City celebrates grant approval, funds GIS upgrades

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 21, 2016

 Sterling Heights City Hall.

Sterling Heights City Hall.

File photo

A state stormwater grant that Sterling Heights city officials requested almost three years ago has been officially granted to the city.

Officials followed up that announcement by purchasing upgrades to Sterling Heights’ geographic data technology.

Sterling Heights city officials reportedly applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant in November 2013. According to Finance and Budget Director Brian Baker, the city learned that it had received the grant at the end of August.

According to city officials, the total grant weighed in at about $2.4 million. The city reportedly had to pay $444,444 to match the grant, thus netting a total of around $2 million.

At a Sept. 6 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool thanked Department of Public Works Director Michael Moore, city engineering staff and others for making the grant money possible.

“We were just recently notified that we received the grant award for $2.4 million, and the funds will be utilized to complete several projects for the Department of Public Works,” Vanderpool said. “So, we’ve been anxiously awaiting this award for a couple of years now, and we’re very pleased we got it.”

According to city officials, they plan to spend the grant money on a list of items that the DPW wants. That includes inspection and cleaning of the local sewers, digitizing “water and sanitary assets,” buying Cityworks software for public asset and work management, and upgrading technology dealing with a geographical information system, or GIS.

In a statement, Moore said those actions will help offer services more efficiently.

“It’s an exciting step in the right direction to modernize DPW’s workflow management,” he said.

Later in the Sept. 6 meeting, the City Council unanimously voted in the consent agenda to pay the Alabama-based firm GISinc $68,600 to upgrade the city’s GIS system, which allows city workers to aggregate and view infrastructure data through a map interface.

Because the SAW grant covers 90 percent of that purchase’s price tag, the city only has to pay 10 percent of the total out of its budget, a memo said.

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