Council does an about face on McLaren Street paving

BURTON — With all seven members present at the Aug. 16 city council meeting, the matter of including McLaren Street in the upcoming Center Road resurfacing was brought back up and passed this time.

The council, with five members present two weeks ago, approved the Center Road resurfacing project at a cost of $770,242, but Councilman Tom Martinbianco led a successful push to remove McLaren Street from that plan.

The issue of why McLaren Street was a part of the project arose after Martinbianco said he didn’t think the street had anything to do with a major road like Center Road and should be removed from the contract for milling and repaving with ACE Saginaw Paving Co. of Flint.

This past Monday, however, the full council was present, and Councilman Vaughn Smith used a little known “renewal motion” to bring back the original motion from Aug. 2 which included McLaren Street and got it passed by the 4-3 vote.

Martinbianco, along with President Steve Heffner and Councilwoman Tina Conley voted against the project with the inclusion of McLaren Street.

Heffner questioned how bringing back a motion after it had already been voted on was legal, but Attorney Amanda Doyle said because the original motion was amended last meeting, the council never voted on the original version.

“It’s a renewal motion, which can happen at any time,” she said. “As long as no action has been taken on that motion in furtherance of it, then it can be renewed at any time.”

Smith said he brought it back up because he thought it was an important issue the entire council should decide.

“I think all seven-council member, not just five, should vote on this,” he said.

At the last meeting, Councilman Danny Wells and Councilwoman Deb Walton were both absent when the council voted on the amended Center Road paving project motion in a 3-2 vote.

Heffner asked Smith why he was so determined to have McLaren included in the Center Road paving, to which Smith replied it was because it would be cheaper for the city in the long run.

Charles Abbey, director of the Burton Department of Public Works, said Aug. 2 engineers recommended adding it into the Center Road project because it would require milling and resurfacing, like Center Road.

He said the city looks at roads and makes fixes based on what each road needs. Because there would be milling and resurfacing equipment brought in to do Center Road, which makes up the bulk of the cost of the project, it was determined to be more cost effective to throw McLaren into the project so the same equipment would not have to be brought in at a later time to perform the resurfacing.

Heffner said in council discussion Monday he voted to remove McLaren Street from the original motion because the council is working to establish a street improvement plan in which homeowners will be asked to pay a portion of any resurfacing projects on their local streets. He said he thinks McLaren should not be done for free prior to switching to that plan.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the rest of the people,” he said.

At press time, Conley had sent a page from Robert’s Rules of Order about motions to the Burton View and Doyle which says a council member of the losing side of a vote cannot bring a motion back to the table for reconsideration – only someone who was on the winning side of a vote can do so.

A decision on that rule was not available.