Local Government

Published May 16, 2016

STERLING HEIGHTS — With the summer heat just around the corner, Sterling Heights city officials are reminding low-income residents that they might be able to qualify for water bill payment assistance.

During a May 4 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Treasurer Jennifer Varney gave a brief presentation about the Water Residential Assistance Program that is available for some communities in the region.

Varney said WRAP was created and funded through the regional Great Lakes Water Authority, which officially became operational in January.

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Published May 12, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — The budget for the new fiscal year met with unanimous approval at the Madison Heights City Council meeting May 9.

There weren’t any notable changes from the budget previewed at council’s workshop in April. To recap, that means no new taxes. It also means that while the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) is charging the city more for water, the increase won’t be passed on to taxpayers.

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Published May 11, 2016

PARK — The rapidly escalating cost of retiree health care and pensions means that city leaders could be seeking a Headlee override or special millage approval from voters to cover those costs.

City Manager Dale Krajniak said the price of retiree health care and pensions has risen by about $900,000 over the last decade — an expense the city has managed to cover so far by cutting staffing, selling city-owned property and reducing expenses.

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Published May 11, 2016

OAKLAND COUNTY — The “economic renaissance” in Oakland County will continue to get better at a moderate, but still healthy and sustainable, rate of growth into year seven of the economic recovery, according to University of Michigan economists. 

Job growth in Oakland County is expected to increase 2 percent each year for the next three years, skewed toward jobs on the higher end of the pay scale — with annual wages of $75,000 or more accounting for 35 percent of the increase. 

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Published May 11, 2016

vmitchell@candgnews.com
CLAWSON — The Clawson Downtown Development Authority seeks citizen input on what they find to be the most meaningful places and spaces in town.

Input will be gathered in the form of an online survey where participants may snap photos of specific buildings or spaces with their smartphones or log on to the website from a tablet or PC to comment on what specifically makes Clawson unique.

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Published May 11, 2016

OAKLAND COUNTY — Three people have filed to run for the Oakland County executive seat — including longtime Republican incumbent L. Brooks Patterson, who is seeking his seventh term.

The two Democrats running for their party’s slot in the August primary are former state Rep. Vicki Barnett and Mark Danowski, of Davisburg.

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Published May 11, 2016

FRASER — It’s almost crunch time when it comes to the next fiscal year budget in Fraser.

Recent budgetary workshops have accompanied discussion among city officials regarding how the city should move forward in a fiscally responsible way.

City Manager Rich Haberman gave a preview of what city council should look forward to when deliberating issues affecting not only the budget of the next fiscal year, but also years to come.

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Published May 11, 2016

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — Voters will decide whether or not the Macomb County Veterans Service Department will see increased funding following a millage proposal vote this August.

On May 5, the Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved unanimously the language that will appear on the ballot for the Aug. 2 primary election day vote.

“I’m pleased, because now we can offer more services starting next year, or at least move forward to expanding,” said Laura Rios, director of the Veterans Services Department.

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Published May 11, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — In a budget season when St. Clair Shores faces a potential multimillion-dollar shortfall between revenues and expenses, requests from different departments in Parks and Recreation were met with concerns and questions from City Council during the fiscal year 2016-17 budget hearings.

Recreation programs, like the swimming pool and the Special Needs Playground Program, are costing more to run this year because of the increase in the minimum wage, City Manager Michael Smith said.

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Published May 11, 2016

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office has dismissed a complaint filed against West Bloomfield Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy that alleged she violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.  

Per the complaint filed on April 15, West Bloomfield resident Lawrence Gray alleged that Shaughnessy had used township resources to promote herself to primary voters “1 foot away from an official poll location” during the presidential primary election, which was held March 8. 

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Published May 11, 2016

CENTER LINE — Eleven weeks.

Center Line officials said that’s the incredibly short amount of time it took for the community to respond with overwhelming support for a proposed plan to restore the K-9 unit at the Department of Public Safety.

In that time, officials said, the city’s businesses and individual residents stepped up with cash donations totaling more than $33,000, plus generous in-kind contributions that included veterinary services and a new vehicle from Crest Ford.

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Published May 11, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A local restaurant owner issued a challenge that if the Shelby Township Police Department could collect 100 pounds of prescription medications this month, he would donate $1,000 to its Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

The challenge came as a result of the Police Department’s 167-pound prescription medication takeaway during the township’s annual hazardous household waste collection event April 30.

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Published May 10, 2016

OAKLAND COUNTY — With the weather steadily becoming nicer in Oakland County, cities have begun implementing grass and weed height ordinances for properties.

The city of Ferndale’s grass and weed season began on May 1 and will run until Oct. 31. With its restrictions, grass must be trimmed or mowed so it’s no higher than 7 inches. Weeds also must be trimmed or removed before reaching as high as 7 inches.

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Published May 9, 2016

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights city officials say the newly passed 2016-17 budget will allow the city to follow its long-term plans.

The Sterling Heights City Council unanimously approved the proposed and amended 2016-17 budget during a May 4 council meeting. The 2016-17 fiscal year starts in July.

According to the city, the overall proposed budget is for around $170 million. Sterling Heights Finance and Budget Director Brian Baker said the total budget decreased by about $7.8 million, or 4.4 percent, compared to the previous year.

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Published May 9, 2016

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Public Library is seeking a half-mill millage increase on the August primary election ballot following unanimous approval by the City Council April 26.

Library Director Jackie Harvey said that over the past few years, the library has been forced to dip into its reserve fund — essentially its savings account — to balance its budget. The library has already made cuts over the past few years, she said, and the Library Commission feels that a millage increase is the way to proceed.

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Published May 4, 2016

FARMINGTON HILLS — Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilwoman Valerie Knol’s husband, Paul Welday, was her biggest cheerleader, she said.

Welday, 57, died April 25, and throughout the area, many in the political community have come forth to say how their friend and associate supported them too.

Welday was a principal partner at Lansing-based Superior Capitol Consulting, a government and public affairs consulting firm, according to the firm’s website.

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Published May 4, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Incumbent Kim Meltzer will face off against challenger George Sobah for the Clinton Township clerk position when voters hit the polls Aug. 2.

Sobah, a 20-year resident of Clinton Township and retired police lieutenant of the St. Clair Shores Police Department, currently serves as secretary on the Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education — a board he has been part of in different capacities for the past 16 years.

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Published May 4, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The race to replace Bill Sowerby is underway.

Sowerby, who has served as treasurer of Clinton Township for nearly 20 years, threw his name into the 31st House District representative hat. His running for state government will result in a vacancy at the treasurer position.

Current Clinton Township Trustee and Democrat Paul Gieleghem will square off against Republican Phil Rode in the Aug. 2 election.

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Published May 4, 2016

ROSEVILLE — The Downtown Development Authority laid out its early spending proposals — which include sidewalk and lighting improvements, and increased safety — at a City Council meeting April 26.

According to Doug Piggott, of Rowe Professional Services, who gave the presentation, the DDA will be securing funding through tax increment financing. That sets the 2015 property taxes as a baseline for the downtown district, and the district captures any increases in tax values to fund improvements.

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Published May 4, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — “This is the toughest budget I’ve seen in my 16 years.”

So began two nights of budget hearings in front of City Council, in which Mayor Kip Walby said the city needs to hold the line on spending in an effort to reduce the amount of money needed to balance the budget from the rainy day fund. 

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