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City Debt 



When Mayor Nickels first took office, he made it a priority  to lower the city's debt. In 2010, the city's debt was $75,130,000, which was one of the highest amongst city's our size. By the end of 2020, the city's overall debt will be under $50,000,000. Mayor Nickels has presented a budget every single year where the city's debt has decreased! 

According to the last audit done for the city for the 2019 financials: “The City of Manitowoc’s total debt decreased by $6,391,340 during the current fiscal year.”

Trusted, Consistent Leadership! 

The Past 12 Years of Success

Trusted, Proven Leadership 

Undesignated Reserves


When Mayor Nickels first took office, he also made it a priority to get the budget back in line. There were some very difficult decisions that needed to be made the first few years, but today the city's budget is balanced and in great fiscal health. In 2010 the undesignated reserves for the city were at $16,981. In 2020 they are at $5,300,000. 

Trusted, Consistent Leadership! 


Electric Rate Decreases and Completely
Debt Free


YOUR Community owned and operated Public Utility! 


Community Update from April 20, 2020:

City of Manitowoc
 electric customers will see a 5.56 percent electric rate DECREASE effective for Manitowoc Public Utilities bills beginning May 1st.

Mayor Justin Nickels said, “This is the fourth consecutive electric rate decrease for the City of Manitowoc rate payers. MPU continues to reap the benefits of operational efficiencies and power supply market strategies.” MPU’s last three rate decreases were three and one half percent (3.5%) in October 2016, two percent (2.0%) in July of 2014 and four percent (4.0%) in May of 2009.

The average residential customer using 650 kWh of energy per month will see an approximate reduction in their bill from $70.19 to $66.29, or $3.90 per month.

CEO and General Manager of MPU Nilaksh Kothari said that the major driver in this rate decrease is a reduction in power supply costs as well as a reduction in depreciation rates on the power plant assets. “MPU is in a very strong financial position following retirement of outstanding electric bonds in 2019. We are proud to report that MPU is completely debt free”.

And on top of that!

Community Update from May 28, 2020: 


Additional 3% Electric Rate Decrease to take Effect in June:

Coming off the heels of a 5.6% electric rate decrease implemented only one month ago, Manitowoc Public Utilities

’ electric customers will see an additional rate decrease of approximately 3%. The additional decrease is due to reduced energy prices driven by reductions in energy consumption related to the COVID-19 pandemic which is being passed through from MPU’s wholesale power provider.

MPU is able to pass energy savings on to customers through the Power Cost Adjustment Clause (PCAC) on the MPU bill. The PCAC is a true-up mechanism that automatically adjusts customers’ bills to reflect changes in power supply costs. “The pass-through on the PCAC will be phased-in beginning with the June billing, and will be fully implemented in August”, Nilaksh Kothari, MPU General Manager said. “Overall savings on electric bills will range from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, depending on customers’ energy use.” This is on top of the 5.6% decrease implemented a month ago.

Mayor Justin Nickels thanked the MPU Commission for passing the savings to the citizens of Manitowoc during this COVID-19 pandemic which will help citizens and local businesses as well.

As a publicly owned utility, MPU is able to pass savings directly to our community’s residents and businesses. This is one of the many benefits of a community owned utility. “MPU understands the difficulties many have encountered during this pandemic and is pleased to be able to provide some relief through lower electric rates. We are proud to be your ‘Community Owned…Customer Focused’ service provider.”

Trusted, Consistent Leadership! 


2021 Budget

Moving Manitowoc Forward!

- A property tax decrease!

- Over $6 million in road repairs including; Custer Street (S. 26th to S. 39th), S. 30thStreet (Division to Dewey), Broadway Street (RR Tracks to Lower Schuette Park), S. 7th Street (Franklin to Marshall) amongst other road repairs

- Washington Street (State Highway 42) repairs from S. 15th to S. 18th

- Over $1.5 million in continued downtown improvements including; safer intersection at Maritime/8th, more flowers and trees, new public parking lot on 8th between York and Buffalo, more dollars for the façade grant program, and reconstructing Quay Street from 6th to 8th

- $3.3 million dollars to build roads/sewers/lighting/public access boat/kayak launch to the Manitowoc River on the River Point District (old CN peninsula)

- $300,000 to repair and widen Mariners Trail (Manitowoc sections)

- A new sidewalk on N. 8th Street from the Humane Society to Albert Drive

- Creates a locally controlled Revolving Loan Fund for small businesses

- Creates a COVID fund to address future budget shortfalls

- No layoffs/furloughs for any city employees and the employee pay plan is fully funded

Also! The city’s debt will continue to decrease (will be under $50 million, which is down from $76 million in 2010). And the city’s undesignated reserves will be around $5.3 million, which is up from $16,981 in 2010.

This is a great budget for the Citizens of Manitowoc!

Progress and more great things to come in 2021!


Additionally, in 2020 the Common Council approved $150,000 in partnership with Manitowoc Public Utilities, The Chamber of Manitowoc County, and a few private businesses to provide grants to small businesses due to the COVID-19 Pandemic! This was a program championed by Mayor Nickels!

Trusted, Consistent Leadership!

22-Point Plan

What was promised in 2017?

In the 2017 Mayoral race I presented a "22 Point Plan" for 22 areas of the city I wanted to focus on over the next 4 years. I feel part of your decision for re-electing me should be to evaluate what I promised in 2017 and what we actually accomplished. Let's check out the list!


