Category Archives: Government

Board approves pay raises for full-time officials per Compensation Commission’s recommendation

Scott Bolthouse–The Huron Hub

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019

The Huron Township Board of Trustees approved pay raises for the supervisor, clerk, and treasurer, based on the recommendation from the Compensation Commission.

Each position will receive a 4.5% pay increase.

The board approved the raises during the Sept. 25 board meeting.

The three positions receiving the raises are full-time positions on the board.

All other officials and commissions will stay the same.

At the new rates, the supervisor will make an annual salary of $68,448, the clerk and treasurer will make $54,758, according to the commission.

According to the commission, the positions have not received pay increases since 2008.

The 2019 commission held meetings on May 1 and May 29 and was made up of Tim Bush, Todd Drysdale, Dan Dwyer, Bryan Polce, and Jack Richert.

Compensation commissions or committees are established to review the salaries, benefits and allowances of elected officials and are residents of the township.

The decision by the board to approve the increase was not unanimous. Treasurer Colleen Lazere was the only board member to vote against.

You can read the entire recommendation from the Compensation Commission by visiting this link.

You can also view online the entire Sept. 25 board meeting where the decision was made by visiting this link. 


 

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Wayne County Commission approves mixed-use development at former Pinnacle Racecourse site

The abandoned Pinnacle Racecourse sits vacant in this 2014 photo by Scott Bolthouse–The Huron Hub.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019
Updated

Development at the former Pinnacle Racecourse property at the north end of Huron Township looks to be a sure thing.

The Wayne County Commission approved a plan this week that will transform the property into a massive mixed-use development.

The buyers of the property are Hillwood Inc., a Texas based developer, and The Sterling Group Inc.

Hillwood has large-scale global development experience in the industrial and residential sectors and is part of Perot Investments founded by former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Sterling Group is a Detroit based equity firm.

The buyers say their plans are to develop 2 million square feet of buildings on 225 acres of the site, according to David Palmer of The Detroit Documenters Program, who live Tweeted the Wayne County Commission’s meeting on Tuesday.

 

The Pinnacle area property has sat vacant for a decade due to the closure of the racecourse and unpaid taxes.

Wayne County earlier this year sent out request for quotes to over 900 developers and received two bids, according to the Huron Township LDFA.

After one bid was thrown out due to the lack of financial means, township and county officials took serious the offer from Hillwood and Sterling groups.

In July, Wafa Dinaro, Wayne County deputy director of capital development, said that the offer included $4.8 million purchase price which included the 320 acres held by the LDFA2/Pinnacle AeroPark and 330 acres held by Wayne County. $4.8 million is owed in back taxes.

“The buyers have a plan right now for a mixed use development including commercial, office, hotel, restaurant and retail. The percentage of Industrial to Commercial business in this mix use is still in the works,” Dinaro said in July.

In this rough sketch, the developers from Hillwood show what the different phases of the project might look like. The sketch, referred to at the meeting as a “bubble chart” is made up of mostly large buildings but also includes a gas station, hotels, and some retail. (Screen shot: June 19 Huron Township board meeting video)

Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous said during Tuesday’s meeting that the county needed to act fast to develop the site, and he thanked Hillwood for their interest in the region.

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), who sent a letter urging the commission to approve the deal this summer, said:  “Huron Township is a growing community, and the agreement reached to develop a site that has sat vacant for so long is a win for our community. This project will be transformational for our region as we continue to attract new jobs and more families to Downriver. I look forward to working with Warren Evans and the Wayne County Economic Development team to make sure this project is carried out in a responsible way that benefits all residents.”

On July 29, the Huron Township Board of Trustees approved the development plan.

According to a resolution passed by the township board, protection is provided against industry that does not fit the Township Master Plan.

The resolution also retains Huron Township’s zoning process, which allows the board to put stipulations on the types of developments that Hillwood/Sterling can build on the property.

On June 19, representatives from Hillwood visited the Board of Trustees during an open meeting to discuss their plans.

