By Tom Travis
The Flint city council Monday night heard details of threats against the life of Councilperson Maurice Davis (2nd Ward), and in addition approved a property tax exemption, filled out appointments to two key city panels, and agreed to a training aiming to improve council decorum and resolve parliamentary wrangling.
Davis told the Flint city council at the virtual meeting that a man has threatened his life in up to 12 phone calls. Davis said the caller told him, “You have three days to live.” Davis said the caller demanded Davis approve $1 million for the Flint Police Department.
Davis described the caller as “calm,” adding that he did not know the caller. “I’m tired of it,” Davis said.
Councilperson Eric Mays (1st Ward) spoke up to say, “It’s a crime to assault and threaten an elected official. I come from the Martin Luther King era. I don’t mind being dead, just make it quick.” Mays suggested that the police trace the phone call. Flint Police Chief Terence Green was on the line for the council meeting.
Other council members chimed in, expressing their concern. Councilperson Eva Worthing (9th Ward) said, “The death threats are completely unacceptable.” Mays quoted scripture verses from the third chapter of the book of Proverbs in the Bible.
On Tuesday local media outlets reported a man has been arrested and awaiting arraignment in connection with the life threatening phone calls. The suspect is in the Genesee County Jail.
Davis is running for reelection as Flint’s 2nd Ward councilperson in November 2021. A Democrat, Davis made headlines around the county during the 2020 presidential campagin by supporting former president Donald Trump. EVM talked with Davis about his decision to support Trump last Fall.
“Hardship exemption from property taxes” – available from City’s Assessor’s office
In other business, City of Flint assessor Stacey Kaake announced the City of Flint is offering hardship exemptions from property taxes. Residents must meet certain guidelines including being the owner and occupying the property as a homestead, complete a notarized application, provide Federal and State income tax forms and meet the City’s poverty income standards.
The seven page form and complete guidelines can be downloaded and read here: 2021 Hardship Exemption Application Instructions
Kaake was on the line for Monday’s meeting to answer questions about the hardship exemption. In a follow-up email, Kaake said the application will be on the City’s website within the next few days or residents can call Assessor’s office and request an application mailed to them.
Residents must apply for the exemptions through the assessor’s office. Kaake offered that her office will work with residents for the best way to apply. The Assessor’s office can be reached at 810-766-7255.
City Council will undergo training on “decorum, debate and dilatory motions”
The city council will undergo a two-day training on “decorum, debate and dilatory motions.” (According to the Oxford Dictionary Dilatory means intending to cause delay.) The council has experienced discord and long periods of arguing in recent years due to disagreement over the relevance of motions brought to the floor.
Freelance state registered Parliamentarian Eleanor “Coco” Siewert will conduct the trainings on Monday, Feb. 15 and Monday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. Siewert has previously conducted trainings with the city council.
The trainings will be electronic meetings and will be posted in compliance with the open meetings act. Members of the public will be able to listen to the meetings. Councilperson Mays (1st Ward) made the motion for the training dates with Councilperson Herb Winfrey (6th Ward) giving support to the motion.
Appointees approved for Human Relations Commission and Ethics and Accountability Board
The council approved three appointments in Monday’s meeting.
Charis Lee has been appointed as the 3rd Ward representative to the Human Relations Commission for a two-year term from October 2020 to October 2022.
Raynetta Speed has been approved as the 1st Ward representative to the Human Relations Commission for a two-year term from October 2020 to October 2022.
Linda Thompson has been approved as the 6th Ward representative on the Ethics and Accountability Board with her term beginning Feb. 2021 and expiring in June 2022. Thompson replaces Delores Langston who resigned in Dec. 2020.
New city attorneys introduced to council
New City Attorneys JoAnne Gurley and Tom Sparrow were introduced by City Attorney Angela Wheeler. They each replace two open positions in the City’s law department, one that was recently vacated by Attorney Reed Eriksson who left the department in late 2020.
The City of Flint’s legal department consists of Angela Wheeler as Chief Legal Officer; Bill Kim, Assistant City Attorney; and attorneys Kelly Thompson, Harrell Millhouse, Victoria Cooper, JoAnne Gurley and Tom Sparrow.
Next city council meeting 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22
The next regular city council meeting will be Monday, Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. The public can call-in to join the public speaking period by dialing 617-944-8177. The public can view and listen to the electronic monthly meetings every second and fourth Mondays of each month on the City of Flint meeting’s Youtube channel.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.