Flint, MI — At Flint City Council’s first meeting after cancelling two sessions in June, councilmembers passed a host of spending resolutions, green-lit a sidewalk assessment to aid in future repair work and accepted the resignation of former Council President Allie Herkenroder.
As Herkenroder stepped down on July 1, 2023 both the council meeting and preceding special affairs committee meeting on July 10 were chaired by Council Vice President Ladel Lewis.
Lewis asked Councilman Eric Mays to leave about an hour into the evening after he used profanity to address audience members and fellow councilpersons.
Prior to being escorted from the room by an officer, however, Mays had introduced a public safety resolution calling for $300,000 to $400,000 in funding for Flint police officers’ overtime, pulled from American Rescue Plan Act dollars “and/or the Fund Balance” to increase “weekend patrols at various neighborhood hotspots.”
In Mays’ absence, remaining councilmembers voted 6-1 to move his resolution to the body’s next finance committee meeting amid questions about whether ARPA funding could be spent in such a way and asks to talk to Flint Police Chief Terence Green about its feasibility.
“I definitely do not want to see this resolution fail,” Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter said of her yes vote. “Chief Green is not here tonight. Councilman Mays is not here… I think it’s fair that they are allowed to speak on this resolution and bring more light.”
Councilwoman Eva Worthing cast the only opposition vote, but she did not provide her reasoning during discussion.
Here’s what else happened at council’s July 10 meeting:
No to ARPA funding for individual homeowners
Council voted 4-3 against sending a resolution to council that called for an ARPA grant process for individual homeowners in Flint.
During discussion, Councilwoman Tonya Burns revisited her concerns over Flint’s ARPA Community Advisory Committee, whose members are tasked with making spending recommendations based on information received through the city’s ARPA application, which closed in March.
“This ARPA fund process is not clear. It’s not transparent,” Burns said, noting that she believes the committee is in violation of the Open Meetings Act, a claim other city officials have previously denied.
Councilwoman Judy Priestley, who serves on the council’s ARPA ad-hoc committee, noted that the resolution was “very late in the game,” saying that the advisory committee’s recommendations would be brought before the council at its next finance committee meeting.
“The work has been done by the committee, and so I do not support this,” Priestley concluded.
Priestley, Lewis, Worthing and Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer voted down the resolution, while Burns, Winfrey-Carter and Councilman Quincy Murphy voted in favor.
Yes to city-wide sidewalk assessment
City council voted unanimously in favor of a $111,000 contract with Spalding DeDecker to complete a city-wide sidewalk assessment.
“It’s going to tell us where all the good ones are, the bad ones are, and there’s gonna be a rating,” explained Rodney McGaha, Flint’s director of transportation, to councilmembers.
According to proposal language, Spalding DeDecker will evaluate “all sidewalks within wards 1 to 9” and share that data, which will include defect information, “location, pictures and quantities” with the city of Flint for follow-up.
The company will be rating sidewalks based on cracking, slopes, scaling and water ponding, its proposal further details.
McGaha said the idea behind the assessment is to use the data gained for a grant application to support sidewalk repair work.
“Hopefully we can — once we get an assessment in place — we can ask for a grant, maybe. I would like to try to get all the sidewalks wrapped up with tree root damage. That’s my highest priority,” he told council.
“Perfect, thank you,” Worthing responded. “The sidewalks in every ward are horrendous and a lot of it is because of the trees uprooting them… I’m glad to see that we’re going to look into this and start repairing it, because in no ward is Flint a great place to take a walk.”
An ask regarding the 7th ward vacancy
Under its consent agenda, the council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of former Council President and 7th Ward Councilwoman Allie Herkenroder.
Herkenroder announced her resignation early last month, citing health concerns.
During public comment, Jan Marie Arbor noted that she and other 7th ward residents were hoping to be included in the process of appointing the former councilwoman’s replacement.
“It’s understood that [the] charter requires Council to appoint an interim councilmember within 30 days. Presumably, that appointment will be based largely upon qualified applicants’ résumés, letters of interest, etcetera, which will be submitted to you soon by our city clerk Davina Donahue,” Arbor said. “Residents across the 7th ward have expressed a desire to learn more about the overall process of the appointment, and most importantly, we wish to learn something about each of the applicants themselves prior to that appointment being made.”
Arbor then invited the councilmembers to a “7th ward interim council forum” she and other residents plan to host on Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m. at the Brennan Senior Center, located at 1301 Pingree Ave.
Arbor added that Donahue will be present to discuss the appointment process, and she encouraged council members to attend so that they may “become familiar with the applicants, off the page.”
Aside from approving the city-wide sidewalk assessment and Herkenroder’s resignation, councilmembers also voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve the following items.
Contracts and Purchase Orders
- A change order in the amount of $95,000 to Monster Tree Service to provide urban forestry services, such as tree trimming and removal, in Flint from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
- Purchase orders, not-to-exceed $2.25 million, to Ace Saginaw Paving Company for asphalt paving materials for the 2024 fiscal year (FY 2024).
- A $202,000 contract with Bolle Contracting LLC to demolish, remove debris, backfill with sand, and topsoil and seed 14 properties in the city of Flint.
- Annual purchase orders of no more than $185,000 to EJ USA to provide hydrants, valves, grates and manhole covers for the next three years.
- Annual purchase orders not-to-exceed $263,000 to Modern Concrete for ready-mix concrete for the next two years.
- A $124,997 contract with Lighthouse Insurance Group to provide the city of Flint with excess workers compensation insurance coverage through July 1, 2024.
- A contract with Arnold Sales to provide janitorial supplies through 2026 at $47,200 per year.
- A contract with M & M Pavement Marking, Inc. for services over the next three years, starting at $145,000 and increasing $5,000 annually pending budget approvals.
- A $100,000 contract with William E. Walter, Inc. for HVAC services.
- Annual purchase orders of $84,500 to Dover & Company for overhead door services for the next three years.
- A purchase order for a two-year supply of aqueous ferrous chloride, which is used in water pollution control, with PVS Technologies. The total amount of the purchase is not-to-exceed $460,000.
- A three-year purchase agreement with McNaughton-McKay Electric for various electrical supplies and electronic parts in an amount not-to-exceed $343,000 per year.
- A $225,000 purchase order to Polydyne Inc. for liquid cationic polymer for the city’s Water Pollution Control division.
Budget Amendments, Grants, Donations
- A FY 2024 budget amendment in order to cover $1.7 million in City insurance premiums that were “inadvertently… not included in the FY2024 Budget as adopted by Flint City Council.” Department of Finance staff noted that the amendment projects $1,129,853 remaining in the fund after the amendment.
- Acceptance of a $115,469.69 grant from the State of Michigan under the Federal Emergency Management Program (FEMA).
- Acceptance of a “Fireman’s Challenge” donation check in the amount of $3,847.89 from Joshua Woods of Livonia, Mich. and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity of Kettering University.
- Acceptance of $750,0000 in grant funds from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. According to the council’s agenda documentation, the funds will go toward “operational and staffing support.”
Agreements and Appointments
- Ratification of a tentative agreement between the city of Flint and AFSCME Local 1600. The agreement provides a wage scale increase for all members of the union, which represents City of Flint employees, and extends the union’s collective bargaining agreement to June 30, 2025.
- Re-appointment of Charlotte Edwards to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers. Edwards’ prior term on the board expired April 30, 2022, according to city-provided documents. Her reappointment is for a five-year term ending on April 30, 2028.
- Re-appointment of Toni Promenchenkel to the City Wide Advisory Council (CWAC). Promenchenkel’s new term will expire May 31, 2024.