STATE REPRESENTATIVE BEN FREDERICK discussed work his office is currently working on with the Owosso City Council on Monday evening. He outlined his efforts related to the numerous school closings that happened over last winter, sharing that he introduced legislation to waive the required school days during a state of emergency.
Frederick hopes the legislation would waive having to make up those missed school days due to a state of emergency – since nobody wants to deal with school in the heat of summer.
Frederick also talked about efforts made by him and Senator Tom Barrett in attempting to access emergency/relief funding through the state due to the two tornadoes that struck Shiawassee County on Thursday, March 14. He shared that he was disappointed Governor Whitmer had decided against the emergency declaration. He plans on continuing to work to access further help through other departments.
Whitmer’s declination letter was signed by the Michigan Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Capt./Commander Emmitt McGowan. McGowan, an officer with the Michigan State Police, took on the role in July 2018. The position is responsible for organizing both state and federal resources to assist in emergency/disaster situations, as well as coordinating homeland security.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The Owosso City Council’s regular meeting took place on Monday, April 1 and included two swearing-in ceremonies for new fire department employees, a proclamation for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, a presentation by Sheriff BeGole on the new jail proposal and a number of citizen comments on various issues.
A moment of silence was observed for Shiawassee County Commissioner John Horvath who died Friday, March 29. Commissioner Marlene Webster shared that she was saddened by his loss and hoped everyone would continue to support his family. Webster also informed the council that she is leading a Complete the Count Committee for the 2020 Census. She urged the importance of being certain that everyone is counted.
Tom Manke, of Owosso Township, expressed his frustration at Governor Whitmer for her denial of the request for emergency funding caused by the two tornadoes that touched down in the county on Thursday, March 14.
Eddie Urban, of Owosso, talked about his visit to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Saginaw. Former council member Burton Fox said that he had spent the winter in Arizona, but was glad to be back and shared information related to the 1921 LaFrance pumper truck and the work being done to create a firefighters memorial. State Rep. Ben Frederick approached council on legislation related to school closings and the recent denial to receive state emergency funds for the tornadoes. Parks & Recreation Chairman Mike Espich also spoke to the council, thanking everyone for the approval of the Recreation Passport Grant and explaining that since the Plunge for the Parks was cancelled this year, a corn hole fundraising tournament is planned for Saturday, April 13 at Rivals Taphouse & Grille in Corunna. The proceeds will go in support of the effort to restock Hopkins Lake.
The consent agenda included public hearings planned for Monday, April 15 for two more street assessments and also a public hearing/first reading to receive commentary on a proposed amendment related to bed and breakfast operations. That hearing will be on Monday, April 15, too.
Items of business included the council approving the annual notice to collect on unpaid utility charges in compliance with the city charter, a city budget amendment, and also correcting the term limit in a special assessment resolution. The city manager performance evaluation was also discussed. The format for the evaluation will be voted on at the Monday, April 15 meeting.
During the second citizen commentary session, Espich shared his concern regarding homeless encampments along the James Miner River Trail and in other Owosso locations – requesting the trash to be cleaned up. Pete Yerian, of Owosso, also stated that he thinks Henne is doing a good job as the city manager.
The next council meeting will be Monday, April 15.