Local Government

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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Published January 13, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Results of a recent survey revealed that resident satisfaction is above average, and showed city officials some of the elements that residents desire in a future park.

The purpose of the scientific, public opinion survey, conducted by Cobalt Community Research, was to assess the city’s overall American Customer Satisfaction Index score.

The survey was sent to 1,500 registered voters in October and November 2015, and 348 valid responses were received with a plus or minus 5 percent accuracy rate.

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Published January 13, 2016

FERNDALE — Pleasant Ridge resident and Ferndale School District parent Jackie Hart was named the newest Ferndale Board of Education trustee Jan. 4 after a selection process following the departure of former Trustee Raylon Leaks-May.

Leaks-May was elected in November to the Ferndale City Council, and despite state law allowing her to serve on both the council and school board, she stepped down at the end of 2015. 

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Published January 12, 2016

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill Jan. 6 that disallows local communities from publicly discussing ballot or millage proposals 60 days prior to an election.

Snyder said he interpreted Senate Bill 571, which was introduced by state Sen. Mike Kowall and was the last bill to pass the Legislature in 2015, in a different manner than local officials.

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Published January 12, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Continuing a trend extending back more than a decade, City Council unanimously rejected a proposed raise from the Compensation Commission at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting.

Reflecting that “most of us don’t sit here for the money,” council members once again rejected a proposed 2.5 percent increase in compensation from the commission, which meets at the end of odd years to decide recommendations for council salaries for the following two years.

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Published January 11, 2016

HARPER WOODS — Taxpayers will be asked to support the Harper Woods Public Library with a millage renewal that will come to the polls this November.

At the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously on a resolution to place the millage renewal on the ballot during the Nov. 8 election.

The millage renewal is not a new tax. It is a renewal of the library millage that voters approved in 2010, which expires in 2017.

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Published January 6, 2016

C&G Newspapers

CLINTON TOWNSHIP/HARRISON TOWNSHIP/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — L’Anse Creuse Public Schools will be asking voters to renew a decades-old nonhomestead millage during the presidential primary in March.

According to Superintendent Jackie Johnston, the millage will not raise the taxes for the average homeowner. Locally, the non-homestead millage is an existing 18 mills levy on second homes, including vacation homes and rental homes, as well as on commercial and agricultural property.

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Published January 6, 2016

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Before it even began, 2016 was shaping up to be a good year for Grosse Pointe Shores.

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Published January 6, 2016

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence recently wrote an amendment that requires the U.S. secretary of education to track the educational progress of foster youth in America. 

The amendment was introduced as part of the Student Success Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — commonly known as No Child Left Behind — which is designed to close the achievement gap that disadvantaged students may face. 

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Published January 6, 2016

FERNDALE — For the city of Ferndale, 2016 will see the work of the past few years pay off as several items come to fruition in the new year.

During the May election, Ferndale voters approved the renewal of a Headlee override that will help keep the city financially secure and a street and park improvement bond that replaced the infrastructure bond and will raise $45 million over its 15-year life.

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Published January 6, 2016

FRASER — The new Fraser City Council is looking forward to the new year.

At the end of 2015, Mayor Joe Nichols discussed the biggest points of emphasis moving forward for Fraser. While stressing that there is not a specific issue that stands out, he added that the council’s ability to work together will either result in prosperity or contention.

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