FLINT TWP. — Proposed legislation that would pave the way for the township’s name change is now in the hands of a state legislators.
On October 4, State Representative Phil Phelps introduced House Bills 5056 and 5057, according to Jerry Preston, in a update provided to the township board. Preston, who chaired the township’s volunteer Suggestion Committee, informed the board last month that the proposed legislation was the latest step in the name-change effort that began more than a year ago.
The Suggestion Committee met at least once a month from September through April, hashing out the pros and cons of changing the township’s name. In May, 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 namechange 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. For more detail, see www.legislature. mi.gov/(S(oqnbmlq2twony5jj0bdj30cy))/ mileg.aspx?page=BillStatus&objectname= 2017-HB-5056
That ties into proposed House Bill 5057, amending Public Act 156 of 1851 PA 156 to add Section 14A which essentially requires approval of the name-change application by three-fifths of the members of the county board of commissioners. For more detail see www.legislature.mi.gov/ (S(oqnbmlq2twony5jj0bdj30cy))/mileg.aspx- ?page=getObject&objectname=2017-HB-5057
P.A. 156 defines the powers and duties of county boards including local, administrative and legislative powers.
Both proposed bills have been referred to the state House Committee on Local Government. The next step would be for the Committee to refer the bills to the full house and after that they would go before the Senate. There is no timeline on how long that process will take.
Preston stressed that if the bills are approved and become law, Flint Township would not be obligated to follow through with its proposed name change.
“This simply outlines the process to change a township’s name if that is what the township wants to do,” Preston said.
That decision is up in the air. At the outset, township officials planned to place the question on a ballot for voters to decide but during the process were informed that a referendum is not allowed.
In June, the board voted to hire a consultant to conduct a community survey. That survey, which would incur some cost, was placed on hold until the legal questions are resolved.
The Suggestion Committee submitted ten 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.