Flint, MI–Flint City Council postponed a funding resolution for the city’s Office of Public Health and approved several major street projects for spring 2023 among other decisions at their Nov. 28 meeting.
Here’s a breakdown of the council’s most recent actions:
Postponed resolution on funding the city’s Office of Public Health
Though City Council had agreed to vote on a funding resolution for Flint’s Office of Public Health during its Nov. 28 Special Affairs Committee meeting, the resolution was ultimately postponed during the body’s ensuing regular session.
Flint City Council President Allie Herkenroder, Vice President Ladel Lewis and councilmembers Quincy Murphy, Judy Priestley and Dennis Pfeiffer voted unanimously to postpone the resolution to Council’s next regular meeting.
Councilmembers Jerri Winfrey-Carter, Tonya Burns, and Eva Worthing were absent for the vote, and Councilman Eric Mays had been removed from the meeting after a disagreement between himself and Council President Herkenroder.
The resolution, if passed, would provide about $421,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the operation of the City’s Office of Public Health for one year.
Lottie Ferguson, Flint’s Chief Resilience Officer, said that the City previously provided funding for the Office of Public Health’s first year in 2021. She said the resolution would provide funding for an additional fiscal year with the expectation that the office would secure other grant money for its continued operation.
During the preceding Special Affairs Committee meeting, Pfeiffer and Winfrey-Carter voted against sending the funding resolution forward for a vote, while Mays had abstained.
Mays cited his earlier objections with the city’s ARPA allocation plan in general and asked Ferguson about the city’s ARPA compliance firm, Ernst & Young, and its review of the resolution.
Ferguson said the firm had already found the resolution to be compliant with the federal government’s ARPA guidelines, but Mays noted he would not vote for the resolution and requested that representatives of Ernst & Young attend Council’s next Finance Committee meeting so councilmembers could “hear what they have to say on the record.”
Pfeiffer said he wouldn’t be supporting the resolution as he felt Flint’s public health office was redundant given county-level resources.
“I won’t be supporting this either,” Pfeiffer said. “I believe a lot of these are just doubling up on what [the] Genesee County health department provides.”
Pfeiffer then referred to a section of the proposal that stated that the city’s public health office conducts the distribution of lead and copper test kits for water.
“The portion of the water lead test and copper rule testing–that should be covered by the state,” Pfeiffer said. “We shouldn’t have to pay that out of our ARPA funds.”
Winfrey-Carter said her no vote was because the resolution was similar to one the Council had already voted down.
“Here we have this resolution–it’s worded differently, but it’s the same exact resolution. I just have a problem with it,” she said. “We have to be transparent. We have to be forthcoming. It’s almost a slick way of getting this resolution.”
Ferguson said the prior resolution to which Winfrey-Carter referred had been “voted down by a technicality that Councilperson Priestley pointed out.”
The funding resolution for Flint’s Office of Public Health will now appear on Council’s next regular meeting agenda.
Approved a contract to repave portions of Welch Boulevard, Dupont Street and Fleming Road
Council authorized a contract with Ace-Saginaw Paving Co. to re-mill and asphalt Welch Boulevard, Dupont Street and Fleming Road, in an amount not to exceed $971,190, as requested by the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW).
Department of Public Works Director Michael Brown acknowledged the poor condition of these roads after being called to the podium by Council.
“We’re just going to take off the surface, and resurface to give us a few more years on those streets. Because they are so bad, there’s so many potholes as you know, we’re going to re-mill and then put topcoats over it to get it so that we are able to use it. It will be a much gentler ride on cars for a period of time,” Brown said.
Brown said that the estimated completion date for these road projects is spring 2023.
When Murphy asked if DPW could address underlying problems on the streets during these projects, such as sewer or pipe replacement, Brown said that they would not address those infrastructure issues and save them for a future date.
Brown said that the current extent of the repaving on Welch Boulevard is the stretch between Ballenger Highway and Chevrolet Avenue–which he deemed “the worst” portion of Welch.
But, Brown said, DPW hopes to continue working on the boulevard from Chevrolet to Martin Luther King Avenue next year.
Voted down a lease agreement for two city-owned golf courses—for now
Council decided to not lease Swartz Creek Golf Course and Kearsley Lake Golf Course to Flint City Golf, they instead sent the resolution back to its Finance Committee for further consideration.
The Swartz Creek agreement was for $8,305.41 annually and the Kearsley Lake agreement was for $6,921.17 annually, both increasing by 3 percent per year. Pfeiffer described the resolution as a “sweetheart deal” given the value of the properties and amenities.
When Pfeiffer asked how the dollar figures were proposed, City Attorney William Kim said that the city official responsible for the agreement was absent.
Council voted 7-0 to send the lease agreement back to the Finance Committee. Priestley and Mays were absent for the vote.
Voted to accept grants, budget amendments, and proclaim November as Veterans and Military Families month
Council also voted 5-0 to approve nine other resolutions under a master resolution.
Murphy, Priestley, Herkenroder, Lewis and Pfeiffer voted yes. All other council members were absent.
These resolutions did the following:
- Entered a $560,957.50 contract with Lighthouse Group for general liability and terrorism coverage for a 12-month period beginning Nov. 23, 2022.
- Approved three change orders for contracts with Great Lakes Tree Experts and J&M Tree Service for urban forestry services on the city hall campus.
- Approved a change order for the secondary water source pipeline contract with L. D’Agostini & Sons, Inc. in the amount of $205,000.
- Approved the transfer of city-owned land on 2130 Mayberry Avenue to Glenn’s Happy Homes, LLC.
- Approved a Group F Medical Marijuana grow facility license for ORP, LLC, per recommendation from the city’s planning commission.
- Appointed Kurt Neiswender to the Building Code Board of Appeals for a one-year term, effective immediately and expiring December 1, 2023.
- Recognized November as Veterans and Military Families Month. Council had also proclaimed November as Homeless Awareness Month at its Oct. 24 meeting and Flint Rouges Month at its Nov. 14 meeting.
An appointment of Ari McCaskill to the Zoning Board of Appeals was also up for vote but was postponed as his application was not included in agenda materials.
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