Flint, MI—At around 10 p.m. Wednesday night, the Flint City Council decided to recess the rest of their committee meetings to Thursday, April 22, at 5 p.m. following severe technical difficulties.
Towards the end of the meeting, councilmembers’ voices were echoing to the point that carrying on the virtual meeting would not be possible.
Before the meeting was recessed, the council went into executive session, called a special meeting to discuss $99.33 million in federal aid coming to the city, and discussed the following agenda items:
Resolution to issue a $50,000.00 purchase order for street light repair
The council voted to move this resolution to the next regular council meeting. If approved, a purchase order of $50,000 would be issued to Siemens Mobility for “Eagle signal repair parts and services,” for Flint’s traffic lights.
On Oct. 26, 2020, City Officials approved a purchase order of $120,000 for the same purpose. The Department of Public Works/Transportation Division requested the additional $50,000 for “several intersections that need to be upgraded.”
The City of Flint’s Director of Transportation Infrastructure John Daly III, said there are two programs being undertaken.
“The first one is that we’re in the process of transitioning from our old analog controllers and incandescent bulbs that were in the signals, to digital controllers and LEDs, and we’re about two thirds of the way through the city. That program’s been going on for three years,” he said. “And then there are also parts that will add services that will be necessary when we have a traffic signal failure, say due to inclement weather.”
According to the resolution document, the intersections that will be upgraded are: Court St. and Crapo; Avon St. and Court St.; and Atherton Rd. and Van Slyke.
Resolution to issue $29,310 purchase order for electrical support services
The council voted to move this resolution to the next regular council meeting. If approved, a $29,310.00 purchase order would be issued to Weinstein Electric “for additional support services for the City of Flint Oak Business Center.” The center is a facility that provides office space to businesses.
According to the Director of Planning and Development, Suzanne Wilcox, the center has 18 industrial units, 15 office units, a conference room and a training room.
“This resolution is to provide upgrades to the Oak Business Center in units, including lighting, changing lighting to LED, repairing perimeter lighting, and adding electrical outlets to one of the units,” Wilcox said.
Budget amendment to transfer funds from the General Fund to the City Clerk’s Office
The council voted to move this budget amendment to the next regular council meeting. This budget amendment comes at the request of the City Clerk, Inez Brown. Brown would like to add funds totaling $169,556.28 to cover the costs of the May 2021 election, and the November 2020 election. The money would cover election wages, transportation, temp workers, overtime, and postage.
Here’s a breakdown of what the funds would go to:
- Election Wages Acct. No. 101-262.110-702.000 = $45,000.00
- Election Wages Acct. No. 101-262.100-702.000 = $16,489.15
- Election Transportation Acct. No. 101-262.100-860.000 = $5,000.00
- Election Rentals Acct. No. 101-262.100-940.000 = $6,105.00
- Election Temp Workers Acct. No. 101-262.110-707.000 = $27,982.26
- Election Overtime Acct. No. 101-262.100-713.000 = $14,000.00
- Election Overtime Acct. No. 101-262.110-713.000 = $41,979.87
- Election Postage Acct. No. 101-262.100-902.000 = $13,000.00.
“I will certainly be supporting this. Because we need to make sure that the clerk’s office is fully funded to ensure that we have elections that are as they should be,” Council President Kate Fields said.
According to the resolution document, the City budgeted for two elections (Aug. and Nov. 2020) elections in the FY2021 election budget, but additional funds are needed for the third election in May of this year.
Resolution to retain a permanent easement on the North Dort Highway for a secondary water source
The council voted to send this resolution to the next regular council meeting. If approved, the resolution would approve retaining a permanent easement on the North Dort Highway property at Frances Road for city use including Flint’s secondary water source.
The City of Flint is completing construction of the water source through a partnership with the Genesee County Drain Commission and the Great Lakes Water Authority.
According to Attorney Bill Kim who spoke on this item at the council meeting, retaining this permanent easement would allow the City to continue to use the property for a water source even if the City later sold it.
The easements for the GCDC and GLWA were discussed at the April 7 committee meeting.
Set a Special Meeting to discuss the incoming $99 million COVID-19 aid coming to Flint
Councilman Eric Mays proposed setting a special finance meeting within the next five to 10 days with various officials to discuss the $99.33 million in federal aid coming into the City.
The funds have certain requirements and restrictions, and how the funds will be used have not been decided or fleshed out yet.
Some council members were opposed to setting a meeting just yet.
Council President Fields said she was in a virtual meeting with Mayor Sheldon Neeley and Dan Kildee, where it was said that the Treasury Department did not yet have clear guidelines for the use of funds. Because of this, she said a special meeting at this point in time would be “premature.”
“The public can certainly talk about wish lists…but it’s kind of…the same thing as having a grant. Until you know what the eligible uses of that grant happen to be, you really can’t have much of a meaningful dialogue,” Fields said.
Councilman Mays said he didn’t want to be talking about the funds “behind closed doors.” He said he would like to speak with the public about the funds in an open meeting with a suspension of some council rules to allow for more discussion and dialogue.
Councilwoman Monica Galloway said that many other communities are already having these discussions, and that there is already some information out about the fund use, so having a meeting would be beneficial.
“We need to remember that as the city council, as legislators, this is the people’s money,” Galloway said. “It is the people’s voice, it is their priorities, it is what they want to see done…I believe that every step of the spending of this $99 million needs to be spoken from the rooftop in an open meeting.”
After attempts to postpone the meeting to a later date failed, the council voted 8-1 to approve setting a special meeting. Councilwoman Eva Worthing was the only no vote. The date for the meeting has yet to be determined.