Mount Clemens amends ARPA funds to pay for policing

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published December 7, 2022

MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens City Commission has unanimously approved amending the city’s planned use of American Rescue Plan Act funds, dedicating the $1,695,162 to paying its monthly bills with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office for policing services.

At the commission’s meeting on Nov. 21, ARPA funding was diverted from four previously planned projects: replacement of the water main at Alter Court, water main replacements at West Breitmeyer and Robertson Court, contributing funds to the Cherry Street Mall project and paying for catch basin cleaning. The projects will still be pursued, however, and paid for through the general fund.

Deputy City Manager Jeffrey Wood sat in at the meeting for Interim City Manager Gregg Shipman

Reading a request from Finance Director Cliff Maison, Wood said this change would help keep costs down on the city’s audit. Using federal funds on the four projects would require a Single Audit to be completed, which is more comprehensive than the city’s regular audits. It would also require the city and its contractors to follow labor requiments for the use of the ARPA funds.

“With the approval of the re-appropriation of ARPA monies toward law enforcement services, the city would simply have to produce to the audit team the existing contract with the county along with the monthly paid invoices,” Wood said. “Subsequently, the city will save money on the audit process, which can be put towards the projects and eliminates having to spend additional funds in conforming to the many burdensome regulations.”


Administrative hearings ordinance, first reading
Commissioners also approved the first reading of an ordinance to establish an Administrative Hearings Bureau, voting 6-1 with Commissioner Denise Mentzer voting against it.

The Administrative Hearings Bureau would handle blight violation cases and hear testimony from involved parties in order to determine whether a violation occurred and what the fines will be.

The ordinance was created to address perceived inefficiencies in the city’s approach to blighted properties and is based on similar hearing bureaus in Port Huron and Sterling Heights.

Though commissioners voted to hold a second reading of the ordinance on Dec. 5, commissioners Mentzer and Barb Dempsey expressed some skepticism about the bureau.

“I think it needs to be revisited in a year to see if … it has been cost-effective, if it has done anything for the blight,” Dempsey said. “Because if it is not (effective), we are out about eighty-some thousand dollars to put this program together, and I think it is important for us to keep on top to see if it is really working.”

City water discussion continues

The board’s discussion about the future of the Mount Clemens municipal water system continued on Nov. 21. A final work session was held before the meeting to review a recommendation about whether to build a new water plant or join the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Prepared by consultants AEW, the firm recommended that the board go with the GLWA.

Three residents spoke during a public comment period and urged the board to stick with an independent water system.