Local Government

Published February 2, 2016

ROCHESTER — With many major city projects complete, including the two new parking decks downtown and the Main Street Makeover, Rochester residents and visitors will be happy to hear that 2016 will be a year devoted to planning, according to city officials.

“We’ve really just completed some major projects, so I want to pat the city on the back for completing the Main Street Makeover. They just did the meter program, and the parking decks as well. Those have been the big ones that the city has just recently accomplished,” City Manager Blaine Wing said.

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Published February 2, 2016

At the request of the Troy City Council, a police service aide and a Michigan Department of Natural Resources representative presented a program at the Jan. 25 council meeting about the coyotes in Troy.

Troy Mayor Pro Tem Ed Pennington said that a coyote attacked his neighbor’s dog.

“It’s a problem we’ve never had before,” Pennington said. 

“This has been a topic in the city,” Mayor Dane Slater said.

Troy Police service aide Steve Vaillancourt estimates that there are 40-50 coyotes in Troy.

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Published February 2, 2016

Councilman Sam Aiuto resigned from his position on the Roseville City Council Jan. 26, citing work-related issues that keep him from devoting more time to city business.

“Every meeting when it’s time for our comments and it’s my turn, I end it with, ‘Take care of each other.’ Tonight I’m taking care of Sam,” Aiuto said. “I am resigning my seat on City Council. My work life is keeping me very busy and I can’t take on something if I’m not going to give it 100 percent.”

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Published February 1, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Jack Salter may be a Republican, but the founder of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties said last week that he supports Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison in his plan to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for state representative.

Salter said he would always vote for Ellison because of the qualities he stands for, regardless of political party affiliation.

“And Jim has integrity in spades,” Salter said.

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Published January 27, 2016

MACOMB COUNTY — John Fleming, 27, of Fraser, has dropped out of contention for a Michigan House of Representatives seat in District 31.

In a “very difficult” decision that was made Jan. 16, Fleming said he’s decided to pursue a career opportunity at a law firm. He passed the bar exam last year.

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Published January 27, 2016

Sterling Heights and Clinton Township recently agreed to borrow each other’s fire vehicles in times of emergency.

At a Jan. 19 meeting, the Sterling Heights City Council unanimously voted to adopt an interlocal agreement for reciprocal lending of municipal fire apparatus.

During the meeting, Fire Chief Chris Martin said the agreement will allow the sharing of fire apparatus in an emergency situation. Martin called the plan a no-brainer, adding that the SHFD could potentially face a vehicle shortage situation, and he wants to be prepared.

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Published January 27, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — Like most municipalities across the state of Michigan, the city of Madison Heights has its share of unfunded liability — costs that it must pay for past, present and future retirees receiving pension, health care and other benefits.

At present, this is estimated to total nearly $104 million. These costs continue to grow due to a variety of factors, including revised “mortality tables” reflecting ever-increasing life expectancy.

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Published January 27, 2016

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council has received proposed new logos for the city, and the overwhelming response from residents and officials has been that the existing one needs only minor changes.

According to City Manager Steve Duchane, the project to look into a new logo came through the city’s redevelopment-ready designation from the state and was not financed by the city itself. The city started taking input last fall, and the council discussed preliminary proposals at its regular meeting Jan. 19.

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Published January 27, 2016

The Sterling Heights City Council refused to be silent about a recently passed law that city officials say restricts how and when municipalities may present information about local ballot issues.

At a Jan. 19 meeting, the council voted to adopt a resolution that urges the state to repeal a portion of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed as Senate Bill 571 Jan. 6.

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Published January 27, 2016

The Troy City Council took a long look between the stacks at the Troy Public Library Jan. 12 during a special study session.

“The purpose of the tour was to show the council what we have done and what building issues need to be done this year,” said Assistant Library Director Phillip Kwik.

Mayor Dane Slater said the best use of the Troy Civic Center, which includes the library, will be a topic the council, the Planning Commission, the Downtown Development Authority and city leaders will discuss at an upcoming retreat at the end of February.

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Published January 27, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Members of the City Commission unanimously approved earlier this month an agreement with an independent firm to analyze forthcoming plans for a new City Hall complex.

Plante Moran Cresa will vet details when a new complex is proposed by a partnership between the Surnow Company and the Boji Group — a partnership granted the exclusive opportunity to research and pitch a redevelopment plan for a new City Hall complex at the existing complex’s downtown location. The commission approved up to $30,000 Jan. 11 for the Plante Moran Cresa analysis.

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Published January 26, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Facing changes to dozens of sections of the zoning ordinance, City Council instead tabled the matter, with the mayor creating a new committee to go through the changes and make recommendations to council. 

“I don’t think the public has had adequate notice about a lot of the changes on here today,” Councilman Chris Vitale said.

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Published January 26, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Meant to speed up problems getting to city administrators’ attention, the “Report a Concern” button on scsmi.net has instead sometimes caused more consternation to residents than the original problem they were trying to report.

But with investigation into the problem by the city’s new assistant city manager, Bill Gambill, St. Clair Shores hopes that will become a thing of the past.

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Published January 25, 2016

FERNDALE — With an ever-growing downtown district, the Ferndale City Council approved a liquor license for the Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., in hopes of contributing to the growth of a business that cultivates other business owners in the area.

The Rust Belt Market, which has been open for nearly five years at the corner of Woodward and West Nine Mile Road, is home to about 50 businesses who use the space to set up shop and sell their products, from pictures to jewelry and food.

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Published January 25, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township is not benefiting from the state’s economic recovery. 

That was the main message put forward by Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, who on Jan. 22 delivered his annual “State of the Township” speech.

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Published January 22, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — It hasn’t been put up for a vote, but there is talk on the Madison Heights City Council of implementing tighter security at council meetings.

Mayor Brian Hartwell said he is against it, but feels he is in the minority. He worries that screening attendees would alienate them from attending public meetings. He also feels the extra security is an extreme reaction to nonexistent threats, and wholly unnecessary.

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Published January 19, 2016

FERNDALE — The city of Ferndale has a new parental leave program that will allow both men and women to take up to 12 weeks of time off with full pay.

The new benefit came before the City Council during the Jan. 11 meeting. Councilwoman Melanie Piana, who pushed for the new benefit, said it would not only help the city recruit the best employees, but retain them when the time comes for them to become parents.

Council unanimously voted to approve the policy.

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Published January 19, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Weeks after Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation eliminating straight-ticket voting, local clerks and lawmakers say they hope the state is prepared for the consequences.

St. Clair Shores City Clerk Mary Kotowski said that Michigan has one of the longest ballots in the country on even-year elections, which can include votes for the president, U.S. senators and Congress representatives, boards of education, state lawmakers and more. 

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Published January 18, 2016

MACOMB COUNTY — Nearly a decade after the national recession, Michigan — and the United States as a whole — still has a lot of work to do.

That was the message put forth by local business experts at the Jan. 15 economic forecast at Andiamo in Warren.

Several local and regional dignitaries attended the event.

The first of two speakers was David Sowerby, financial analyst of Bloomfield Hills-based Loomis, Sayles and Co. LP, and the brother of Clinton Township Treasurer Bill Sowerby.

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Published January 13, 2016

A divided vote by the Sterling Heights City Council preserved the status quo on public speaking rules after a councilman proposed to shorten the typical speaking time from seven minutes to four.

During a Jan. 5 meeting, the council voted 4-3 to reject a motion to change the city’s Governing Body Rules of Procedure in order to cut down the speaking time for public comment.

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