Flint, MI – In a nearly seven-hour Flint Special City Council meeting, council approved numerous agenda items including setting a public hearing for a brownfield redevelopment plan regarding Flint’s former Buick City site and suspending Councilman Eric Mays.
Newly-selected 7th ward Councilwoman Candice Mushatt was also sworn in at the beginning of the July 31, 2023, meeting.
Here’s what else happened:
Hearing set for Buick City’s brownfield redevelopment plan
Council voted 8-0 to set a public hearing regarding a proposed brownfield redevelopment plan for the former Buick City cite on Flint’s north side.
The hearing is set for 5:30 p.m. on August 14, 2023 in the William P. Harris Auditorium at the Genesee County Administration Building.
The plan calls for Ashley Capital, which is working to develop the site under the name Flint Commerce Center, LLC, to fund part of the roughly $300 million project through tax increment financing (TIF).
The development will include constructing seven industrial/distribution buildings, and up to 10 buildings total, over the course of the next two decades.
Representatives from Ashley Capital presented at the council meeting, noting that the only direct investment from the city of Flint remains the $3.25 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that have already been allocated to the project.
Mark Quimby, a development manager with Ashley Capital, told the council that currently, the site brings in about $43,000 per year in taxes. However, he said, with the full buildout of the development, the city could expect to receive an estimated $5 million per year in taxes.
Under the proposed TIF structure, Flint Commerce Center, LLC would capture 80% of incremental taxes on the remaining, roughly 275 acres of the brownfield—meaning that 80% of the property taxes from the site will go back to Ashley Capital, and 20% of the taxes will go through normal jurisdictions, like the city of Flint.
Quimby told Flint Beat such an arrangement is unusual for projects like this.
“Most brownfield plans capture 100% of the new incremental taxes. 90% capture is the most common deviation from that, but is still fairly rare except in certain places. 80% is not common at all. We are trying to give the city as much of the new tax as the project can make work,” he wrote in an email.
If approved, the developer will capture 80% of the site’s taxes for an estimated 25 years from the beginning of the development, or until eligible costs are reimbursed. Reimbursement can only occur for a maximum of 30 years from the beginning of the development, at which point the city receives all property taxes again.
Aside from adding to Flint’s tax roles, Quimby said that depending on what businesses wind up in the final development, there could be a large amount of jobs produced.
“Jobs will be based on the tenants that ultimately occupy the site. The estimated jobs will be somewhere between 2,500 to 4,000 jobs,” he said.
For now, a majority brownfield site is still owned by Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust while the deal with Ashley Capital goes through due diligence.
RACER was created in March 2011 in the wake of General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy. It has been tasked with cleaning up and selling the automotive manufacturer’s former sites for redevelopment since.
Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer asked what precautions would be in place to prevent Ashley Capital’s future tenants from contaminating the site with chemicals and creating another brownfield site.
Quimby responded that the environmental regulations in place today are not the same ones that were in place when the site was previously occupied, and RACER would continue to hold responsibility for preexisting environmental contamination on the site following its sale and redevelopment.
Flint resident Arthur Woodson said during public speaking that he remains concerned about about Ashley Capital’s potential tax capture on the project.
“Why are we cleaning up something that they are going to own?” he said. “RACER Trust has a duty to clean it up, let them go find that money.”
Mays was suspended from meetings until September 1, 2023 via a resolution that was introduced by Councilwoman Judy Priestley and Council Vice President Ladel Lewis.
There was also a resolution on the agenda to suspend Councilwomen Priestley and Eva Worthing, submitted by Mays, however that resolution was not approved.
During the discussion of the latter resolution, however, Councilwoman Tonya Burns was asked to leave the meeting after receiving two warnings.
The sixth ward councilwoman received her first warning after she used requests for information to clarify Lewis’ statements about two incidents where Councilwoman Eva Worthing stood up during verbal arguments with Burns.
Burns’ second warning came after she used a request for information to tell Lewis that she was abusing her power as chair of the meeting.
Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter left the remainder of the meeting with Burns.
Mays has since announced a lawsuit against Flint City Council regarding his suspension.
In all, Council voted on a 33 items at its July 31 meeting, here’s a complete list:
- Council approved a $90,000 change order to the contract with Rowe Inc. for comprehensive zoning services, for a new contract total of $350,000.
