Frequently Asked Questions

City Hall- General
What are Niles City Hall's hours of operation?
City Hall is currently open Monday - Thursday from 7:30am - 5:30pm and Friday from 7:30am - 11:30am.  We are closed from 12:00pm - 1:00pm for lunch.  The drive-thru, however, is open during lunch hours.
How do I know which department to call for different issues?
We've provided a diagram to make deciding who to call a little easier!  
City Clerk's Office
Do I need a permit to go door to door to sell items or to provide information?
Yes.  Whether you are selling an item or simply providing information, a  permit is required in order to go door to door. Permits are not issued the same day you apply.  Submit your application at least 3 days in advance of the date you want to sell.  For more information, click here.
Do I need a permit to sell merchandise on private or public property?

Yes.  For example: If you wanted to sell flowers on private property, you'd need to provide a letter from the property owner giving you permission to sell, complete the Permit Application and pay a fee.  A permit is also required to sell items on public property.  Permits are not issued the day you apply so remember to apply for your permit at least three days in advance.  Click here for more information.

Do I need a permit to operate a mobile food truck in the city?
Yes.  Apply at least 3 days prior to the date of sale.  A picture ID is required to submit all permit applications.  Also, if you wanted to vend in the parks you'd need a Park Vendor Permit, which can also be obtained in the Office of the City Clerk.  For More information click here.
What do I need to do in order to have a public event in the City of Niles?
You are required to complete an Event Application and submit the completed application at least 60 days prior to the event.  There is a $25 fee to submit the application. The Event Application can be found under the City Clerk's section on our Forms Page.  To complete an Event 1 or Event 2 form, click here.
Department of Public Works
What do I do if my sewer backs up into my home?
Call the Department of Public Works office at City Hall, give the contact person's name and the address where the problem is occurring. The Department will dispatch the sewer maintenance crew to the address and jet rod the sewer at no cost to the property owner. The property owner will then be advised as to what was found, if anything. Normally the problem exists in the sewer lateral, which is the line going from the main sewer to the building, however, at times there has been something lodged in the main sewer, such as roots, that will restrict the flow. If the problem is in the lateral, it is the responsibility of the property owner to contact someone to determine where the problem is in the line and make necessary repairs. If the sewer problem is found to be in the street right-of-way, and it becomes necessary to dig in the right-of-way, the City will pay for customary charges provided the homeowner and/or plumber follows the proper procedures. Contact the Department of Public Works for more information.
What do I do if I wish to have brush picked up?

The City of Niles offers a free limb and brush chipping program to its residents. Please keep the following rules in mind:

  1. Pickup is scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, from late April thru mid-October. 
  2. Residents must call the Department of Public Works (683-4700 x 3062) by no later than noon on the Friday just prior to the scheduled pickup day.
  3. Material must be placed at the curb or edge of roadway by no later than 7:00 am on the scheduled pickup day, with the cut ends facing toward the street whenever possible.
  4. Material must be easily handled by one man.
  5. Vines, leaves, limbs and brush with dirt attached, rose and other thorn bushes, lawn and flower clippings, and limbs with wire or nails will not be picked up. 
  6. The City of Niles reserves the right to limit or reject the material to be picked up due to size, quantity, or type.
  7. The program is not intended for removal of tree topping or removal that would normally be handled by a tree removal contractor.
  8. Do not cover the water meter lid in the boulevard. This limits the meter reader's access to our meter which may cause inaccurate readings.

As long as you are on the list and have abided by the above rules, your items will be picked up. Please keep in mind that this program is extremely popular, with the pickup list at times surpassing 100 locations. Because of this the Street Department sometimes must work several days in order to complete the pickup. If you are on the list but your limbs or brush are not picked up on the first day of the pickup, please do not become upset or concerned. It is recommended that you place your brush out at the street just prior to the scheduled pickup starting date. Placing the brush out several days in advance may cause grass in the boulevard to become yellow or die.

What happens to the mulch that is generated from the brush chipping program?
The mulch, which is ideal for placing around planting areas, walk paths, and other uses, is offered free of charge to area residents. Residents may pick up the mulch at the Street Department garage, 1815 Eagle St. (located directly behind Ring Lardner Junior High School), Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Residents must provide the necessary tools and containers. At various times the City will provide Saturday morning hours. Announcements will be made in the Niles Daily Star and on radio station WNIL-AM.
I'd like to make public sidewalk repairs to the walk in front of my home. Do I need a permit?
Yes, a permit s required for any type of public sidewalk work. The permit is free and is quite simple to obtain. Either fill out the on-line version of the form, or stop in at the Department of Public Works office at City Hall. You will need to know the address where the work is to be performed, what quantity you wish to construct or replace, the name of the contractor, and the date by which the work will be completed. The City will inspect the forms prior to the pouring of concrete and make a final inspection once the work is completed.
How do I find whether or not my refuse hauler is licensed to haul trash in the City?
The Department of Public Works issues permits to refuse haulers annually. Any refuse hauler that collects trash in the City of Niles is required to have a permit. There is a fee for the permit. Normally there are over 50 refuse hauling vehicles per year representing numerous companies that obtain the annual permits. The names are available upon request. It is also important to know that all licensed haulers in the City are required to offer recycling services to you. Contact the Department of Public Works for more information.
How does the leaf collection program work?

