City commissioners buy fire truck, hear from grant hopefuls

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published January 23, 2024

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MOUNT CLEMENS — City commissioners had a tough pill to swallow at their Jan. 16 meeting as they unanimously approved purchasing a new fire truck, but at a higher cost than expected.

The Mount Clemens City Commission approved the purchase of a new Sutphen fire engine to replace the Mount Clemens Fire Department’s 22-year-old Engine 1 at a cost of more than $1 million. Former commissioner and current state Rep. Denise Mentzer, D-Mount Clemens, secured the city $500,000 to help purchase a new truck, but the state support did not mask the financial blow the truck would leave on the city.

Mayor Laura Kropp says the city has reached out to Mentzer and state Sen. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, looking for additional funding in light of the increased costs.

“It is their intention to look for further funding for us,” Kropp said. “We don’t believe we’ll get all of it, but we’ll take any more that we can get.”

According to Mount Clemens Fire Chief Danny Reynolds, fire apparatus production has been affected hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.

“The basic plan has always been to have a capital outlay plan that accounted for an increase of 5%-7% every year,” Reynolds said. “(That) $500,000 was never going to be the total price.”

It is expected to take three years before the engine will be available. There are options to either finance the truck over seven to 10 years or pay for it at once.


CDBG public hearing
The City Commission heard from several organizations looking for a piece of the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant funds on Jan. 16.

With only $13,700 allocated to Mount Clemens through the “urban county” program, six external organizations are requesting a total of $21,074. Care House is requesting $6,000. Hearts 4 Homes is requesting $5,000. Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers is requesting $1,184. MCREST is requesting $1,890. Motor City Mitten Mission is requesting $4,000. Turning Point is requesting $3,000. The city’s recreation department is requesting $13,700 for senior citizen programs.

Representatives from IVC, Turning Point and Care House spoke during the public hearing.

As part of the CDBG program, the city will be able to apply for up to two capital improvement projects at a maximum cost of $150,000 each.


Pleasantrees event approval
Commissioners also approved a special event permit for the Pleasantrees cannabis company, allowing the dispensary to host a special consumption event during its grand reopening at the Gibraltar Trade Center on March 8-10.

During the event, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office deputies will be allowed to inspect the store at 237 North River Road. Approval from the state will also be required.

Pleasantrees President Bryan Wickersham announced during the end-of-meeting public comment period that it would cover the gap between Mount Clemens’ CDBG allocation and the request amount from nonprofits as part of a community giveback component to the grand reopening event.