FLINT TWP. — Several issues at the state legislature are holding up plans to change the name of Flint Township.
Jerry Preston, chairman of the Suggestion Committee, gave an update to the Flint Township Board of Trustees, Sept. 4.
During that update, he said 49th District State Rep. Phil Phelps introduced the proposed legislation in October last year that would pave the way for the township’s name change.
House Bills 5056 and 5057, which would make it so townships could change their names and county commissions would have the power to enact such name changes, have been held up in committee by Chairman Rep. Jim Lower, said Preston.
“The process has been slow,” said Preston. “There’s no way to change the name without a challenge. Hopefully these bills will become law and give us a renewed effort at economic development.”
Preston said if the legislation is not heard in the committee, which is in lame duck session, by the end of the year it will have to be re-introduced after Jan. 1.
“I must say it doesn’t sound too promising, what our legislature is doing,” said Trustee Frank Kasle.
Preston called the name-change a “great opportunity for the township.”
Once the legislation clears the state and the current roadblock, Preston said he would return for board approval.
Township Treasurer Lisa Anderson asked if approved, would the namechange involve the township retaining a Flint zip code.
Preston said the change would only be in the form of a name, but that currently the Flint mailing address would remain for 90 percent of Flint Township.
He said once there’s a new name, then maybe the board can petition for a name change new zip code.
The Suggestion Committee met at least once a month from September 2016 through April 2017, hashing out the pros and cons of changing the township’s name. In May 2017, it officially recommended the name change to the township board.
But that recommendation hit a snag when the township’s attorney cautioned that current laws may be too vague to support the township’s name change.
It also complicated matters that no records exist of any township changing its name, with the exception of Flint Township which is believed to have changed its name from Garland Township back in the 1800s.
House Bill 5056, as proposed, would amend Revised Statutes of 1846,
Chapter 16, to add Section 2A, that would allow a township board, by a majority vote to pass a resolution authorizing that a name-change application to be submitted to the county board of commissioners for approval. The bill stipulates that the proposed new name must be submitted with the application.
The Suggestion Committee submitted 10 names along with its recommendation. In order of preference, those names are Carman Hills, Garland, Dyewood Heights, Genesee Hills, West Haven, Westwood Hills, Oak Hills, Torrey Heights, Bristol Heights and Rolling Oaks.