(Independent File Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The new Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility (SCMCF), or Pleasant View, is in operation in The Commons off M-21, and the former SCMCF property is back in the possession of the city of Corunna. Unfortunately, the handling of the transition of the property from the county back to the city has put the two sides at odds with each other. The two sides are now in the process of working through the disagreement and re-establishing their previously healthy working relationship.
Before the former SCMCF property on Norton Street was handed over to the city of Corunna in February, the county took possession of equipment and furniture to be used in county offices, which was done with the blessing of the Pleasant View staff. Unfortunately, the city of Corunna took issue with the county removing items such as a generator, fixed (attached) cabinets, and a security and key card system. The city also did not expect to re-take possession of the property until April of 2018, so the city incurred unplanned winter heating expenses.
The city of Corunna had previously granted the county a no consideration, month-to-month lease to use the city property on Norton Street for the MSU Extension office, the buildings and grounds building and the SCMCF. That agreement was rescinded by the city after it was discovered that the county took the aforementioned items from the SCMCF, which the city feels was outside the agreement made between the two sides. Now, instead of leasing the property to the county rent-free, the city has imposed a rental rate of $6,500 per month, or $75,000 per year. The board feels that the land transfer agreement did not entitle the city to the building or its contents, so the city actually benefited by receiving a building in the deal.
The city of Corunna has been discussing plans for the former SCMCF property for years and has been working with the county to coordinate the transfer of the property. The city’s 20-year master plan calls for the former SCMCF property and the remainder of the land from S. Norton Street to E. McNeil Street – containing the Parmenter industrial lands, the new John Street development, the MSU Extension building and the buildings and grounds building – to be further developed into the city’s “South Side Development.”
The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners was informed by the staff of Pleasant View in late 2017 that any equipment and furniture left in the Norton Street facility on Feb. 1 would be auctioned off by Pleasant View prior to the transfer of land back to the city. Because of this, the board discussed what to do with the leftover furniture and equipment during its Jan. 4, 2018 meeting. It was decided that county offices would be notified, and any excess items from the former SCMCF could be repurposed and used by county employees.
When reached for comment, Commissioner Brandon Marks said he was disappointed to see the relationship between the county board and the city affected, and that he looks forward to working through the issue with the city.
“We have had a good relationship with the city, and I know that we can work through this,” stated Marks. “[Corunna City Manager] Joe Sawyer is a good guy and we have always worked well together, so I am confident we can resolve this and get back to working to improve the lives of residents in Corunna and throughout Shiawassee County.”