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Flint, MI– During an eight-and-a-half hour meeting, the Flint City Council approved a substantial rubbish fund budget amendment, two appointments to the Water System Advisory Council, a bond issuance, and more.
There will be two meetings on Wednesday, Aug. 25, related to the trash contract. At 5 p.m. there will be an investigative hearing into the officials involved in the first bid process for waste contract, which was done incorrectly, and in private. After that, there will be a special meeting to enter into a new waste collection services contract.
Here is what the council did during the meeting on Aug. 23:
Approved transfer of funds to rubbish collection fund
The council voted to approve moving $715,555 to the rubbish collection fund to “complete contractual work agreements,” for the residential waste services contract. There was an attempt to postpone this item to the special meeting on Wednesday, but that vote failed.
Some council members expressed concern with approving a fund transfer before voting to approve a contract with a new waste collection services company.
During the last committee meeting on Aug. 18, the City’s purchasing manager Lauren Rowley said that while a budget amendment will be needed regardless of which bidder is chosen, this amount is specific to accepting Priority Waste LLC, for the job.
“There’s no way I’m going to vote for $715,000 additional dollars before I know who I want to vote for as it relates to the garbage contract,” Councilman Eric Mays said. While the special meeting on Wednesday is specifically to enter into a contract with Priority Waste, Mays has said he would like to hear from GFL Environmental, another garbage collection company, as well.
The council voted 5-4 to approve the transfer of funds.
Postponed and approved appointments
The council voted to postpone some appointments, and approve others at the meeting, with concerns about following the city charter. All the appointments have been on the council’s agenda for months.
The council voted to again postpone the appointment of Mildred Silva Zuccarro to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers. Zuccaro would have served the remainder of a five-year term that would expire April 30, 2022, replacing the Rev. Daniel S. Scheid, who recently resigned from the board.
Zuccaro is currently an outreach and enrollment navigator with Flint’s Hamilton Community Health Network, where she works to establish community engagement strategies to increase access to medical care, “with attention to Flint’s Latinx and Spanish speaking community.”
In previous meetings, Zuccarro’s appointment was postponed because her address was not listed on her resume. This time around, her appointment was postponed back to the Governmental Operations Committee meeting due to concerns of the number of medical professionals allowed on the board.
Councilwoman Monica Galloway proposed postponing this appointment to hear from the administration about whether the board could have four medical professionals on it.
“I don’t think she’s being put on because of medical background, but because she represents a significant population in our city A Hispanic population,” Council President Kate Fields said. “I don’t see any reason to postpone.”
The council voted 5-4 to postpone.
The next appointments were for the Water System Advisory Board. Two appointments were postponed because they are not Flint residents, and there need to be three Flint residents on the board before a non-Flint resident can be appointed.
The council voted to table the appointments of Dr. Nancy Love, and Shawn P. McElmurry, PhD, who are both civil and environmental engineering professors. Love, an Ann Arbor resident, works at the University of Michigan, and McElmurry, a Detroit resident, works at Wayne State University.
The council voted to approve the appointments of Jaron Houston and Gina Smith, both Flint residents, to the advisory council.
Houston has experience working for the Genesee Intermediate School District as an “Early On Service Coordinator/21st Century Team Leader.” Prior to that role, he worked as an academic adviser for Baker College of Flint, and a case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint.
Smith has a background in international health care settings, specifically working on projects related to HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and maternal and child health, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, she works as a Senior Program and Supply Chain Manager for the nonprofit organization, Population Services International.
Postponed Brownfield Redevelopment Plan for James P. Cole Blvd.
At the request of the administration, the council once again voted to postpone approval of the Brownfield Redevelopment Plan, which has been on council’s agenda for nearly six months.
The plan involves renovating an existing building on 1809 James P. Cole Boulevard, and constructing a new building. The council voted to move it back to the Legislative Committee meeting next week.
Approved an updated Support Emergency Operations Plan
The council voted to approve an updated Support Emergency Operations Plan (SEOP) at the request of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. This plan was developed to identify the responsibilities between the City of Flint and Genesee County in regards to “pre-disaster emergency management activities.”
There was a typo in the resolution that said “present,” instead of “president.” Because of this typo, Councilman Eric Mays requested the resolution be postponed. City Attorney Angela Wheeler said she would have the typo corrected.
Council President Fields said she didn’t think the resolution should be postponed due to a typo.
“There is nothing in this plan that is changed other than the fact that different people now hold the positions, we have a different sheriff, we have a different mayor, we have a different council president,” she said. “So all this plan did was change the names of those individuals. … I’m not willing to hold this up and put us in danger of not having an updated emergency support plan that details the responsibilities between the county and the city, etc., for a typo.”
The council voted to approve the plan with eight yes votes, and one abstention from Mays who said he didn’t think it was “silly” to do an amended plan to correct the typo.
Approved two contracts
The council voted to approve two contracts.
The first is a one-year contract extension to Granite Inliner LLC, formerly known as Liquiforce Services, for an additional year of storm and sewer re-lining services. This extension includes an additional $2.3 million, which reflects the same pricing from the previous year, with no price increases.
The second contract is new. The council approved entering a contract with MDOT for $1,086,398, to do construction work. The construction includes, “hot mix asphalt cold milling and resurfacing, storm sewer, concrete curb and gutter and sidewalk ramps, permanent signing and pavement marking along Miller Rd. from Ballenger Highway to Hammerberg Rd; and all together with necessary related work.”
Accepted two grants
The council voted to accept two grants for policing and mental health services.
The first grant is from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for $100,000 for the City of Flint Police Department’s police coverage of events downtown. Money from a previous grant carried over from last year, and has been added to this grant amount for a total of $134,187.
“In recent years, the downtown area has developed into a central attraction for Genesee County residents and City of Flint residents,” reads the resolution prepared by Chief Resilience Officer Lottie Ferguson. “It’s been awakened with new restaurants, shops, opportunities, and has been a place for new artists and local organizations to showcase their talents.
“This past year has been extremely difficult to navigate new mandates and procedures to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the resolution reads. “The City of Flint will use these funds to continue protecting all individuals who come to the downtown area.”
More than half of the funds, $70,079.35, will be used to cover the expenses of the Flint Police Department wages and fringe benefits. There are also funds specified for costs associated with traffic redirection and street closures, in the amount of $51,365.95. Administration costs are $12,741.70.
The second grant the council approved was the Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This grant is in the amount of $1 million, and is renewable for up to four years, for a total of $5 million, according to the grant resolution document. The document also states that Flint was one of only three cities to receive funding for 2021 through 2026, with this grant.
The ReCAST program in Flint is intended to “assist high-risk youth and families in the City of Flint impacted by the Flint Water Emergency,” and promote resilience and equity.
Approved Issuance of Sewage Disposal System Revenue Bond
The council voted to approve authorizing the issuance of the City’s Sewage Disposal System Revenue Bond.
According to the bond resolution, in 2019, the council adopted a Project Plan to do improvements on the sewage disposal system. The resolution states that the cost of improvements estimated by the engineers is not to exceed $40 million.
The “Series 2021” bonds are not to exceed $40 million for a period not to exceed 40 years. They will bear interest at a rate of 2.25%.
At the meeting, the Director of the Department of Public Works Michael Brown said the bonds were to help pay back the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is a low-interest loan financing program that helps municipalities construct necessary water pollution control facilities.
“We have been able to take money out of that fund, low-interest loans, and we’ve been able to get work done at the wastewater treatment plant,” Brown said.
He also said that up to 25% of the loan itself will be forgiven.
“If it was $40 million, $10 million of it would be free money coming to us to get work done,” Brown said.