Flint, MI–The Flint City Council has still not adopted a city budget, two days after the deadline passed.
After the council did not adopt the budget during a nine-hour meeting on June 7, 2031, Flint City Council President Kate Fields called for a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. on June 9 specifically to adopt the budget before the rest of the regularly scheduled committee meetings.
But technicalities with voting, a “reconsideration,” and an “add-on resolution” complicated things. Here’s how it happened:
The city’s biennial budget, with amendments voted on at the June 7 meeting, was put on the special meeting agenda for reconsideration, since it failed to be approved last time.
At the beginning of the June 9 meeting, Fields said depending on how the vote for reconsideration goes, she may have one add-on resolution related to the budget.
Only people who “voted in the affirmative,” to approve the budget at the last meeting were allowed to make a motion to reconsider the budget at this meeting. Fields, Councilwoman Eva Worthing, Councilman Allan Griggs, and Councilman Herbert Winfrey were the only ones who could move for the budget to be reconsidered.
None of them did.
This prompted Fields to bring up her add-on resolution, which was to adopt the budget as amended on June 7.
This is where things got tricky.
According to the clerk, Davina Donahue, the add-on resolution that Fields proposed was essentially the same resolution that was already on the agenda—the one that nobody moved for reconsideration.
“This is probably the trickiest resolution that council does every year,” Donahue said.
Because the two resolutions were in essence the same, and the original resolution already failed to be reconsidered, Donahue said that the add-on resolution needed to change in some way in order to be voted on.
“Amendments can still be made to the resolution before it is adopted. That would make it a different resolution, but as it stands right now, it is the same,” Donahue said.
Fields tried to rule that it was a new document that didn’t need to be changed, but Councilman Eric Mays appealed her ruling.
“We got to go out and regroup. Now I know for a fact that, guess what? You can’t keep voting on the same amended budget that failed, and ain’t been reconsidered,” Mays said.
Councilman Winfrey said that as much as he would like the council to pass the budget, there has to be a compromise in order to get the votes.
“Let’s take it back. Let’s not waste any more time. Let’s bring back something that we all can agree on or the majority of us can agree on, and then move on,” he said. “We’re wasting time, we’re still lawless, and we don’t have to be.”
Fields said her colleagues were “obstructing the passage of this budget.”
“I don’t know where this body thinks it’s going, but the city council, as it’s been stated, we’re already in violation of the charter,” Fields said. “We don’t have spending authority come July 1, without the budget being approved.”
The council voted 4 yes 5 no, on Fields ruling. This means they decided that the add-on resolution was the same as the original resolution, and could not be voted on without some kind of amendment.
The council then voted to adjourn. The council will meet again next Monday for their regular scheduled council meeting.