The Owosso City Council held its second regular virtual meeting on Monday, April 20. Seven items were approved on the consent agenda including setting a public hearing for the 2020-21 city budget. The date for the hearing is planned for Monday, May 18. It is not yet known if the hearing will be held during a virtual meeting. Also on the consent agenda was the approval of $35,000 in emergency response funds for seven downtown businesses through DDA/Main Street, which has been continuously working in support of local non-essential merchants in assisting them during the mandatory shutdown due to COVID-19.

   Five items of business were also approved during the Monday evening meeting. The first item involved authorizing a virtual bid option – allowing the city to consider bids received via email and “authorizing virtual bid openings” until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Typically, the city receives bids through a currier, by mail or in person. However, with state limits in place, bids can now be submitted through the Internet and then the city will open submissions through a live broadcast, likely through social media. Henne shared that “this is just for the emergency right now.” The Owosso city ordinance would have to be modified otherwise.

   The next council meeting is planned for Monday, May 4. It is not known if it will follow a traditional format and be held at city hall.

   After all agenda items were discussed, council member Jerry Haber brought up the question of the state stretching “this out for another two weeks.” Haber wanted to know if the city had the authority to override an executive order at the state level. Owosso City Mayor Chris Eveleth shared that he did not think the city had that authority, but he deferred to city attorney Scott Gould. Gould supported Eveleth, sharing that the state legislature had supported the governor’s order to extend the state of emergency through April 30. Both the state senate and the house of reps are currently Republican majority. Ultimately, both chambers had approved the 23-day extension.

   It should be noted that positions on city council are nonpartisan and council members are sworn in under nonpartisan service as representatives of city constituents.

Owosso City Council Continues to Forge Ahead was last modified: April 27th, 2020 by Karen Elford