Local Government

Published May 9, 2016

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights city officials say the newly passed 2016-17 budget will allow the city to follow its long-term plans.

The Sterling Heights City Council unanimously approved the proposed and amended 2016-17 budget during a May 4 council meeting. The 2016-17 fiscal year starts in July.

According to the city, the overall proposed budget is for around $170 million. Sterling Heights Finance and Budget Director Brian Baker said the total budget decreased by about $7.8 million, or 4.4 percent, compared to the previous year.

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Published May 9, 2016

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Public Library is seeking a half-mill millage increase on the August primary election ballot following unanimous approval by the City Council April 26.

Library Director Jackie Harvey said that over the past few years, the library has been forced to dip into its reserve fund — essentially its savings account — to balance its budget. The library has already made cuts over the past few years, she said, and the Library Commission feels that a millage increase is the way to proceed.

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Published May 4, 2016

FARMINGTON HILLS — Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilwoman Valerie Knol’s husband, Paul Welday, was her biggest cheerleader, she said.

Welday, 57, died April 25, and throughout the area, many in the political community have come forth to say how their friend and associate supported them too.

Welday was a principal partner at Lansing-based Superior Capitol Consulting, a government and public affairs consulting firm, according to the firm’s website.

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Published May 4, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Incumbent Kim Meltzer will face off against challenger George Sobah for the Clinton Township clerk position when voters hit the polls Aug. 2.

Sobah, a 20-year resident of Clinton Township and retired police lieutenant of the St. Clair Shores Police Department, currently serves as secretary on the Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education — a board he has been part of in different capacities for the past 16 years.

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Published May 4, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The race to replace Bill Sowerby is underway.

Sowerby, who has served as treasurer of Clinton Township for nearly 20 years, threw his name into the 31st House District representative hat. His running for state government will result in a vacancy at the treasurer position.

Current Clinton Township Trustee and Democrat Paul Gieleghem will square off against Republican Phil Rode in the Aug. 2 election.

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Published May 4, 2016

ROSEVILLE — The Downtown Development Authority laid out its early spending proposals — which include sidewalk and lighting improvements, and increased safety — at a City Council meeting April 26.

According to Doug Piggott, of Rowe Professional Services, who gave the presentation, the DDA will be securing funding through tax increment financing. That sets the 2015 property taxes as a baseline for the downtown district, and the district captures any increases in tax values to fund improvements.

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Published May 4, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — “This is the toughest budget I’ve seen in my 16 years.”

So began two nights of budget hearings in front of City Council, in which Mayor Kip Walby said the city needs to hold the line on spending in an effort to reduce the amount of money needed to balance the budget from the rainy day fund. 

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Published May 4, 2016

LATHRUP VILLAGE — Officials are looking for the perfect candidate to fill the shoes of City Administrator Matt Baumgarten, who will be leaving the position at the end of this month.

Baumgarten has accepted a position as the new Berkley city manager, according to city officials. He officially will start the job on Tuesday, May 31. He will be taking the position left by former City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa, who left to become deputy mayor in Pontiac.

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Published May 4, 2016

WEST BLOOMFIELD —  At the April 4 township Board of Trustees meeting, the board voted 4-3 to enter into a fleet management service plan with Verizon Wireless. 

As a result, Verizon Networkfleet, which manages operations and maintenance on vehicles, will be installed on 26 township vehicles, not including those for the Police and Fire departments, once the township receives the devices. 

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Published May 4, 2016

SOUTHFIELD — The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance recently to permit oil and gas wells and oil and gas development activities only as a special use in the industrial zoning district. 

Council voted 7-0 at the April 25 council meeting to approve the ordinance. Previously, the council approved a 180-day moratorium on oil and gas extraction and mining operations in Southfield, which expired April 28.

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Published May 4, 2016

ROYAL OAK — After a hearty discussion and input from property owners in the city’s industrial district, the majority of commissioners voted April 25 to table the final approval of exemptions included in the 2016 Sidewalk Improvement Program.

City officials said they would bring back the subject during the May 23 regular meeting, when a decision would be expected on what additional properties, if any, should be exempt from what was suggested by the City Engineering Department for the 2016 program.

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Published May 4, 2016

ROYAL OAK — City commissioners had a message to convey during their April 25 meeting: The more than $100 million Central Park Development Group proposal including City Hall, the Police Department and a park is not a done deal.

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Published May 4, 2016

In an effort to strike a balance that would allow more homes to be built closer together on parcels in order to preserve green spaces and natural features, the Troy Planning Commission took a look at some developments in Auburn Hills during a special site-visit study session April 26.

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Published May 4, 2016

ROCHESTER — A natural disaster can strike at any time, and the city of Rochester is taking steps to make sure it’s prepared.

Rochester Fire Chief John Cieslik said the city is in the process of updating its emergency response plan, a process that is completed every four years.

Based on the city’s size, he said Rochester plans to use the Oakland County Homeland Security Department as its main emergency response plan, meaning the county would handle response operations if the city declared an emergency.

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Published May 3, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Similar to a Planning Commission meeting in early April, a host of residents spoke out during a Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting April 27 to voice their displeasure over a proposed dog park.

The park would be located along 21 Mile Road, behind Fire Station No. 2.

Township Clerk Michael Koehs joined the residents in voicing opposition to the park by stating that there are other suitable locations within the township for it.

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Published May 3, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — On Monday, May 9, the Madison Heights City Council is expected to vote on the budget for fiscal year 2016-17.

There are no new taxes planned. And while the Great Lakes Water Authority is charging the city more for water, the increase won’t be passed on to taxpayers.

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Published May 3, 2016

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights city officials recently touted strides and successes in economic development, but some are asking the city to pursue more data so the city can market itself as an attractive spot to the business community.

At an April 19 City Council meeting, City Development Director Denice Gerstenberg revealed some of the new businesses that are making Sterling Heights their home.

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Published May 2, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — With the current representative term-limited out of office, four newcomers are throwing their hats into the ring to compete for the 18th District of the state House of Representatives. 

The position is currently held by state Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores. But she is in her third term in office, and Michigan election law limits state legislators to three two-year terms, or six years, in office.

Roberts said her term ends Dec. 31.

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Published April 27, 2016

GROSSE POINTE PARK — The city will start repairing sidewalks in need of work this spring.

Mayor Robert Denner said the Park is getting back into a more proactive approach to sidewalk maintenance now that the economy is improving. As he explained during an April 11 City Council meeting, the “sidewalks are inspected area by area,” and those in need of replacement are marked. 

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Published April 27, 2016

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Grosse Pointe City experienced a slight increase in crime from 2014 to 2015, but the community remains a fairly safe one.

In the recently released annual report for 2015, Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni acknowledged that index crimes — the more serious types of offenses — rose by 3 percent over 2014 levels, from 103 incidents in 2014 to 106 in 2015. 

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