Flint, MI – More than 100 Flint-area residents came out to witness the Flint City Council meeting on Monday, May 22, 2023.
The night began with a four-hour Special Affairs Committee meeting, which featured 45 public speakers, many of whom talked about their concerns regarding the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
During the committee meeting, Councilman Eric Mays left after receiving two warnings.
The first was issued during an appeal of a warning given to Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter. Mays made a “request for information” to the chair, Council Vice President Ladel Lewis, asking if she thought it was okay to remove someone from their elected seat for having a conversation. Lewis said Mays was abusing privileged motions.
The second warning came after Mays appealed Lewis’ ruling that he was not staying on topic during a discussion. Lewis issued the warning when Mays told the audience that they did not need to fill out a slip for public speaking in a committee meeting like they would in council meeting.
Here’s what else happened at the May 22, 2023 Flint City Council meeting:
The host of public speakers regarding Flint’s ARPA money followed a special city council meeting to discuss ARPA funds on Saturday, May 20, 2023.
That meeting was called by Mays and Councilwoman Tonya Burns, though Winfrey-Carter and Councilman Quincy Murphy were also present.
Flint resident Adam Ford, who spoke during public speaking on Monday night, suggested councilmembers should consider resigning because they haven’t finished allocating the city’s remaining $15.66 million in ARPA funds.
“Please spend the ARPA money now,” he said. “This is pathetic. This is beyond pathetic. Like, resign or do something, emergency meetings every day.”
Other residents brought up concerns about home repairs and their belief ARPA funding should be allocated toward that.
“Now I need a roof on my house. Y’all got the money? I need a roof on my house. I don’t need all this other stuff that y’all is doing,” Brenda Harris said, noting that she’s lived in Flint’s first ward for 51 years.
During the Special Affairs Committee meeting, council voted 5-3 to send a resolution related to ARPA funds and individual homeowners back to the Governmental Operations Committee.
Councilwoman Judy Priestley, who is on the council’s ad-hoc ARPA committee, said that home repair grant applications are the first ones being considered by the city’s ARPA Community Advisory Committee.
“These are the applications that were provided, that were completed, by the organizations who are going to be responsible for the funding,” she said. “This money is going to be going to the people. They [the organizations] are just going to be facilitating the repairs.”
According to the city, $5 million of Flint’s remaining ARPA grant funds are earmarked for home repair and improvement grants.
Lewis, who also serves on the ad-hoc ARPA committee, said the city received 18 nonprofit applications in the home repair category.
“These are not residential applications because the nonprofits will be servicing the residents,” Lewis said.
During the Special Affairs Committee meeting, council voted to send a fair housing resolution back to the Governmental Operations Committee due to Winfrey-Carter being put on the ad-hoc committee without her being notified.
The resolution would have created an Ad-Hoc Housing Committee to address affordable housing issues, specifically regarding returning citizens.
Council then voted to approve several resolutions and appointments through a consent agenda in the regular council meeting. The body voted 7-0, with Winfrey-Carter and Mays absent, on the following:
- Council approved the appointment of Bishop Roger L. Jones Sr. to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers for a five-year term ending on April 30, 2028.
- Council approved the appointment of Trachelle C. Young to the Ethics and Accountability Board to fill the vacancy left by Art Evans in February 2023 for the remainder of a six-year term, ending June 25, 2024.
- Council approved the appointment of Emily Doerr as Flint’s Planning and Development Director at an annual compensation rate of $110,000, starting June 12, 2023.
- Council approved a resolution approving a $10,000 change order with MEI Total Elevator Solutions for replacing the emergency bell unit and other damages for the two-traction elevators at City Hall. This brings the total contract amount to $354,153.
- Council approved an additional $81,000 purchase order to Polydyne, Inc. for polymer for the Water Pollution Control Facility, bringing the contract total to $351,000.
- Council approved a $123,767 Justice Assistance Grant agreement between the city, Flint Township, Burton, Mount Morris, Genesee County and the Department of Justice to fund overtime initiatives, education, training, conferences and equipment for the police agencies.
- Council approved a $142,100 purchase of four tow-behind air compressors for the Water Department.
- Council approved a $239,198.15 purchase order to Jack Doheny Company for vactor truck #7406 repairs. This resolution also included an amendment to the city’s budget to transfer $214,198.15 in insurance settlement funds to Sewer Fund No. 590. The truck was involved in an accident and sustained extensive damage, according to the resolution.
- Council approved a $373,000 change order with the Michigan Department of Transportation for new manhole covers, additional sidewalks and temporary milling for driveways for reconstruction on Miller Road, bringing the contract total to $1,459,398.
- Council approved a resolution to recognize Reverend A.J. Pointer with an honorary street sign on one block of East Myrtle Avenue, between Industrial Avenue and North Street.
- Council approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Flint Firefighters Union including a new wage scale for firefighters, trainees and second drivers.
- Council approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Flint Police Officers Labor Council to provide general wage increases.
- Council approved an amended resolution to allocate $250,000 for the payment of damage claims arising from sewage backup into residential properties last month.
- Council voted to accept a $3,731.40 grant from the Michigan Clean Water Corps to coordinate a volunteer clean-up of Thread Creek. The grant is to be used between June 1 and September 30, 2023.
- Council voted to accept a $100,000 Affordable Connectivity Grant through the United States Federal Communications Commission for subsidizing the cost of internet and computing equipment for qualifying, low-income households.
- Council approved a sixth change order for $139,048 with BS&A Software for providing software applications, like financial data processing software, between May 1, 2023 and May 1, 2024. This brings the contract total to $999,300.
- Council approved a $3,500 Oak Business Center purchase order increase to William E. Walter to cover invoices for unanticipated plumbing/HVAC expenses, bringing the total to $336,926.
- Council approved $259,000 for auditing services from Rehmann Robson, plus $10,000 allocated for out-of-pocket expenses.
- Council approved the Biennial Master Fee Schedule, which includes water and wastewater volumetric rates and service charges.
- Council approved the renaming of the Flint Public Library to be the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library.
- Council approved a $474,690.84 payment to the Michigan Department of Transportation after a city vehicle caused damage to the Hill Road overpass on U.S. Highway 23.
- Council approved the use of $500,000 from the ARPA “Contingency allocation” for city hall environmental remediation.
- Council approved a grant application and acceptance for the Protecting MI Pension Grant.
- Council approved an ordinance amendment that classifies entering or remaining in a condemned structure or a structure found to be unsafe or hazardous to be trespassing. It also prohibits people from defacing or removing a placard or notice posted by a code or fire code official. Any person who violates this ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in prison or a fine of up to $500.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include an ordinance amendment approval that was included as part of the council’s consent agenda. The amendment was thought to have been separated by some City officials at the time of this article’s original publication.