street Construction page or our Local Road Alerts page. You may also contact the Transportation and Utilities Department at 269-329-4422 to obtain further details about a project.
All public streets in the city are swept twice each year - once in the spring and again in the fall in conjunction with the Fall Leaf Pickup.
The streetlight system in the City of Portage is owned and operated by Consumers Energy. The cost for the energy use is paid to Consumers Energy by City of Portage general revenue. If you notice a streetlight is out please visit the Consumers Energy website. Those without access to a computer may call the City of Portage Transportation and Utilities Department at 269-329-4422 to report a streetlight outage.
If a traffic light seems out of sync you may call the Traffic Engineer in the Department of Transportation and Utilities at 269-329-4422.
Review our answer on our Traffic Signals Placement page.
Review our page on Pedestrian Signals.
Where buttons are available to pedestrians, it is because the traffic signal is timed for cars, not for people on foot. If you don't activate the pedestrian signal by pushing the button, the traffic light won't give you enough time to safely cross the street. You only need to push the button once for it to be activated.
The flashing "don't walk" or upraised hand is a warning to people who have not yet entered the intersections that it's too late to safely cross the street before the traffic signal changes allowing cars to proceed. Signals are timed to allow plenty of time for people who have already started walking to safely cross the street.
If you believe there is a water main break please contact Veolia (the city contract utility operator) at (269) 324-9235.
If you notice a sewer back up in your basement or on your property please contact Veolia (the city contract utility operator) at (269) 324-9235 to investigate the city system for blockages. The maintenance of the sewer line from the house to the street is in most instances the responsibility of the property owner.
Most areas of Portage have municipal water and/or sanitary sewer available. To determine the cost to make a connection to the system(s) please call the Department of Community Development at (269) 329-4466 to request a permit application be entered into the city permitting system for connection fee purposes. No charges are assessed to submit a permit application; all fees are assessed when a permit is issued.
To see if this service is available in your area please contact the GIS Specialist in the Department of Community Development at (269) 329-4477. Be aware that even though water and sewer facilities are available at a given address, outstanding benefit fees may exist.
If you have a question regarding your water and sewer bill please call the City of Portage Treasury Department at (269) 329-4455.
The Treasury Department is located at:Portage City Hall7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
The department is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A drop box is available at City Hall (same address as listed for the Treasury) for after hours payments.
Please call Veolia (the city's utility contractor) at (269) 324-9235 and request a service person be dispatched to your home to determine the problem.