Flint, MI—Flint City Council approved a financing agreement for a downtown Flint development, an amended contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority, an appointment to the housing commission and various other agreements and purchases at its Jan. 9, 2023 meeting.

Here’s a full rundown of what Council voted on this week:

Approved a PILOT agreement for a downtown mixed-use development that will house the YMCA of Greater Flint

Council unanimously approved the second reading of a resolution granting a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement to Uptown Reinvestment Corporation for a mixed-use development at 719 Harrison St. The development will include 50 residences, retail and office space, and a new home for the YMCA of Greater Flint.

The PILOT agreement will allow the city to collect a service charge equal to 10% of annual rent payments Uptown collects from the development over 30 years instead of property tax.

Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer was absent for the whole Jan. 9 meeting, so the vote came to 8-0 in favor of the agreement.

Approved a lawsuit’s partial settlement agreement

Council voted 5-2 to approve a settlement in the matter of Matthew Baker et al v. City of Flint et al. in the amount of $12,500 to Lisa Gordon, $45,000 to Tracee Walker, $175,000 to Mary Buszek, $80,000 to Alfino Donastorg, and $47,500 and 40 hours of paid time off to Donald Lewis. The payment will be drawn from the appropriated funds in the litigation and suits line item of the city’s budget.

Council President Allie Herkenroder, Council Vice President Ladel Lewis, and Councilmembers Quincy Murphy, Eva Worthing and Judy Priestley voted yes. Councilwomen Jerri Winfrey-Carter and Tonya Burns voted no, and Councilman Eric Mays abstained from the vote.

In explanation of his abstention, Mays said that the settlement was “not quite right” and accused fellow councilmembers of a “great coverup,” though he did not explain himself beyond that accusation.

“For me, this is the great coverup, and I want everybody in the city of Flint to be curious as to what I mean by that,” Mays said.

Council had previously discussed the case in an executive, or closed, session on Dec. 7, 2022. While councilmembers were careful to avoid comments that would reveal any details of the lawsuit on Jan. 9, the awardees’ names match those from news reports about a 2019 case in which 17 plaintiffs accused a former Flint police chief and human resources director of sexual harassment and racial discrimination in hiring.

City Attorney Bill Kim did not respond to Flint Beat’s request for comment by press time.

Approved an amended contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority

Council also passed an amended contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) that had been postponed from its last meeting on Dec. 19, 2022.

During that meeting, Flint’s public works director Mike Brown said the contract amendments could save the city between $18,000 to $36,000 annually, but the resolution was postponed after the original agreement was not included in Council’s packets for comparison and the meeting lost quorum.

The vote on Jan. 9 was also sidetracked, this time by a lengthy argument between Herkenroder and Mays during which the latter levied his grievances against the council president.

Mays inferred that Herkenroder was a poor leader and cited her leaving the Dec. 19 meeting before all business had been completed. He also claimed that she was being “discriminatory” towards him.

Herkenroder initially issued a warning to Mays for not being germane to the GLWA resolution in his discussion, but Mays persisted in his complaints—eventually resulting in Herkenroder telling him to leave the meeting.

The remaining councilmembers voted 6-1 to approve the amended contract, with Winfrey-Carter being the sole “no” vote.

Approved an appointment to the Flint Housing Commission

Council also approved the appointment of Nadine Roberts to the Flint Housing Commission board. Roberts will serve a five-year term starting immediately and expiring on Nov. 30, 2026.

Roberts’ appointment fills a vacancy left by San Juana Olivares, who resigned.

Approved the sale of city-owned vacant lots, the purchase of supplies, and resolution establishing eligibility requirements for property tax exemptions

Council also unanimously approved eight other resolutions under a master resolution, including:

  • Authorizing city officials to sell a vacant lot on Blades Avenue legally described as Elm Park Subdvision Lot 375 and a vacant lot at 2130 Mayberry Avenue for $1,002 to Glenn’s Happy Homes, LLC.
  • Approving a $54,500 settlement in Megan Brewer and Travis Copeland v. City of Flint.
  • Authorizing the purchase of two vehicles for the Flint Fire Department in an amount not to exceed $85,432.55.
  • Authorizing the purchase of fire exhaust systems in an amount not-to-exceed $227,003.70.
  • Authorizing the purchase of hydrants, grates, and manhole covers in an amount not-to-exceed $25,000.
  • Authorizing a purchase order for a digester piping fabrication project under the city’s Water Pollution Control in an amount not-to-exceed $200,000.
  • Authorizing the purchase of a telehandler for Water Pollution Control in an amount not-to-exceed $191,300.
  • Approving a resolution establishing eligibility for consideration of hardship exemptions from property taxes.

Scheduled a public hearing on a resolution to amend Council rules

Council voted 5-2 to conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Rules Governing Meetings of the Flint City Council. Herkenroder, Lewis, Murphy, Priestley, and Worthing voted yes. Burns and Winfrey-Carter voted no. Mays abstained from the vote.

Among other things, the proposed changes would require City Council and its subcommittees to adjourn by 10 p.m. which Pfeiffer had argued against during a prior Dec. 12 meeting.

On Jan. 9, Lewis, who drafted the changes to the resolution with Priestley and Attorney Kim, said that ending Council meetings at 10 p.m. would bring Flint more in line with other cities and help councilmembers to fulfill their other obligations outside of meetings.

“I was the one that came up with the 10 o’clock rule because if you look across the nation no one stays in Council meetings for five, six or seven hours. And no, I didn’t sign up to be here for five, six or seven hours. I did not. Because we don’t have to. If we just stick to the business—stop trying to go outside of the business—we can be out of here at a decent time,” Lewis said. “It just asks that we no longer be held hostage at these meetings.”

Mays said that he abstained from the vote because he claimed that the five councilmembers representing the majority of the Council support each other to “rule wrongfully and discriminate.”

This public hearing on Council’s rules will be held at its next meeting on Jan. 23, 2023.

Zachary Marano is Flint Beat’s local government reporter. Zack is originally from Milford township and returns to southeast Michigan after reporting for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula....