City Council postpones vote on garbage assessment

FLUSHING — Flushing City Council has opted to postpone a vote on garbage assessment rates for the 2020/2021 fiscal year, following complaints made by residents at a public hearing.

During a telephonic meeting held on June 24, the city council heard objections from former Flushing Mayor Kevin Keane, who said that citizens did not receive proper notice about the public hearing. Keane said he was opposed to the council taking any action that would be in violation of the Flushing City Charter because of a “failure to notify citizens about the public hearing.”

Former Flushing City Manager Brad Barrett also weighed in on the public hearing proceedings via email, saying that he did not receive advanced notice about the garbage assessment and that the community lacked access to detailed information on the city website prior to the hearing. Barrett also said that the special assessment proposal failed to comply with the city charter, and that he would reserve his right as a Flushing citizen to file a special assessment appeal with the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

In response, the city council voted to postpone a vote on the garbage assessment schedule, pending a legal review of the assessment from Flushing City Attorney Matt McKone.

Under the city’s current contract with Emterra Environmental, the garbage assessment is set at $249 per unit and includes the Emterra contractual amount plus Department of Public Works (DPW) chipping and curbside leaf pickup. The city is seeking to add $181 to that cost for each of a parcel’s additional units for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. — B.G.