By Meghan Christian
The Flint City Council approved two appointments, unanimously voted for four resolutions, and designated a new street administrator at their Dec. 19 meeting.
Quincy Murphy and Chief Recovery Officer Jameca Patrick-Singleton were appointed to the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors for two-year terms. Murphy’s term will begin retroactively March 9, 2017 and last until March 31, 2019. Patrick-Singleton’s term will be from Dec. 14, 2017 until March 9, 2019.
Patrick-Singleton, who is replacing Maxine Murray, spoke before City Council and expressed why she is interested in working with MTA.
“My interest with the MTA board is like my interest in my position as the Chief Recovery Officer and that’s because I am a member of this community,” she said. “I was born and raised in Flint and I have an interest in making sure residents have access to everything they need, including transportation.”
Services that Patrick-Singleton hopes to make available to residents include rides to the grocery store, medical appointments, and other areas in the community “with the least amount of barriers.”
Next, City Council unanimously approved the transfer of $82,500 from the 101 General Fund balance to go to Flint Police for costs related to towing, storing, and auctioning vehicles.
City Council also unanimously cleared a step for the new Mott Culinary Institute by passing Resolution 170289.2, an amended version of 170289.1 (Resolution 170289.1 approved the application for an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption Certificate for the new Mott Culinary Institute project on July 10). The council action adds specific language to as required by the State: that the resolution be approved for less than 12 years and that the rehabilitation of the facility, at the corner of S. Saginaw and Second streets, would be completed by Dec. 1, 2018.
Next, Robert Bincsik, the newly appointed director of the department of public works, was designated as the Street Administrator. Bincsik does not receive an additional salary for this position, according to Chief Financial Officer Hughey Newsome, and is only required as a point of contact of the State Department of Transportation.
To end the meeting, Councilman Eric Mays continued discussion on already-approved Resolution 170588.1 which deals with the transfer of property from Genesee County and the Land Bank to the City of Flint. This pilot program would allow the City to take over seven vacant and occupied homes from the Land Bank of Genesee County.
Some council members suggested the transfer is an opportunity to improve areas of the city, especially more vulnerable neighborhoods in need of repair, and to demonstrate that the residents throughout the city are equal.
“We got to change the narrative… We want nice ranch houses just as they got nice ranch houses on Circle Drive,” Mays said referring to homes on the North End and to a more affluent neighborhood near Thread Lake.
While some council members were in support of the idea, others voiced concerns that the City would potentially be biting off more than it can chew. Risks include possible litigation and the difficulty in getting insurance in some neighborhoods.
“I understand where our fellow councilpeople are coming from and I admire what you are trying to do as far as helping residents. My concern is that we aren’t actually helping them and we are actually making it worse,” Councilwoman Eva Worthing said.
Echoing her concerns was Councilwoman Monica Galloway. According to Galloway, the issue is not the idea behind the resolution being a worthy cause, but that the risk matched it. She said, “I want to make sure the risk is of value.”
“But we value our neighborhoods and our neighbors as well, and we ain’t trying to be blighted…. If we go in with the understanding of a better of quality of life, I think we are all saying the same thing,” Mays said, urging that the Council and the City should explore this new opportunity to help improve blight in Flint.
EVM Managing Editor Meghan Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.