Flint, MI—  The Flint City Council held a public hearing, accepted two grants, and discussed potential new city ordinances at a meeting on May 10.

The council also voted to move many items, like the property sale of a former Flint Police Training Academy, back to committee meetings for further discussion. 

Before the last two agenda items were tended to, the council voted 6-3 to remove Council President Kate Fields from the meeting for not addressing a “point of information.” Councilwoman Eva Worthing then left the meeting.

Here’s what the council decided on:

Public Hearing, and postponement of Service Charge in Lieu of Taxes Ordinance

The council held a public hearing on an ordinance amendment that would allow a new housing development to pay a service charge in lieu of taxes.

Flushing Place, located on Stevenson Street within the University Corridor, is a development project that will include 60 apartments for families in need of affordable housing, “in close proximity to community amenities.” 

According to the resolution, the annual service charge for people of low and moderate income shall be equal to four percent of the annual shelter rents, exclusive of charges for gas, electricity, heat or other utilities furnished to occupants. 

Several public speakers said they were opposed to tax abatements in general.

“I am against giving tax abatements. We’ve given so many…in the last few years, and the residents aren’t getting any tax abatements,” said sixth-ward resident Leslie Haney. 

Jacob Horner, the Vice President of Development for PK Companies, the company behind the Flushing Place project, said tax abatements are typical in the affordable housing world. He also said the city would get more property tax revenue, and income tax revenue from the project. 

After the public hearing, the council voted to postpone a decision on the ordinance, and moved it back to committee meetings for further discussion. 

Postponement of two Water Systems Advisory Council Appointments

The council voted to postpone two appointments to the next Governmental Operations committee meeting. 

The appointments were for James Gaskin, CEO of United Way of Genesee County, and Dr. Nancy Love, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, to the Water System Advisory Council. The items were postponed because the Gaskin and Love live outside of Flint.

Councilman Eric Mays proposed postponing them until after other appointments of Flint residents were secured, in order to conform to the charter, although he said he would like to see both Gaskin and Love appointed.

Postponement of one Rowe contract extension, approval of another

The council voted to postpone a $60,000 contract extension for Rowe Professional Services Co. to continue “their provision of comprehensive zoning services,” including oversight and administration of the medical and marijuana business licensing process.  

If approved, this change order would also extend their contract until Oct. 31, 2021. 

Rowe was the lowest of two bidders for the project in March 2020. The City entered an original contract with them for $60,000 that expired on April 30, 2021. 

That contract has been exhausted, so Rowe is requesting an additional six months and $60,000. 

There was another contract extension for Rowe on the agenda, but this one was approved by the council. 

Rowe had a contract with the City to provide engineering services for the Northwest Transmission Main Re-Permitting and Design, in an amount not to exceed $67,360. In May of last year, they requested and received an additional $37,000 for additional services. The most recent extension is for $28,000 for “additional scope of services.”

According to the resolution, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, requested revisions to “drawings, specifications, and permit applications,” which were not accounted for in the original contract amount. With this extension, the total contract amount is now $132,360.

Sale of city-owned land to Evergrow, LLC moved back to committee for discussion

The council voted to postpone the sale of the former Flint Police Training Academy, located at 3420 St. John Street to Evergrow, LLC.

If approved, the land would be sold for $500,000, and the company would renovate the building and operate a Marijuana establishment for the purpose of commercially growing marijuana. 

According to the resolution, the property was listed for sale on the City’s website, and Evergrow was one of two offers the City received for it. The second offer was “significantly less” than Evergrow’s.  

The council voted to postpone this sale at the suggestion of Councilman Mays, who said he understood the opportunity but just wanted to discuss it more in committee meetings.

Approval of resolution to mediate settlement of Pohly v City of Flint

The council approved a resolution creating representatives, one from the City Council and one from the City Administration, who will attend mediation sessions in order to reach a full and final settlement for Pohly v. City of Flint. 

This case has to do with a complaint filed two years ago against the City of Flint for alleged Open Meetings Act violations, Freedom of Information Act violations, and other failures to implement the charter. 

This resolution would make Councilman Mays the representative from the council. 

Approval of two grants

The council voted to accept two grants which were presented in the Special Affairs committee meeting before the regular council meeting. 

The first grant was from the Revive Community Health Center through the Bluegreen Alliance Foundation, for a total of $20,000. The terms of the grant are to begin April 26, 2021 and go through April 30, 2022. 

According to the resolution, the goal of the project is to build a partnership between Revive Flint and two of the City’s programs, Flint ReCAST (Resilience in Communities After Stress and Trauma) and Lead-Based Paint and Hazard Control, to prioritize lead-paint mitigation of homes and provide education to families about reducing stress and trauma. 

The second grant the council approved was for $10,000 from the Flint Registry Community Referral Network Capacity Support grant. These funds will be used for City of Flint Employees to obtain training and support for the “Flint Registry referral tool.”

According to the resolution, this will “allow the Flint Registry to develop best practices for establishing community linkages while addressing capacity issues related to the use of the referral tool.”

Approval of Safe Boating Campaign resolution

The Flint City Council approved a resolution declaring their support of the goals of the Safe Boating Campaign, and proclaimed May 22-28 to be National Safe Boating Week.

The resolution urges boaters to “enjoy America’s beautiful waters responsibly,” and follow basic boating safety procedures like wearing a life jacket, staying sober while navigating, and carrying lifesaving emergency items. 

Postponement of drag racing ordinance

The council voted to postpone an ordinance about drag racing, moving it back to committee meetings for further amendments. 

As it stands, the ordinance would amend the Flint City Code of Ordinances by adding a section titled “Drag Racing” to Chapter 28, Motor Vehicles and Traffic. This would make it unlawful for people to participate in “a speed or acceleration contest or for the purpose of making a speed record,” or drag racing. 

Drag racing is defined in the ordinance as the “operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to out-distance each other over a common selected course,” and also includes points about competitive speeds and timing. 

According to the ordinance, drag racing negatively impacts the health, safety, and welfare of the community, and may be declared a public nuisance which justifies taking action, including impounding and forfeiting the vehicle. 

Violation of this section would be classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $250 to $500, or by up to 90 days of imprisonment. 

Councilman Mays proposed sending this ordinance back to committee meetings for amendments including language related to progressive punishments.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...