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Flint, MI– Flint City Council unanimously voted to approve a $97,000 Enhanced and Integrated Blight Elimination and Community Policing grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation to the Flint Police Foundation.
The grant was awarded almost one year ago.
The award letter is dated Feb. 25, 2020, and the grant period is listed as April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.
Councilwoman Monica Galloway asked why the council was only just now seeing the grant for approval.
Chief Resilience Officer Lottie Ferguson said that this grant was “something that fell through the cracks.”
“There was someone working in the police department that was working on grants, there was a retirement, the position was not filled,” Ferguson said. “I have been recently asked to assist the police department in the compliance and management of their grants, and found that this grant had not been approved by council.”
According to the resolution document, the grant will increase “community involvement in blight elimination with the assistance of the City of Flint’s Neighborhood Safety Officers.”
The NSO program focuses on blight and abandoned vehicles. The grant funding will be used to cover the wages and direct fringes of the existing NSOs.
“I’m going to support this only because the money…is specifically allocated to the NSOs,” Councilwoman Galloway said.
Councilman Eric Mays said that, “anything dealing with blight and community policing, to some extent,” he would vote for.
There was another item on the agenda dated from last year that the council voted to postpone until they’ve received more information about it. The council was asked to approve a contract with Genesee Healthy Start Professional Services for the Lead Expansion program using a $451,440 grant.
The primary strategy of the Lead Expansion program, according to the resolution, is to provide health services to “those impacted by the Flint Water Emergency by promoting the recovery of various health barriers through implementation of public health outreach and resident health management strategies.”
The performance period dates are listed as July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
Ferguson said the delay on the contract reaching council was because they were not notified that the grant had been approved until the middle of December.
“There was an acceptance of a grant in previous years for a lower amount and so we thought it would be in our best interest to present the updated contract with the new dollar amounts included,” Ferguson said.
She said the contract could be signed without council approval, but felt because of the increase in funding it should be brought before the council. The contract had been approved by council before in previous years. The only thing changing is the additional funds. In 2018, their contract with the City of Flint was for $154,000.
Ferguson said the contract could “absolutely be postponed a couple weeks,” so the council voted to postpone it until the next meeting.