Commission applies for rec grant, reiterates support for manager

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published June 22, 2023


MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens City Commission took a step in expanding the city’s recreation offerings at its June 19 meeting, giving the green light to apply for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Spark Grant.

Intended by the DNR to help local municipalities expand and rejuvenate community recreation options, city of Mount Clemens staff members have highlighted four projects as eligible for grants: an inclusive playground, a nonmotorized pathway, ADA-accessible parking and a viewing rain garden. All of the projects are located at Memorial Park.

The estimated cost of the projects totals to around $1,052,600. The grant would cover about $768,300 while the city will provide about $284,300 to help make the application more competitive.

“With Mount Clemens and everything happening in this town, we need to have a barrier-free opportunity for people of all abilities to access recreation,” said Linda Davis-Kirksey, of Davis Kirksey Associates Inc., the firm helping the city with grants. “You don’t have that right now.”

Mount Clemens is looking for its share of $23 million in state grant funds and currently has letters of support from former City Commissioner and state Rep. Denise Mentzer and Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp, among other supporters and organizations.


Garbage collection rate increase
Commissioners also voted to raise the refuse collection fee from $141 per residence to $181 per residence, coming into effect for the summer 2023 tax bill.

According to City Manager Gregg Shipman, the increase is the first of its kind since 2011 and is not tied to the recent switch to Priority Waste as the city’s residential trash collection contractor. It will reportedly prevent the city from losing a projected $104,000 in fiscal year 2023 had fee remained at $141.

The city will conduct an annual review of the rate to determine if an increase or decrease is necessary.


Support for Shipman, statement clarifications
After commissioners approved a contract by a vote of 6-1 to hire Shipman at the June 5 meeting, Commissioner Barb Dempsey spoke with a reporter about why she chose to vote against approving the then-interim manager and fire chief to the position.

Reportedly, her main concerns were a lack of experience in city management positions, her discomfort with the severance package in Shipman’s contract, and several resignations and the termination of the city’s finance director since Shipman became the interim manager.

Commissioner Laura Fournier used her time during the commissioner comments portion of the meeting to lend support to Shipman by acknowledging his nearly three decades of work in Mount Clemens municipal roles and his leadership of the Mount Clemens Fire Department; supporting the timing and method of the finance director’s removal; and praising the way he handled working with the commission during his time as interim manager.

“Gregg has excellent communication skills and in my tenure on this commission I have never been better informed about what is going on than under Gregg’s leadership,” Fournier said. “Case in point (on) Sunday morning (I) get a two-page, at least, dissertation on all the current issues and timelines on things that are going on in the city.”

Commissioner Glenn Voorhess lent his support to Shipman’s hiring as well.