Meeting Minutes, November 18, 2010

Vice President Mike Keeler presided.

Minutes of the September 16, 2010 meeting were read by Secretary Paul Streby. The minutes were corrected and approved. Paul provided some information about the website, and invited others to become active with it.

Treasurer Cindy Robinson gave the treasurer’s report. $723.94 is in the beautification fund, and $818.80 in the general fund. The treasurer’s report was approved.

President Sherry Hayden reminded neighbors to renew their CCNA membership. The membership voted to spend $366 on monthly ads in East Village Magazine for 2011.

Michael Kelly reported that Mott College is building a sidewalk on Longway Blvd. It helps connect paths through and beyond Flint. The Mott library is scheduled to be done with renovation at the end of the year, and under budget; the blue waterproofing on the façade will be gone. Community members can use the library. It reopens January 8. Horrigan Dr. will be the Court St. entrance for campus to relieve mid-campus congestion. Mott will keep its commitment to pay off the library renovation bond, but it will take longer than expected due to the drop in property tax revenues. Mott has several new majors, and has added two new green surface lots to accommodate the growing enrollment. The Cultural Center Holiday Walk is Tuesday, December 7.

Audrey Martini, director of outreach in the criminal justice program at Michigan State University, and who has been working with the CCNA Crime Watch, spoke about the Flint Police project. It involves training and technical assistance, informed by formative evaluation, and based on the assumption that no funding is available to expand police ranks. Making do with available resources is the goal. The lowest-seniority officer has 12 years on the job. Changes to practice need to be in place for seven years to become institutionalized. Calls have to be prioritized because there is not the manpower to respond to every single one. One option is online reporting for certain petty crimes, like destruction of property. Her handout states, “The goal of the MSU’s current partnership with the City of Flint Police Department and C.S. Mott Foundation is to leverage resources of the various partners to enhance Flint’s 21st Century Community Policing vision of a long term, sustainable policing strategy that supports the system-wide use of police-community partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.” Focusing on two areas of crime prevention can have ripple effects in other types of unlawful activity. Crime watches, eyes & ears programs, and other forms of community involvement are essential.

City Attorney Pete Bade spoke about the Genesee Towers settlement. Because the City does not have funds to pay the owner, the judgment will be presented to the tax assessor, who must by law impose a property tax. It will be 6.71 mills applicable to all properties (including Renaissance Zones), and appear on the December tax bill. Municipal bankruptcy does not eliminate union contracts or civil judgments. The State will not allow a city to file for municipal bankruptcy, which affects the State’s credit rating. A state takeover could result in a manager who consider only the bottom line. The City takes possession on December 8. Inspectors will do triage. It is possible that the building can be saved and marketed; demolition would be costly, because of its proximity to the Mott Foundation Building. Overall, Flint is well within the norm of claims paid overall.

City Councilman Dale Weighill reported that the budget is a major concern; the accumulated debt is about $18M. At current spending, the current fiscal year will leave the City $5M deeper. The State will not allow a bond issue until the gap is closed by union concessions. The firefighters union agreed to a benefits cut. If other unions don’t agree to concessions, layoff notices will go out to about 50 employees, including in public safety. If the current gap can be closed, City Council can vote to apply to the state for a bond issue. The mayor may ask the State for legislation to allow the City to raise tax rates to 1.5% for residents, 1% for nonresidents. He may also ask for property tax increases to pay for policing. Dale met with the mayor about the house at 801 S. Vernon, but it is considered sound and can’t be condemned and demolished. Leaf pickup was late because of poor management, which the department head admitted; an outside manager may be necessary. Compost bags will be picked up through the end of November. Dale was reelected City Council Vice President. He doesn’t always receive CCNA Listserv mailings, so email him directly with questions or comments. He invited neighbors to fill out a brief survey on tax and other issues.

Pete Bade said it can be very difficult to demolish privately owned structures that are fire-damaged. The attorney’s office at Court near Grand Traverse has been standing for years; owners can drag out the process for years.

County Treasurer-elect Deb Cherry said she would come to meetings when she can. She is glad to receive input.

Mott Trustee Andy Everman reported that tuition increases are the result of declining property tax revenues. Tax increases are not under discussion.

Mike Herriman and Craig Wolcott reported on the College Cultural Neighborhood Watch. Neighbors are urged to report crimes so accurate statistics are available. Additional funds appear not to be necessary to keep the CCNW in operation.

One Response

  1. Thanks for the notes, Paul! It helps for those of us unable to attend.

    As for leaf pick-up being “late,” I disagree that it was so. My leaves didn’t drop until last week and quite a few after the trucks came by. I for one am glad it was delayed. I felt the leaf pick-up went efficiently & smoothly within my block radius.

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