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Community shows energy and focus in working towards restoring integrity of Flint City Council

Written by Tanya Terry, with photos by Tanya Terry

Community Leader Reta Stanley pointed out in a statement to the Courier Jan. 9, 2024: “The community is energized and focused working collaboratively on restoring integrity to a dysfunctional council.”

“Council must attend to the business on the agenda, not exclusive to business, but inclusive of the citizens of the city of Flint,” said one community member at a meeting held at Christ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church at the end of last month.

“We all have heard about the $40 million that has been by five people…given to the general fund,” the community member continued. “That is totally unfair, and something must be done about it. People have been seeking out for two years, requesting assistance with their homes with roofs, siding, windows or whatever the need be.”

The community member told others in attendance they could look at information, which is readily available with an internet search, about our ARPA dollars and what the federal government designed those dollars for.

Other community members said they didn’t feel the council needed to kick Councilman Eric Mays out of council meetings. After Mays’ most recent suspension, U.S. District Court Judge F. Kay Behm denied May’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction on Jan. 11. Therefore, as of publication of this article, Mays’ suspension remained in place.

Some of the concerns attendees of the meeting at Christ Fellowship were most vocal about were the council’s use of the ARPA funds, revising the charter and the parliamentary procedures being used by the council.

As a result of the meeting, on January 3, 2024, Black Leaders Forum, Black Lives Matter-Flint, CAUTION, CBOP, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Democracy Defense League, NAACP-Flint addressed a letter to Flint City Council President Ladel Lewis. The letter stated the following:

A community town hall was held on December 28, 2023 titled “Restore Integrity and Accountability” to the Flint City Council.

The participants identified concerns with council and overwhelmingly agreed the ARPA Funds Allocation should be inclusive of constituents’ expressed needs, allow for transparency and in no way be absorbed into the General Fund. Administrative systems (i.e. Ernst & Young, ARPA Community Advisory Committee) were put in place, in addition to council, to provide a check and balance to these once in a generation funds. These systems were not utilized as promised. The check and balance system is of primary concern and we the undersigned demand immediate reconsideration of Resolution 230464 ARPA Funding/Revenue Replacement. “Resolution resolving that the Flint City Council adopts the ARPA Allocation Plan as its plan for allocating the remaining $40,567,919.85 of the City’s remaining ARPA funding, AND, resolving that $40,567,919.85 is transferred from 287-966.101-995.00 to account 101-000.001-699-287.000 for revenue replacement in the General Fund, AND, resolving that the City will use the funds with the approval of the City Council for the following specific programs: neighborhood improvements, economic development, public safety, public health, infrastructure, administration, revenue replacement, and contingency.

The letter pointed out several of the council president’s fellow council members were present at the town hall and could  share with Lewis their thoughts and insights as the council worked toward addressing this priority concern.

The Courier will continue keeping our readers informed of other actions of the Flint community to keep its city council accountable and to be operating in integrity.

 

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