FLINT TWP. — A resident is once again calling for the township to seriously consider becoming a city and severing Flint from its name.
Speaking during public comment at the Dec. 5 township board meeting, Chuck Hughes said he would gladly sit on a board commissioned to study feasibility.
“ This is my annual trip to the podium to request that you guys consider Flint Township becoming a city,’’ Hughes said.
He acknowledged drawing heat for making a similar suggestion two years ago.
“I was vilified in the paper for saying Flint is a dirty word but unfortunately it is,’’ he said. “I will take the hit again.’’
Hughes said he especially wants to dissociate the township’s name from the city of Flint
He quoted statistics he said were from Forbes magazine reportedly stating Flint’s property values will not return to 2007 levels until 2017. Forbes ranked Flint the fifth worst place to live in America in a report last year.
“Sadly Flint Township property values are tied to Flint simply by having Flint in our name,’’ Hughes argued.
“ There is no separation in anybody’s eyes between Flint and Flint Township. The township gets no respect.’’
He mentioned the Swedish Biogas plant located in Flint Township and under the jurisdiction of its fire and police protection. But during planning stages for the plant, Flint and Genesee County officials made trips to Sweden but township officials were not involved, Hughes asserted.
“By having township in our name we get diminished and treated like a second class citizen,” Hughes complained. “I don’t like that at all.”
He also said the township lacks a sense of community because it serves three school districts with Flushing, Swartz Creek and Flint mailing addresses.
With its own name, the township would have its own mailing designation, he said.
Most people who live in Flint Township moved out here to get away from Flint,’’ he said. “ We have to look out for ourselves.”
He cited the growth of Auburn Hills when it changed its name from Pontiac Township and severed ties to the city of Pontiac, a fading industrial city which was having similar problems to Flint.
“Look what happened when they became Auburn Hills,” he said. “I would love to have the revenue base the city of Auburn Hills now has.’’
Hughes further charged that Flint and other communities are “living off the fruit of our labors.”
He named Baker College and Genesee Valley Center mall among township locations with a Flint mailing address.
Hughes urged the board to poll township residents to gauge interest in his suggestion. He said he knows of business owners who are not averse to the change.
Board members did not respond to Hughes’ comments but Township Supervisor Karyn Miller asked for his consent to be signed up as the first member if any such committee is formed.