Normally, the fall leaf collection program begins the last week of October. The leaves are collected one ward at a time, starting the program in a different ward each year. 

Please follow these few simple rules:

  1. Rake leaves to the back of the curb and not onto the pavement.
  2. Only clean leaves will be picked up. Leaves mixed with brush limbs trash ashes, or other debris will not be picked up.
  3. Leaves must be raked out in advance of the pickers. Leaves raked out afterwards will not be picked up.

The goal is to go around the City two complete times, weather permitting. It s important to rake as many leaves out as possible in advance of the first pick up, since the second time around may be halted or delayed by bad weather. Normally the crews work ten hours per day, Monday through Saturday. It is always our goal to complete the entire program prior to December 15th, again, weather permitting. Should you not be able to rake your leaves out in time to be picked up by the City, you may take them to the Southeast Berrien County Landfill, 3200 Chamberlain Rd., Buchanan, and dispose of them. There is no charge.

Fire Department
How do I register rental property?
You are required to register your rental property in the City of Niles.  To register your property visit the Building Safety Division Office located inside the Niles Fire Station Complex at 1345 E. Main Street.  The Building Safety Division is accessed through the southeast door.  For more information, call the office at 269-683-2374.
How do I get a landfill voucher for a free dump pass to the Southeast Berrien County Landfill?
A Free Dump Pass (landfill voucher) is available once a year to residents in the City of Niles.  The dump pass allows approximately one pick-up truck of materials to be taken to the landfill.  Free Dump Passes are available in the Building Safety Division Office inside the Niles Fire Station Complex.  
Does the Fire Department provide free smoke detectors?
Yes.  The Niles Fire Department provides free smoke detectors for owner occupied homes.  Property owners may email or call the Building Safety Division at 269-683-2374 to schedule smoke detector installation.  

Free smoke detectors are not available for rental properties as the landlord is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient smoke detectors installed in rental units.  However; tenants should ensure that smoke detectors are working properly.
Where do I get a building, electrical or fence permit?
All building, electrical and fence permits are available from the Building Safety Division located at 1345 E. Main Street inside the Niles Fire Station Complex.  Use the southeast door of the fire station.
Police Department
Utilities Department
What do I need to start new utility service?

You will need to come into the utility office with a photo ID for everyone that will be on the account.  You will need to bring in your lease (if you are renting) or your closing paperwork (if you are purchasing a home).  

How much are utility deposits?
The residential deposit for electric is $200. The residential deposit for water is $50. Business deposits may vary. If you can provide a letter of credit from a utility company that you have had for the last 12  months that shows no more than 2 late payments, we can waive the deposit.    
Can I pay my bill online or by phone?
Yes.  You can pay online here on our website.  You can also pay by phone at 1-833-440-3768 OPTION 1.  
*Both options require your account number so be sure to have it when you are ready to make your payment.
Why is it that I never see the meter reader read my meters?
If you see the meter reader walking up to houses in your neighborhood to read meters, but you notice he never stops at your house - you have electronic meters for both your electric and water services.  In that case, the meter reader has specially programmed equipment in his truck that allows him to get the readings from your meters without having to leave his vehicle.
Who is responsible for repairing Water, Sewer, and Electric at my home?
Please click here for more information.

What's the process for tree trimming and why do you do it?
The Niles Utilities Department requires that trees be trimmed around electrical lines.  We may also remove trees, when necessary, in our efforts to keep your electricity flowing. Here's what you should know:
  • All adjacent property owners will be notified of intended tree work.
  • Door hangers will be provided outlining the tree trimming & removal plans.
  • Most property owners will receive a phone call or in-person visit prior to the work taking place in front of their property.
  • For trees removed in the "city boulevard" (area between the sidewalk & street), the wood will be hauled away & stumps will be grounded.
  • Wood Hauling occurs soon after tree removal. Stump grinding occurs later in late fall or early winter as weather/time permits.
  • Tree trimming on private property will be discussed with the individual property owner.
  • Tree wood will be left on site for private property operations.
  • Tree trimmers do not give permission to private individuals to remove wood. 
  • Permission for the removal of wood can only come from the Niles Utilities Department directly.
  • If you have questions or concerns regarding tree trimming call 269-683-4700 ext. 1321.  Leave a message and our Plant Growth Management Contractor will respond to you promptly.