Allen Park could get free legal help

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – With layoffs looming and the city borrowing $1 million from its water enterprise fund to keep its general fund afloat, city officials have become very fond of the word “free.”

The latest free program could involve added legal help for the city.

City Attorney Todd Flood requested a resolution Tuesday to explore the possibility of local law schools hosting a student clinic in the city, providing the city’s law firm, Flood Lanctot Connor Stablein PLLC., with free second- and third-year law student interns to assist with the city’s legal matters.

“It seems as though every time our firm has picked up some piece of paper, we’ve come across an issue that we think needs addressing,” Flood said. “There’s a daunting task in the city of Allen Park to make sure we have enough support of staff.”

Flood said the law students would be required to pass certain classes and earn certain grades. He said area communties like Woodhaven have used student prosecutors and have saved thousands of dollars, but he is especially seeking help on the city’s legal matters.

“I think its a creative way for us to get students in here and save some money,” Flood said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, and these students would help us dramatically with it.”

Twenty-two employees, including seven police officers, five firefighters, three dispatchers, the deputy clerk and the mayor’s secretary, are to be cut under the 2011-12 budget to help close a $3.8 million deficit. The budget is to be re-adopted in a second budget hearing following one held July 1.

The second hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday to provide the 10-day review period mandated by the city’s charter. The first hearing, held on the state’s deadline for the budget, did not allow for the 10-day review period.

Following the hearing will be an informational meeting on the Headlee Amendment override, which could bring in $2 million if passed Aug. 2 by allowing the city to override the Headlee Amendment to the state constitution. The amendment requires a local government to reduce its millage rate when annual property growth exceeds the rate of inflation.