New to Houghton?

The following subjects are frequently asked by new residents. If you have other questions about living in Houghton or where to find something, just call the City Offices at 906-482-1700.

Do you live in the City of Houghton?

Believe it or not, this question has to be asked all the time. There are areas of Portage Township and the surrounding area that a lot of people generically refer to as “in Houghton”. We even share a zip code in with some places outside the City. Whether you live within the City limits or outside them has an effect on a lot of things like how your trash is collected, where you pay your water bill, who plows the roads, or which police department serves you.

Quite possibly the easiest way to tell if you live in the City is to look at your address. Addresses within the City limits are 3-digit or 4-digit house numbers. A 5-digit house number is most likely outside of the City limits.

Pay Your Utility Bill Online

City Utilities

Water, sewer, and landfill (trash) are billed monthly by the City of Houghton to each residence.


Water meters are read every month. The charge for water is $3.44 per 100 cubic feet.


Sewer is $6.54 per 100 cubic feet based upon water consumption. Lawn watering meters can be purchased at City Hall for $100. Sewer charges are then credited for water that does not enter the sanitary sewer system.

Automatic City Utility Payment Form

Pay your utility bills automatically on the due date by ACH. Print out the form and fill it out and send it to the City of Houghton, PO Box 606, Houghton, MI 49931. The City will then automatically take the amount of your bill out of your checking account on the due date. You will still receive your postcard bill every month showing you the amount due and informing you that it will be automatically deducted. If you have any questions, please call 483-4643 and ask for Cleo. ACH Form.

High Water Bill?

If you have a high water bill you may have a leak. Below is a link to instructions on how to look for leaks in your home.

How to check for water leaks (PDF Format)

Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report

2018 Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report (PDF Format)

Policies Regarding Frozen Water Pipes, Seasonal Let-Runs, and Catastrophic Water Bills

Resolution 2014-1508 (PDF Format)

Other Utility Providers

The City does not operate the gas, electric, or cable utilities in Houghton. Questions about your bill or service should be addressed to:

Natural Gas:
SEMCO Energy

Upper Peninsula Power Company

Cable Television:
Charter Communications

Trash Collection & Recycling

The City contracts with Waste Management for trash/recycling collection within the City limits. A split truck is used to haul both trash and recycling simultaneously.

Trash and recycling is collected on Tuesday mornings East of Bridge Street and Thursday mornings West of Bridge Street. Items to be picked up must be placed at the curb BEFORE 7:00 a.m. on pickup day – not the night before.

Waste Management honors the following holidays. Your garbage pick-up will be delayed one day later after these holidays for the week of the holiday:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

If the holiday falls on the weekend, there is no disruption in service.


Trash must be placed in special city bags. The bags are sold for $10 for a package of 10 – 33 gallon bags and $5 for a package of 10 – 16 gallon bags. The City does encourage you to place your bagged trash in a can or container to help prevent wildlife getting to it.  

These bags can be purchased at: the City of Houghton office, Swift Hardware, Surplus Outlet, Jim’s Foodmart, Econo Foods and Wal-Mart.


The City offers single-stream recycling which is picked up the same day as trash.

The City provides wheeled recycling containers to residents for a one-time $10 fee that will be placed on your water bill. These containers can be purchased while supplies last. In order to receive a container, please call the office at 482-1700 and request one.

Special bins are NOT required for recycling. Recyclables can be placed in any bin or tote that is marked “recyclables” to distinguish them from the trash.

Please read the attached pdf list of what can and cannot go into the recycle bin and how to prepare your recycling materials.

A lot of things not accepted curbside may be recycled elsewhere. The link below will bring you to the Copper Country Recycle/Reuse website for other information.

Resource Links

List of acceptable Recycling Items

Mattress Disposal

Questions can be directed to the City of Houghton at 906-482-1700 or Waste Management at 800-963-4776 or

Parking Permits

Shelden Avenue (main street) provides one hour free parking downtown. 

Side streets, surface lots and parking decks provide two hours of free parking as well as permit parking. Permits are available for a single day or for longer periods. The City of Houghton asks that people working downtown park in permit parking areas to maintain adequate customer parking on Shelden Avenue. There are also free parking lots located throughout the downtown. 

A few neighborhoods also have special parking considerations. If you have questions about parking, the Houghton Police Department can answer them.

The City of Houghton Police Department sells the parking permits. Please call them at 906-482-2121 for more information.






Parking between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am is prohibited on all city streets between November 1st and April 30th every year.  This is done to keep the streets clear for the plow trucks to move the snow.  

On Shelden Avenue, parking is prohibited between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am all year.

Parking Tickets

Parking tickets may be paid during business hours at the Houghton Police Department. A drop box is located at the City Center main doors at 616 Shelden Avenue for after hours payments, or the ticket/payment may be mailed using the ticket/envelope.


Winter will bring snow. The City plows the streets. Plowing is done at night, when traffic is less, for most of the winter. This operation usually results in some of the snow from the street being deposited in driveways. Your driveway is your responsibility and the City will not remove snow from it.

Be considerate of your neighbors when removing your snow. Being smart about managing snow over the winter will save a lot of anguish as spring approaches.  

Getting around Houghton

Trying to get somewhere in town? Following are a few tips:

  • The Portage is pretty much north from anywhere in Houghton.
  • A Houghton City “street” generally runs north/south. An “avenue” runs east/west.
  • House numbers generally are even numbers on the north side of the street and odd numbers on the south side.
  • Bridge Street is a sort of dividing line. As you go west or east along any avenue away from Bridge Street; the house numbers will increase.
aerial view of the city of Houghton and lift bridge