- Council approved a $70,000 change order for the purchase order to Weinstein Electric, bringing the total to $494,832.
- Council approved $400,000 in residential and commercial water meter purchases from Metron-Farnier.
- Council approved a $200,000 purchase order to Siemens Mobility, Inc. for Eagle Signal parts for city traffic lights.
- Council approved a $176,000 purchase order to Aldridge Trucking for various aggregates, bringing the two-year total to $332,000.
- Council approved a $140,000 purchase order to William E. Walter for HVAC services.
- Council approved a $78,028.72 agreement with Tyler Technologies New World System for standard software maintenance for July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.
- Council approved a $151,528 contract with American Leak Detection for water line leak detection.
- Council voted to accept the $72,000 Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Audible Crosswalk Assists grant.
- Council approved a $5,989.79 change order to a demolition contract with the Genesee County Land Bank for a contract total of $341,323.23 and to extend the contract by 2.5 years.
- Council voted to participate in the Financially Distressed Cities Villages and Township grant and to accept $129,720 in grant funds.
- Council voted to suspend Councilman Eric Mays from council meetings and responsibilities until September 1, 2023.
- Council approved a public hearing, to take place at 5:30 p.m. on August 14, 2023 in the William P. Harris Auditorium at the Genesee County Administration Building, regarding the proposed brownfield plan from Ashley Capital.
- Council voted down a resolution that would have suspended Councilwomen Eva Worthing and Judy Priestley from council meetings until September 1, 2023.
- Council approved a $3,379,000 contract with Commercial Contracting Corporation for the Water Pollution Control Waste Unloading Station Construction. This contract uses funds from the pending Michigan State Revolving Fund American Rescue Act Grant.
- Council approved a $2,081,000 contract with J.F. Cavanaugh Company for the Water Pollution Control Battery B Clarifier Flow Control. This contract uses funds from the pending Michigan State Revolving Fund American Rescue Act Grant.
- Council approved a $3,759,800 contract with Pullman Inc. for the Cedar Street Reservoir Rehabilitation as ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Council approved a $5,145,896 contract with Sorenson Gross for the Cedar Street Pump Rehabilitation as ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Council approved a $5,285,000 contract with Wade Trim, Inc. for the Third Avenue Pumping Station Force Main Rehabilitation. This contract uses funds from the pending Michigan State Revolving Fund American Rescue Act Grant.
- Council approved a $14,546,563 contract with J. Ranck Electric, Inc. for the Water Pollution Control Electrical Distribution Improvements. This contract uses funds from the pending Michigan State Revolving Fund American Rescue Act Grant.
- Council voted to drop a resolution that would have called for an investigative hearing on the Downtown Development Authority’s credit card usage.
- Council approved a resolution that would accept a $1 million grant for recycling carts and educational materials.
- Council approved a resolution that would accept a $2,492,000 grant for the purchase and distribution of recycling and trash carts and educational and outreach efforts. This portion of the grant also includes a resign donation for the carts that is valued at $900,000 and other in-kind services valued at $125,000, giving it a total value of $3,517,000.
- Council referred a resolution to its finance committee that would authorize a contract with Priority Waste, LLC. that would end June 30, 2028. The contract total for a fiscal year would be $6,722,407.80.
- Council dropped a resolution from the agenda that would have appointed Dr. Khalid M. Ahmed to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers until April 30, 2028.
- Council approved the appointment of Melissa N. Brown to the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library District Board starting immediately and ending on September 30, 2025.
- Council approved the appointment of Mildred Silva-Zuccaro to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers until April 30, 2028.
- Council voted down the approval of Shawn Hairston to the Flint Planning Commission for a three-year term ending on March 31, 2026.
- Council approved the appointment of Carol-Anne Blower to the Flint Planning Commission to fill the remainder of the term ending March 31, 2024.
- Council approved the re-appointment of Derwin S. Munroe to the Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, starting immediately and ending on August 7, 2024.
- Council approved the appointment of Karen Vance to the Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors for the remainder of the term ending on March 31, 2026.
- Council approved the appointment of Marsay Wells-Strozier to the Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors starting immediately and ending on March 27, 2024.
- Council approved the appointment of Billie Dantzler to the Ethics and Accountability Board for the remainder of a six-year term ending June 25, 2028.