Council Approves Mutt Strut, Discusses Marathon Traffic Snarl
The Dearborn City Council at their April 4 meeting heard concerns over pay raises, discussed upcoming Clean-Up Parades, and talked about the Mutt Strut's growth and impact on the city.
The Dearborn City Council met on Monday, April 4, and discussed a number of issues and events happening in the city.
Here's a look at what took place:
A resolution was passed to award two projects to a Belleville-based company, Discount Pool and Spas.
The first project will consist of renovations to the Dunworth Pool bathhouse, located in Levagood Park, and will cost the city $29,900. The second project will take place at Camp Dearborn and will consist of modifications to the area. The project will cost $28,500.
The resolutions were both passed unanimously.
Brownfield Reimbursed for Severstal
A resolution was passed to appropriate $779,945 to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to cover reimbursement costs to Severstal Steel.
Severstal was approved last month for two state Brownfield tax credits valued at $10 million and $1.25 million and a state tax capture valued at $19.4 million. The city has worked with Severstal, as is the case with this reimbursement, to help the company secure tax credits and move forward with its investment in Dearborn.
Severstal has invested more than $1.3 billion in upgrading its manufacturing facilities.
Raises Come Into Question
Councilman David Bazzy voiced concern over a proposed resolution relating to the city’s Executive and Administrative Salary Plan, which is responsible for raises for city employees.
Bazzy said he felt that it wasn’t the best option to vote to approve the amendments to the plan without first obtaining more background information to address some concerns he has.
“It seems inappropriate that we would base a salary … classification just based purely on doing more work,” Bazzy said. “Where I come from, which is manufacturing, for the last 12 years, we’ve been taking on more and more and … doing more with less.”
He added, “I just have a hard time just simply looking at something and saying, ‘They’re doing more, therefore they need to be paid more.’ Because we’re all doing more, and we’re all going to be doing more for less for a while until we get out of this deep budget issue.”
Mayor Jack O’Reilly asked that the issue be tabled until Bazzy’s concerns could be addressed–an idea that was supported by City Council.
“We condensed some different departments into one … and when we did that, we had to sort out how those pieces fit,” O’Reilly said. “I’d rather be able to show in a study session what we did.”
Clean-Up Parades Coming Soon
Permission was granted to the City Beautiful Commission and Dearborn Public Schools to conduct the 2011 Clean-Up Parades during the period of May 2-19.
Held at various elementary schools throughout the city on consecutive days, the parades team up city workers with students to conduct clean-up days in those areas.
The Clean-Up Parades, Councilwoman Nancy Hubbard noted, used to involve every school. However, due to the large number of schools in the city and the dwindling number of city employees available to give time to the efforts, schools now alternate years of participation.
“This is a lot more manageable and I think it makes it more effective,” O’Reilly said. “They have two years to prepare.”
Mutts to Strut Their Stuff in May
Permission was granted to the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter to conduct the sixth annual Mutt Strut on May 14 and 15.
Shelter Development Director Kelle Sisung spoke at the council meeting about the event with the help of her own mutt, Harry.
“When we first brought this event to the mayor a few years ago, we never thought that it would get this large,” she said. “We went from a few hundred people five years ago to drawing over 3,000 people to the event last year, raising more than $85,000 for our shelter. We hope to make bigger strides this year.”
Sisung explained that the event, which is held at Ford Field, isn’t only a win for the shelter, but for the city, as two-thirds of Mutt Strut participants come from outside of Dearborn.
“This is a wonderful way to showcase our community and for all our community supporters to show their support for a great city service,” she said. “(At Mutt Strut), we raise more than 80 percent of the funds to take care of the 2,400-plus animals that come through our doors every year.”
This year’s Mutt Strut will include a walk around downtown west Dearborn, a Doggie Fun Zone and expo, a Mutt Meet & Mingle, a doggie dash and even a reunion for the Chihuahuas rescued in 2009 from a dilapidated home in Dearborn.
To learn more about the Mutt Strut, visit their website.
Mayor Apologizes for Martian Traffic Holdup
Mayor O’Reilly offered an official apology from the city for traffic issues that arose from the Martian Marathon on Saturday.
He said complaints from residents centered on the fact that people trying to cross Military Street during the event were sometimes stopped for up to 20 or 30 minutes while they waited for a break in runners that would allow them to cross the road.
Also, traffic was stopped as runners came back down Brady Street, causing a backup on westbound Michigan Avenue.
"Last year, we had a similar route and didn’t have a problem. But this year, because of the doubling of the volume created that problem. We got caught off guard and in the future, we’ll try to make sure to have a plan that won’t create that double capture.”
“We just need to get the runners to run faster,” Bazzy joked.
Overall, O’Reilly said, the event was a success in terms of bringing 7,000 people to the city.
“We certainly don’t accept that we’re inconveniencing people, but we do recognize that the event gives a very positive response from people who come and participate in it.