During the lengthy meeting, the developers laid out a potential plan for the site and took feedback from residents who were in attendance.

Video: Pinnacle property discussed at July board meeting

To view The Huron Hub’s complete coverage of the Pinnacle property, including the defunct race track through the recently announced proposed development, please visit this archive on HuronHub.com.


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Romulus urges state to host public hearing on deep injection well license transfer


Posted by The Huron Hub on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019


On Monday, Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff told City Council members that he and the city’s executive team met with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE). During the meeting with EGLE, the city of Romulus voiced multiple safety concerns and requested a public hearing prior to EGLE approving the transfer of the license for the deep injection well on Citrin Drive to Republic Services. In the hours since the meeting, the request for transfer was approved by EGLE. Though the license transfer is considered a minor modification to the permit and does not require public input, the city is continuing to urge ELGE to host a public hearing prior to the onset of operations of the facility. The city of Romulus was notified last week of Republic’s submission of the application.

“We believe the residents of Romulus have a right to be heard before operations begin under new ownership at the deep injection well on Citrin Drive,” Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said. “As a city, we must come together in urging that the state listen to our many concerns. We, the city administration and city council, as well as members of the public, must speak in one united voice.”

The facility has largely been inactive since the original license was granted in the early 2000s and transferred to Environmental Geo-Technologies in 2011. In the meeting with the state on Monday morning, and in corresponding interactions, the city asked the state to allow the public the opportunity to provide input.

Following today’s meeting, EGLE has given the city of Romulus two weeks to provide a list of concerns regarding the facility. In the meantime, the city has notified the Governor’s office of its desire for a public hearing on the issue.

Members of the public are invited to share their concerns and encourage the state to have a public information forum prior to allowing operations at the well by contacting Mark Snow, Environment Manager at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, And Energy by phone at 517-230-8233, by email at snowm@michigan.gov, and by direct mail at Constitution Hall, 525 West Allegan Street, PO Box 30256, Lansing, MI 48909-7756.

The well’s location:


 

State: retailers have 14 days to remove flavored nicotine vaping products from shelves

(Credit: Unsplash.com)


Posted Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Whitmer’s emergency rules banning flavored nicotine vaping products were released today. The flavored nicotine vaping ban was developed in response to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) finding of a public health emergency created by skyrocketing levels of youth vaping.

Related: Michigan becomes first state to ban flavored nicotine vaping products

Michigan was the first state in the nation to announce a ban on the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products such as e-cigarettes. Whitmer announced her intention to issue these emergency rules Sept. 4, and they are effective immediately, although retailers and resellers – including online sellers – have 14 days to comply.

“I’m proud that Michigan has been a national leader in protecting our kids from the harmful effects of vaping,” Whitmer said. “For too long, companies have gotten our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing candy-flavored vaping products as safe. That ends today. This bold action will protect our kids and our overall public health.”

Following Whitmer’s announcement of the flavored vaping product ban, the White House followed Michigan’s lead with a call for similar actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to move forward with flavored nicotine vaping product bans and the New York plans have been approved.

The MDHHS Bureau of Health and Wellness filed the Protection of Youth from Nicotine Product Addiction Emergency Rules with the Secretary of State.

“Today’s filing is necessary to protect the public health,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS. “Youth vaping is a public health emergency and has been declared an epidemic by the U.S. surgeon general. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains and has dangerous long-term health consequences such as heart disease and cancer.”

The rules are effective for 180 days and can be extended for six months. MDHHS has also filed a Request for Rulemaking, which will allow the department to promulgate permanent rules to keep Michiganders safe from the harmful effects of addiction to nicotine.

On June 4, Whitmer signed Senate Bills 106 and 155, which prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and other non-traditional nicotine products to minors. In her signing message to the Legislature, the governor criticized the legislation for not going far enough to protect Michigan’s kids from nicotine addiction, calling the marketing, packaging, and taste of e-cigarettes a “bait-and-switch” engineered to “create new nicotine addicts.”