  • Downtown: What else can be said about this. It get's better every year, and there is a lot more coming in 2021 (as you can see by the budget) 

    • Facade Grant Program​

      • Pizza Garden and many others! ​

    • Murals 

      • The Bobber!!!​

    • Art

    • Flowers/Trees

    • The historic clock/bus shelter

    • Schuette Building Renovation (city support)

    • Strand Adventures (city support)

    • Mayor's Youth Action Council helped! 

  • Mid City Mall/Elks Club Site: The Elks Club is currently being developed with a 45,000sq.ft. Baycare facility, Angelous Senior Living, apartments, duplexes, and Community First Credit Union has purchased some land. This land will have enormous tax revenues and the goal is that the development here will spur interest in the Mid-City Mall site (still privately owned). 

  • Expo Ground: The city continues to support growth there and we saw Meijer build on a major portion of that land. 

  • Peninsula off 10th Street Bridge: This is the CN Peninsula that the city purchased in 2019 and in 2021 I have planned $3.3 million in infrastructure to help support 2 major projects that the City Council is currently working with. Hopefully good news coming soon! 

  • Farmer's Market Lot: This lot was redone with new lighting, added grass space, electrical for food trucks and large events, and has become the "city-center"! 

  • Coal Pile by Quay Street: Sadly not much here, except we did spruce the area up with more trees around the coal pile and the added lighting along the river to the S.S. Badger! 

  • Open land next to Burger Boat: We have seen tremendous growth along our river, with the newest business being Kone Crane! We continue to promote our industrial port! 

  • Industrial Park: We are almost full! Which is why the city purchased 90 more acres off Veibahn/Hecker to continue our growth. You should see a few more businesses building in the industrial park over the next 2 years! Plus we saw Redline Plastics build in the industrial park this year, with Color Craft adding on. 

  • Waldo Boulevard Corridor: Done! 

  • Calumet Avenue Corridor: This IS a top priority for the next 4 years (including Washington Street)

    • The Mirro Building was demolished! ​

  • Neighborhood Redevelopment Programs: We have a very successful blight program we implemented which has eliminated many properties that were bringing down property values and were ruining neighborhoods. We also implemented the 5422Home program to incentivize folks to move to Manitowoc! 

  • Education and Culture: We continue to support the arts, our library, we contributed to the Capitol Civic Centre capital campaign, and we have a strong working relationship with the school district. 

  • Infrastructure and Parks: We have invested $22 million into roads and infrastructure over the past 4 years, finishing many major corridors. We have invested in many of our parks, including a new fenced-in dog park, Citizen Park, Red Arrow Park improvements, Aquatic Center expansion, the skate park, Miracles Park,  lower schuette park, Silver Creek Park Fieldhouse upgrade, and now Camp Vits!

Trusted, Consistent Leadership!


Remember when Manitowoc Company left?

Remember how worried we were when The Manitowoc Company left Manitowoc? 

Since then, under Mayor Nickels' Leadership, 2 new outstanding businesses have re-located in their facilities! 

Robinson Metal

Alliance Laundry 

Trusted, Consistent Leadership! 


What else has happened?

  • Converting the city's streetlights to LED which will have a savings over $100,000 for the taxpayers and a 5-year payback 

  • Rejuvenated the Mayor's Youth Action Council, which is made up of High School students from Lincoln, Lutheran, and Roncalli 

  • Rejuvenated Community Updates on WOMT every Thursday morning and regularly appear on WFRV for community updates

  • Started the first annual 4th of July Parade 

  • Provided tax dollars for the first time ever to public art (murals) throughout the city, the first being Red Arrow Park 

  • Started the "Tom Drill, City of Manitowoc Volunteer of the Year" Award

    • 2015: Tom Drill​ (inaugural winner) 

    • 2016: Lia Haile 

    • 2017: Randy Heinzen

    • 2018: Laura Ziemer

    • 2019: Rob and Denise Roseff

  • Constructing an open air shelter/restroom on the Mariners Trail by the blue rail beach 

  • Advocated for and recieved approval from the City Council for the first fenced-in dog park at Halverson Park

  • Provided tax dollars to support the Miracles League Field (and now amazing park and skatepark) 

  • Provided $50,000 toward the "Save the Flame" fund for the Veteran's Memorial flame 

  • Supported the National Marine Sanctuary 

  • A plethora of improvements at Red Arrow Park/Beach 

  • Work tirelessly to get the S.S. Badger Carferry to become a National Historic Landmark (which it now is!) 

  • Changed the winter parking ban regulations to allow more parking on the streets during the winter (when there isn't snow you should be able to park on the streets...and now you are able to!) 

  • Moved operations of the Wastewater Treatment Facility from the city to Manitowoc Public Utilities 

    • This will create much better efficiencies which will have a real dollar savings for utility ratepayers ​

  • Created the "Mayor's Choice Award" for the annual Youth Art Month at the Rahr-West Art Museum 

  • Upgraded Cabin 1 in Silver Creek Park and the Fieldhouse in Silver Creek Park 

  • Staunchly supported the first ever Community Garden in the city 

  • Advocated for city funding for the Youth Baseball Complex in Citizen Park ($250,000) 

  • Advocated for city funding for the Capitol Civic Centre's ACT II ($100,000) 

  • Got the first ice rink downtown in winter 

  • Support for our Sister-City Relastonship: Kamogawa, Japan 

Trusted, Consistent Leadership! 

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