Flint, MI—On their third attempt, the Flint City Council voted to adopt the city budget, with two amendments giving funds to senior centers and the city clerk’s office.
The council first missed the deadline to adopt the budget on June 7, when council members could not compromise on adding budget amendments.
At a special meeting on June 9, the council again did not adopt the budget, due to technicalities with voting, “add-on resolutions,” and “reconsiderations.”
At the June 14 meeting, Mayor Sheldon Neeley presented the council with a budget with two amendments.
The first amendment included additional funding for senior centers in the amount of $40,000 ($20,000 for Hasselbring Center and $20,000 for Brennan Center). The second amendment included an additional $60,000 to the city clerk’s office for operating expenditures related to the census and codification.
These two amendments were similar to amendments that Councilperson Eric Mays had proposed at previous budget meetings for the 2021 fiscal year. On June 7, Mays proposed moving $60,000 from the general fund balance to the city clerk’s office. The amendment failed with a 4-5 vote. He also proposed moving $40,000 from the general fund balance to provide funds for Hasselbring and Brennan Senior Centers. This amendment also failed with a 4-5 vote.
During the special affairs meeting on June 14, the council was divided on whether the amendments could be considered “new,” since they seemed to be the same as amendments that had previously failed to pass. Half of the council believed they could vote on the budget with amendments as a whole without a problem, while the other half believed that the amendments needed to be voted on separately.
Councilperson Eric Mays called the budget with amendments “a compound motion.”
“I have the right to vote on amendments and deal with them separately versus a compound motion to amend the budget and at the same breath, at the same time, vote to adopt it,” Mays said.
Following the meeting, Mays said the compound motion was a violation of the charter, section 3-202, which states that “no ordinance or resolution may contain more than one (1) subject.”
He said the amendment about the senior centers, and the amendment about the clerk’s office, were two different subjects.
“The headlines in the mainstream media were all about the city council violating the charter by not approving the budget, and that’s true,” Mays said. “But now we’ve violated the charter again, with this multi-subject matter illegal resolution.”
Still,the council voted to adopt the budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023 as amended, passing with a 5-4 vote. Councilperson Maurice Davis, Councilperson Jerri Winfrey-Carter, Councilperson Monica Galloway, and Councilperson Mays voted against it.
Mays later attempted to bring forth more budget amendments increasing funding for the senior centers and the city clerk’s office, but with a 4-5 vote, the council turned them down.
The council also voted to accept and appropriate grant funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city’s allocation of the funds totals $94,726,664.00. The city received the first of two payments on May 19, 2021, for $47,363,332.00; the second payment is expected in May 2022. It passed with a 9-0 vote.
The council will meet again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. to discuss other postponed agenda items from the June 14 meeting.