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Kalamazoo Steps Up Removal of Lead Water Lines

City of Kalamazoo

The City of Kalamazoo will use Foundation for Excellence dollars to increase the number of lead water pipes it removes this year. Commissioners agreed to spend $500,000 of a large private donation the city received in 2016 to replace just over 100 lead pipes during roadwork. The city plans to remove lead service lines for more than 400 households total this year.

The state Department of Environmental Quality has called for the replacement of all of Michigan’s lead water pipes. Kalamazoo has about 3,000 known lead service lines and about 7300 where it is unsure of the material. See a map of Kalamazoo's known lead water pipes.

Appointed Staff Pay

The Kalamazoo City Commission has raised city manager Jim Ritsema’s salary. The board agreed on Monday to increase Ritsema’s pay by about seven percent, bringing his total yearly pay to roughly $148,000. Comparable employees at the city received a five-percent pay increase.

The city says it’s giving an extra two percent to Ritsema because of his accomplishments as manager. The board also approved one-time payments worth five percent of yearly wages for the city’s attorney as well as its clerk and the auditor.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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