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Articles from February 2019 (Return to News home)
by Katy Garavaglia
Wednesday, February 20, 2019


City Clerk Benjamin Marentette
City Clerk Benjamin Marentette


Subject:          City Clerk Benjamin Marentette
                        appointed by Michigan Secretary
                        of State to Michigan’s Election
                        Modernization Team

Primary          Benjamin Marentette, 
Contact:         City Clerk, 

Issued:            February 20, 2019

Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk for the City of Traverse City, has been appointed by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to Michigan’s Election Modernization Team. The team Marentette is joining… “will develop a proactive, innovative and comprehensive modernization plan for Michigan’s elections” as indicated in a letter to him from the Secretary of State.

The team will also work to implement the changes to the State of Michigan Constitution which were approved by Michigan’s voters at the November 2018 election. These changes enshrined a number of voting initiatives relating to Michigan’s elections and include: 

  • Automatic voter registration with Secretary of State transactions
  • Same-day voter registration – joining at least 17 other states which allow same-day voter registration
  • Absentee voting for all
  • Straight-ticket voting
  • Post-election audits for election integrity
  • Constitutionalizing existing law by providing that military members and overseas voters receive an absentee ballot at least 45 days before the election

The team will also work with the Secretary of State and Michigan Bureau of Elections to propose solutions to outstanding challenges.   The team will include national experts in elections and election scholars as well as a select number of election officials in Michigan.   The team will specifically develop and assist in the implementation of changes to Michigan’s election laws to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, increasing turnout, improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

Marentette is moved by the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the future of Michigan’s elections and indicated, “It’s a dream to be able to help shape – for the better – how we ensure democracy in Michigan is open, fair, modern, and one in which it is easy to participate.  I’m delighted to be able to work with our Secretary of State and others who have a deeply important responsibility to providing completely accessible and secure elections.” 

“We are very proud of Mr. Marentette’s commitment to bettering not only Traverse City, but the entire State of Michigan through, among many things, his expertise in local elections. He is dedicated to improving the efficiency and security of the entire election process, and will be a great asset to this team of officials from around the state” says City Manager Marty Colburn.

Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers agrees, “The people of Michigan made their wishes very clear through the November 2018 election results, and I have no doubts that our City Clerk Benjamin Marentette will do an outstanding job of bringing those wishes into reality as a part of the Election Modernization Team.”


by Katelyn Zeits
Friday, February 15, 2019


Subject: Attention Vacation Home Rentals in the City of Traverse City – License Required for Operation  

Primary Contact: Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk,

Issued:             February 15, 2019

The City Commission has recently enacted an amendment to the Traverse City Code of Ordinances requiring all vacation home rentals in the City to obtain an annual license from the City Clerk, effective February 14, 2019. A Vacation Home Rental is defined as a dwelling in certain allowed districts which is rented for any term less than 30 consecutive days.

These types of rentals have not been regulated in the past, leading to potential safety concerns for those utilizing local properties as vacation rentals. With the enactment of these changes, the primary goals of the City are to ensure each vacation home is licensed, that proper fire escape plans and summary of noise regulations and the use of fireworks have been posted, and to maintain records of up-to-date inspections by the Traverse City Fire Department, helping to ensure the safety of those who visit Traverse City.

While these changes are effective February 14th, all Vacation Home Rentals must submit an application to the City Clerks’ Office, and obtain their first inspection from the Traverse City Fire Department in advance of July 1, 2019. Inspections will only be required every 3rd year, with self-inspection checklists to be completed with annual license renewals in the years between. When on-site inspections are required, the annual fee is $200. When self-inspections are required, the fee is $150.

Applications can be found at

For further ordinance details, review Chapter 870 which can be found here:

For questions, please reach out to the City Clerk’s Office at (231) 922-4480 or by email at

by Katelyn Zeits
Monday, February 4, 2019

Subject:           Available Positions on Various City Boards!  

Contact:          Katelyn Zeits, Deputy City Clerk   

Members of the Traverse City community are invited to serve on one of the City's citizen boards! Through this service, civic-minded citizens can become involved in their local government. The City, in turn, benefits from the knowledge, experience and expertise of those in our community. For more information on the boards listed below, please visit  

Arts Commission

The Arts Commission is responsible for promoting art in the community, and advising the City Commission on matters pertaining to various art programs within the city. The Traverse City Arts Commission meets monthly on the third Wednesday. Interested individuals are required to be a City resident.  

Art Selection Panel

The Art Selection Panel, a seven-member panel appointed by the Traverse City Arts Commission. The Panel holds meetings as needed to review proposals and make recommendations to the Traverse City Arts Commission. Members of the Art Selection Panel are not required to be City residents, but should have knowledge of or interest in the visual arts, and will be appointed to terms of three years.

Grand Traverse Commons Joint Planning Commission

The Joint Planning Commission was established for the purpose of exercising the powers and duties of a planning commission. This board meets quarterly on the third Wednesday and individuals interested should be a City residents or a Garfield Township resident.

Farmers Market Advisory Board

Typically meets once a month to advise the Downtown Development Authority Board on upholding the mission of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market for the betterment of the market. For more information on this board, please contact the Downtown Development Authority at 231-922-2050. 

Local Officers Compensation Commission

This Commission determines the salaries of the City Commission. This board is a small commitment, meeting only in odd years. Interested individuals are required to be a City resident.  

For more information on these boards and other City boards, or to find our “Application to Become Involved, please visit

If you are interested in serving, please submit your application to the City Clerk’s Office by Friday, February 22, 2019 in person at 400 Boardman Ave., or by email:

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for all boards and commissions.