Nationwide, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students increased 900 percent from 2011-2015. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use spiked 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. kids, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, were regular users.

The rules and other information about Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban can be found at www.michigan.gov/e-cigarettes

Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 


 

Democrat legislators join picket in support of union workers

Photo courtesy of Darrin Camilleri


Posted Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019


State Reps. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), Alex Garza (D-Taylor) and other legislative Democrats joined picketing auto workers at the Romulus Engine Plant last night to show their support for the union workers fighting for fair wages, health care and job security in contract negotiations with General Motors (GM).

“My message to the hardworking men and women picketing in Romulus and throughout the country is that we have your back,” said Camilleri. “Growing up in a union household, I learned the importance of standing in solidarity in the fight for our most basic rights: fair wages, affordable health care and job security — not just for ourselves, but all hardworking Michiganders. I’m proud to stand with our striking auto workers, and I will continue supporting them until these negotiations reach a fair conclusion.”

On Sunday, the United Auto Workers called for a nationwide strike against GM following the expiration of the union contract at midnight on Saturday after talks stalled in the negotiation process.

“These auto workers are simply fighting to be treated fairly and continue supporting their families,” said Garza. “These are rights that every hardworking Michigander deserves. As long as negotiations continue, I’ll proudly stand alongside our striking auto workers.”

In addition to Camilleri and Garza, the auto workers were joined by state Reps. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Kevin Coleman (D-Westland), and state Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor).


34th District Court in Romulus reaches agreement to serve neighboring communities

(Photo: Google images)

Posted by The Huron Hub on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 


The city of Romulus announced last week that it has reached an agreement to reaffirm the city as home to the 34th District Court, and outline agreed-upon terms. The agreement, reached with the support of the Michigan State Court Administrators Office, replaces the 1998 Agreement between Romulus, the Township of Sumpter, the Charter Township of Van Buren, the Charter Township of Huron and Belleville.

The 2019 agreement settles misinterpretations of the prior agreement’s wording with regard to disbursement of funds, protects the communities against future misreading, and affirms the court will continue to be located in Romulus.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the new court building funded through fees assessed through the users of the 34th District Court, located at the city’s municipal campus on Wayne Road. The grand opening is slated for early 2020.

“The city of Romulus is proud to have brought our neighboring communities together to review this important issue, maintain good faith and to continue to host the 34th District Court,” Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said. “Having long understood and honored the spirit of the agreement, we are grateful to have cemented its intent in an official contract approved by all the neighboring communities. We are pleased with this agreement. This agreement puts to rest any question raised that the City of Romulus acted inappropriately and puts into writing changes implemented by the court, and how such court fees will continue to be administered and disbursed to the communities.”

Prior to reaching the new agreement, the city of Romulus conducted all financial transactions in accordance with the 1998 agreement. The city also received the highest, unqualified audit opinion in an outside audit conducted by Plante Moran in 2018.

“The recent signing of the updated 34th District Court Funding Unit Agreement is the latest example of how the five communities that make up this unit continue to work together for a common purpose,” said David A. Glaab, Huron Charter Township Supervisor. “Building on their positive relationships based on mutual trust and respect, the judges, mayors and township supervisors maintained open lines of communication and forged an agreement that will benefit the communities and their court well into the future. This agreement demonstrates what effective leadership and political subdivisions working together as an equal partnership can achieve.”


 

Camilleri calls for supporting auto workers during UAW strike


Posted on The Huron Hub on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019


LANSING — On Sunday morning, the United Auto Workers called for a nationwide strike against General Motors following the expiration of the union contract at midnight yesterday after talks stalled in the negotiation process. In response, state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) issued the following statement:

“As the son and grandson of UAW members, I know firsthand the critical role collective bargaining plays in the ability for everyday families to get ahead. That’s why I stand 100 percent with the workers striking, who are coming together to fight for fair wages, affordable health care and job security — basic guarantees workers in our state, and across the nation, deserve. I hope the talks continue and come to a fair and swift conclusion, and I will continue to support those on strike until that happens.”