Show All Answers
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 look up site and you may look up information by name, address or parcel number. Square footage and 2017 values are available. 2017 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 Assessing Department counter beginning February 15, 2017.
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
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.
The State Tax Commission recommends using a period from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018. 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, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The State Tax Commission recommends using a period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017. This is considered to be a 24-month study.
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.
By completing a Freedom of Information Act Request Form (PDF), we are better able to track and comply with your request. We receive hundreds of requests annually and many require the cooperation and records of multiple departments. (You may turn this in to the City Clerk's office).
The Freedom of Information Act allows for charging reasonable fees for providing information. This helps to protect governments from excessive and/or frivolous requests for information.
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.
At any time someone may register to vote, however, you must be registered at least 30 days before an election in order to vote in that election.
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 at any of the 178 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 may. However, individuals who register to vote by mail must vote in person in the first election following their registration unless they are 60 years of age or older or have a recognized permanent disability.
If you are a registered voter, you may obtain an absent voter ballot if:
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.
A voter may ask to be on the permanent absent voter list if they are over the age of 60 or permanently disabled.
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.
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.
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.
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 link to View additional electrical information 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 link to View additional plumbing information and 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 link to View additional mechanical information and 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 document (PDF) 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.
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.
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. Sign up to receive ACH payments (PDF) 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.
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 Number 1 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at:7830 Shaver RoadPortage, 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 Number 1 located at:7830 Shaver RoadPortage, 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.
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.
Patrons should come into the Parks office to fill out the necessary paperwork and pay the deposit and rental fees. The address is:7900 S Westnedge AvenuePortage, MI 49002
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. 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 schedule can be found on this Leaf Pickup page. Materials must be placed at curbside no later than 7 a.m. on Monday of the designated week. Items placed out after 7 a.m. on Monday will not be collected.
The city will collect leaves bagged in biodegradable paper bags in April. Loose leaves will only be collected in the fall.
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. DPS management and the Police Department 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 Public Services office (269) 329‐4444. We will replace 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 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.
Contact the Streets Maintenance Division at 269-329-4444 for these issues.
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 Control 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 or use the convenient online Report It! submission tool from this website.
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 $25 for Portage residents and $35 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.
On Tuesday evening Euchre is scheduled from 6:30-9:30 p.m. 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.
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 Divison project manager 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 Suez (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 Suez (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 Suez at 269-324-9235 and request a service person be dispatched to your home to determine the problem.