Columbus Day back on Clinton Township calendar

Clinton Township Trustees rename October township holiday Columbus Day

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2022


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — After four weeks, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees has again designated its paid holiday for township employees on the second Monday in October as Columbus Day.

The latest switch came at the board’s Dec. 5 meeting, effectively reversing a name change for the October holiday on the 2023 employee calendar from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, which was approved at the Nov. 14 board meeting. An attempt to change the name back to Columbus Day fell short at the Nov. 28 meeting.

Supporters for changing the name back to Columbus Day — who included Township Supervisor Robert Cannon, Clerk Kim Meltzer and several dozen public commenters — framed the change as “rewriting history” or ending Columbus Day celebrations in the township. The township’s own attorney, Jack Dolan, expressed doubts about the township’s ability to do anything on the matter except change what it calls a particular paid holiday for township employees.

“The township doesn’t have legal authority to cancel Columbus Day (or) to do anything at all that would interfere with its recognition at the federal level or the state level,” Dolan said. “It remains as it was authorized initially in 1934 and again as amended in the mid-’60s at the federal level as a recognized holiday. … And the action that the township can take on anything like that is limited. And if they want to put on their calendar a name other than ‘Columbus Day’ on the date that it was formerly celebrated for purposes of identification, they can do that. But that in no way is something that is abridging or amending a federal law nor … a state law, nor is it interfering with any private entity or church entity and so on that wants to celebrate that day in a manner that they see fit.”

Regardless, the board voted to approve a 2023 employee holiday calendar and board meeting schedule with the Oct. 9 paid holiday listed as Columbus Day.

A vote on a resolution that would have established October as “Italian-American Heritage Month” — an attempt to maintain an Italian-American celebration while separating and expanding such celebrations beyond Christopher Columbus — ended in a 3-3 tie by the board and was, thus, not adopted. Indigenous Peoples Day will remain on the calendar, although it was moved to Aug. 9 and is not a paid holiday for township employees.


Water and sewer rates increased slightly
On Dec. 5, the board voted to increase the water and sweater rates for 2023.

The overall change is an average 2.6% increase from $10.37 to $10.63 per combined water and sewer units. The water charge went up 0.7% from $3.47 to $3.49 per 748 gallons of water used, and the sewer rate went up 3.5% from $6.90 to $7.14 per 748 gallons of sewage disposed of.


Funding for road projects requested
The board also submitted three road projects to the Macomb County Department of Roads for funding consideration in 2024.

The road projects submitted were 15 Mile Road from Kelly Road to Groesbeck Highway, Canal Road from Hayes Road to Garfield Road, and 18 Mile Road from 400 feet east of Hayes to 1,300 feet west of Garfield.

The roads were selected using a formula developed by the board’s Establishing Quality Roads Subcommittee (EQR) that rates projects on factors including road conditions, traffic, safety and equity.

“When there’s going to be a call for projects, we’re going to do this not as an arbitrary process, but as one that uses objective criteria,” Clinton Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem said regarding the EQR subcommittee’s strategy.

Some roads that scored high on the EQR formula were removed based on the amount of traffic from out-of-town drivers or because of federal funding opportunities that exist for a particular road.