City of Niles recognizes National Hospice, Palliative Care Month

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NILES — The Niles City Council recognized a local healthcare organization in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

Mayor Nick Shelton and the Niles City Council issued a proclamation supporting National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, which honors the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists and social workers who make a difference for the patients and families they serve.

Shelton presented Rodrigo Correa and Heidi Hanley — representatives of Caring Circle of Spectrum Health Lakeland — with a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

The largest community-based palliative care and hospice organization in the area, Caring Circle offers a quality-of-life focused continuum of care that includes Transitions, HouseCalls, Palliative Care, Hanson Hospice Center, Hospice at Home, Bereavement Care, and Lory’s Place.

“Everybody has somebody in their life who has had to have those services,” Shelton said. “To the people who have stepped up to do that, it means so much to all of us who have been impacted. I’m just very appreciative of everything they do at Spectrum Lakeland. Our local hospital does a terrific job and we’re just grateful to have them and all of the other health care providers in our community.”

In other business, the council approved a contract with Utility Financial Solutions of Leland, Michigan for an Electric Cost of Service and Rate Design Study at a cost of $19,500 plus hourly expenses, with a goal of designing a new rate structure and authorizing the mayor to sign the proposal.

Utility Financial Solutions has been providing rate consultation, design and service studies to the city for many years.

According to a memo to the city from City Administrator Ric Huff, the city’s electric division is due for a Cost of Service study, which will account for several recent changes in expenses and revenues, including the 2019 bond issuance and the 2020 purchasing power change.

“The knowledge of the city that UFS has gained would be expensive for another firm to acquire,” Huff said in the memo. “Staff has always been very satisfied with UFS’ performance and deliverables and feels that they are best qualified to help us in redesigning our rate structure. The customer will see more transparency in their bills and in the future, Niles will be ready to explore alternative energy supplies and distributed energy ideas.”

According to Huff, doing so would allow the city to restructure its electric tariffs into unbundled rates, thereby separating charges for generation, transmission, and distribution. Presently, these individual components of electric service are “bundled” together on the customer’s bill. By “unbundling” rates, the customer is more accurately charged for the costs and values of each service.

The memo states that unbundled rates in the electric industry have been discussed for decades and were mandated by the Michigan Public Service Commission in 2000. The Michigan Public Power Agency of which Niles is a member, has advocated for unbundling rates as part of its Distributed Energy Resources Readiness Objective.

According to Huff, the timetable to develop a new rate structure may be one to two years and the staff hopes to begin the process now. The city is currently in year two of a three-year rate design that the council approved in August 2020.

In further business:

  • Council moved to authorize the transfer of the Ford Crown Victoria vehicle from the Niles Police Department to the Niles Fire Department.


  • Council voted to approve to pay the $2,649 invoice from Hoffman Bros. Inc. of Battle Creek, Michigan from the Maintenance-Plant Equipment Fund for the emergency services to clean up the overflow at Progressive Drive lift station.
  • Council approved the emergency purchase in the amount of $3,785 to be charged to the Maintenance of Pump, Motor, Equipment Fund for chlorination to Clay well by Peerless Midwest of Mishawaka, Indiana.
  • Council moved to approve the purchase and installation of the Haas Model 610 Overhead Wash Bay Garage Door from 4 T Door Systems Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana at a cost of $6,000 to be charged 60/40 to the Maintenance Service Building Electric Fund and Maintenance- Service Building Water Fund.
  • Council voted to accept the bid of $18,799 to be charged to the Poles and Fixtures Fund from A. Meredith Schneider of East Point, Georgia for the purchase of wood utility poles.
  • Council approved a contract with the MRWA of Okemos, Michigan at $85 per hour to be charged to the Professional Services Fund for oversight at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and designating Superintendent John Simpson as the Utility Representative and authorizing the Utility Representative to sign the contract.
  • Council moved to approve a contract with Corrpro Waterworks of Medina, Ohio for an Annual Service Agreement for inspection of the Cathodic Protection System of the City’s five water tanks and allowing the City Administrator to sign the Service Agreement in the amount of $4,300.00 to be charged to the Water Division Maintenance Fund.
  • Consideration of approving to accept the quote of $6,000 to be charged to the Maintenance-Service Building Treatment Plant Fund from 4 T Door Systems of Elkhart, Indiana for the purchase and installation of the components for the electric slide gate operator and authorizing the utilities manager to sign the quote.