Flint, MI—Flint City Council failed to approve a budget for the city’s 2024 fiscal year (FY) on June 5, 2023, violating a city charter mandate that the budget be adopted by the first Monday in June.

Though the body was meant to vote on the 2024 budget, a lighting assessment, a waste management fee and millage resolutions, the evening’s four-hour meeting instead focused largely on disagreements over council rules and missing officials from Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s administration.

“As we are here for budget adoption, I do not see all of the administration here to ask questions,” Councilwoman Tonya Burns said at the outset of the June 5, 2023 meeting. “So it looks like this will be the second year in a row where the budget process will be—it’s changed. Any last questions we have will not be answered. They just won’t.”

Clyde Edwards, Flint’s city administrator, later noted that all department heads were not required to attend the June 5 meeting.

“It is not customary that all the department heads are in attendance for a budget meeting,” Edwards said. “We did request those that were requested, the pertinent positions…they are here. And some others volunteered to be here.”

The issue with absent officials grew clearer as the meeting continued, as those present were unable to answer some of council’s questions, such as how much of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding was yet unspent or how much total revenue was expected from property taxes in the coming year.

Neither request received a direct answer from the city’s acting chief financial officer, Jane Mager, nor Edwards. The only other official called to the podium was Kevin Miller, a program manager who spoke on behalf of items under the purview of the city’s Planning and Development Department, as its incoming director, Emily Doerr, has not yet taken office.

Councilman Eric Mays noted that answers to such questions were important, as the council should review all the city’s funding collectively as part of the budgeting process.

“The auditors told this council, months ago, every revenue stream, including ARPA funds, block grant money and any other revenue should be budgeted by this council,” he said.

But Mays also blamed the council itself for members’ unpreparedness.

“We’re here today and have had budgeted—been derelict in our duty on just one fund—the general fund,” he said, referencing the other fiscal resolutions he and his colleagues were also meant to review last night. “This council is so lackadaisical.”

Flint City Councilman Eric Mays during the interview process for the selection of a permanent city clerk during a special City Council meeting at the Flint City Hall Council Chambers on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

Ultimately, council members did vote 5-0-2 to approve the city’s 2023-2025 Consolidated Plan.

That plan includes $4,019,588 for Flint’s Community Development Block Grant Program, $963,438 for its HOME Investment Partnerships Program and $356,897 for its Emergency Solutions Grant Program for FY 23/24.

Council Vice President Ladel Lewis and Councilmembers Dennis Pfeiffer, Quincy Murphy, Judy Priestley, and Tonya Burns voted in favor. Mays abstained, citing a lack of information, and Councilwoman Winfrey-Carter abstained, citing that she worked for one of the organizations receiving funding in the plan.

Council President Allie Herkenroder and Councilwoman Eva Worthing were absent for the vote.

All other fiscal resolutions were not addressed before the council adjourned its meeting for the Genesee County Administrative Building’s 9:30 p.m. closure.

Those resolutions included:

  • A 19.10 operating millage on all taxable property on the city’s 2023 assessment rolls to fund the city’s general operations, debt, police and fire services, city parks and public transportation.
  • A 1.8806 operating millage for the City of Flint Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) operating budget to be levied on “all real and personal property” located in the city’s DDA District.
  • A street lighting assessment and associated $72.18 fee per parcel to be applied to residents’ July 2023 tax bill. The resolution language estimated the fee would apply to nearly 38,500 parcels.
  • A $202.56 user fee for municipal solid waste collection and removal. This fee would be charged to residential and multi-family dwellings up to four units, and calculated by the number of units. It would be applied to residents’ July 2023 tax bill and does not include commercial and industrial properties, as they do not receive waste collection services from the City of Flint.
  • Adoption of the City of Flint’s proposed 2024 budget, which includes $66,664,194 in general fund expenditures and $63,664,194 in expected general fund revenue.

After the meeting, Flint City Clerk Davina Donahue told Flint Beat that council could call another special meeting to address the remaining resolutions. Otherwise, she said, those resolutions would be moved to the body’s next regular meeting, which is set for June 12.

In response to Flint Beat’s request for the consequence of missing the June 5, 2023, budget adoption deadline, Mayor Neeley shared the following statement:

The most painful outcome of the failure to adopt a budget could be a shutdown of the city government, which would have far-reaching consequences for the delivery of city services and directly impact the daily lives of Flint residents. I’m calling upon our entire community to hold city council obstructionists accountable for this massive failure.

The Flint City Council has another opportunity to pass a budget, with or without amendment, next Monday, June 12, and they have the ability to call a special meeting for this purpose at any time. Failure to do so could mean dire consequences for the quality of life in the city of Flint.

– Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley on Flint City Council failing to adopt the FY 2024 budget by the city charter mandated deadline

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....

One reply on “Flint City Council fails to pass 2024 budget, violates charter”

  1. Good. Get all these argumentative corrupt slackers out!!! Time for clean sweep and new management leaders. Thank you Lord. Youre doin just what you said you would!!!

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