Local Government

Published June 7, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — A resolution is in the works on the Madison Heights City Council that would oppose discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

While the resolution is non-binding and wouldn’t affect legal change, it could be a first step in a dialogue on the topic that could lead to an ordinance protecting minorities against discrimination.

The current draft of the resolution being considered was put forth by City Councilman Robert Corbett.

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Published June 6, 2016

A Sterling Heights state representative is hoping that a set of recently proposed bills in the state House of Representatives that would prevent minors from buying e-cigarettes will eventually become law and not vanish like a vapor.

State Rep. Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights, is the primary sponsor of a three-bill package of proposals, House Bills 5686-5688, introduced May 24. The bills, which have attracted co-sponsors, aim to regulate e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices.

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Published June 6, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — This month and next, Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell and Mayor Pro Tem Mark Bliss will hold lemonade socials at local parks and elementary schools. Residents can enjoy refreshing drinks and share their hopes for the future of the city.

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Published June 1, 2016

GROSSE POINTE CITY/FARMS — Starting with bills that come after July 1, residents in Grosse Pointe City and Farms will see an increase in their water bills.

The Grosse Pointe Farms water plant provides drinking water to both cities, while sewage is processed by the Great Lakes Water Authority — formerly the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

In the City, Finance Director/Treasurer Kimberly Kleinow said the readiness-to-serve charge is going up 6.65 percent, from $9.47 to $10.10.

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Published June 1, 2016

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Although Grosse Pointe City’s property values continue to rise — this year, assessments are up by more than 6 percent, on average — the City itself is only seeing an increase of 0.3 percent in taxable value, which was determined by the state to be the inflation rate.

That means real property tax revenues are only up by $22,920 for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

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Published June 1, 2016

SOUTHFIELD — If you have a stack of unpaid parking tickets, the 46th Judicial District Court is giving residents a chance to get back on track with an amnesty program. 

For the first time, through June 20 the court will waive late fees on eligible traffic tickets and parking violations. The court will also waive late fees and warrant fees on eligible traffic misdemeanors that do not require a court appearance, court officials said.

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Published June 1, 2016

METRO DETROIT — Trying to close a deficit of about $64,000, the Community Development and Inspections Department will charge higher application fees for some permits to better take into account the time spent working on the permit, driving to the building and other overhead costs.

When the proposal was first brought before City Council in January, the department was trying to close the gap by increasing fees on many of the permits it offers residents and builders in the city. 

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Published June 1, 2016

WEST BLOOMFIELD —  The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections has determined that Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act by advertising her campaign website on the township’s official Twitter page. 

The department issued a warning letter May 16, resolving the complaint.

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Published June 1, 2016

The wet spring has spurred grass growth, and Troy property owners must keep the green stuff cut so it doesn’t exceed 8 inches in height.

“Spring is when the city receives the majority of tall grass complaints. The weather is usually very conducive to grass growth. This year is no exception,” said Paul Evans, zoning and compliance specialist for the city of Troy.

The city ordinance states that grass must not exceed 8 inches in height and must be cut to the edge of the road. That includes the city right of way between the sidewalk and the street.

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Published June 1, 2016

CLAWSON — Water rates will increase in the city following City Council approval of the 2016-17 annual budget.

Council members unanimously adopted the $15.17 million budget and accompanying millage and water and sewer rates during the council’s May 17 meeting. The council adopted the budget following public hearings where no one spoke.

Water and sewer rates will increase about 5.6 percent per 1,000 cubic feet per quarter for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.

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Published June 1, 2016

ROYAL OAK — About 140 people filled the Churchill Community Education Center auditorium May 24 to learn more about the proposed $100 million Royal Oak Civic Center development.

Factors affecting the project were discussed, including the hows and the whys from the city’s perspective regarding the project, which would build a new police headquarters and City Hall.

The existing City Hall was built in 1952 for $473,061, which City Manager Don Johnson said would cost about $4.3 million today.

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Published June 1, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Safe Routes to School program is an initiative to provide federal funding to close gaps that exist in sidewalks around schools for the safety and physical fitness of students.

On May 17, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously authorized township engineering firm Fazal Khan & Associates to partner with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Michigan Fitness Foundation to assess the township’s grant eligibility and create an action plan.

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Published June 1, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township remains one of Michigan’s fastest-growing townships or cities, according to new census data.

Since 2010, the township has grown from 79,674 residents to 86,973, which is an increase of 9.2 percent. Last year, the township grew by 1,366 residents.

Several of the other fast-growing municipalities are located around Grand Rapids.

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Published June 1, 2016

WARREN — Warren officials have approved the administration’s proposed budget for the coming year, which now includes four new fire trucks and an added zoning inspector to handle work necessitated by the recent passage of a local medical marijuana ordinance.

In April, Mayor Jim Fouts laid out his proposed $215 million combined water and city budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which included just under $105.8 million in general fund expenditures.

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Published May 31, 2016

The new president and CEO of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Melanie Davis, has wasted no time getting down to business with setting goals and meeting prominent community members.

Davis, 45, from Sterling Heights, replaced Wayne Oehmke when he retired from the position in the beginning of May. Her past career experience includes positions at the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce,  at the Detroit Regional Chamber and at the Adcraft Club of Detroit.

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Published May 31, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With selfies and social media synonymous with a younger generation, and trees synonymous with Shelby Township, the township’s latest community relations intern concocted a plan to unite the two.

Elena Simopoulos, 20, a Shelby Township resident and political science major at the University of Michigan, said she saw an opportunity with Instagram, a photo-sharing social media platform.

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Published May 27, 2016

LANSING — Since he was first elected to the 40th House District in 2012, state Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, said he has promised city commissioners in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills that he would take on what they saw as a growing problem in the area: panhandling.

The House Committee on Criminal Justice approved two bills he sponsored to curb aggressive panhandling May 24.

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Published May 25, 2016

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Officials are hoping to make it easier for Grosse Pointe Farms residents to recycle. 

“We’re subsidizing (the cost of) the new, large recycling bins,” said City Councilman Louis Theros, chair of the city’s Budget and Audit Committee. “That’s a win-win for everyone. The more we recycle, the better it is for the environment.”

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Published May 25, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — With summer around the corner, the Shelby-Utica Post Office is reminding residents to take heed of something they otherwise may not think much about: their mailboxes.

“It’s important that mailboxes are in good working order and properly installed and in the proper place to ensure accurate delivery to each box,” Branch Manager Eric Osterbeck said. “(It) improves the appearance of our community and makes delivering and receiving mail safer for our carriers and customers.”

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Published May 25, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — The city plans to purchase five new ambulances featuring heavy-duty chassis systems and improved lifting mechanisms.

“The last major investment in ambulances was made in 2009,” Rochester Hills Fire Chief Sean Canto said. “Since the purchase of those units, the department has encountered numerous mechanical and service issues resulting in approximately $225,000 in cost and repairs. Unfortunately, these units were not designed very well, and it was not taken into consideration the workload they would be encountering.”

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