Council approves fire grant, talks of redistricting

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – The salaries of three firefighters won’t be the responsibility of the city after a council vote Feb. 29.

The City Council approved the acceptance of a $332,172 federal grant during its regular city council meeting. The grant will supply a two-year salary for three firefighters at no cost to the city.

During the meeting Deputy Chief Russell McNamee requested to accept the Assistance to Firefighters Grant moved by Councilman Ned Apigian to approve the $46,570 assistance grant and 20 new sets of firefighter turnout gear. The old firefighter gear is not reusable and will be disposed of.

The gear also was the obligation of 20 percent cost sharing that will be considered part of the firefigthers protective clothing budget.

The council also discussed redistricting of voter precincts in the city.

Every 10 years during the census the city has options to redraw precincts to make voting easier for residents, which was one of the options brought up by City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz. He said redistricting can prevent long lines and encourage people to vote.

Prusiewicz said 5,734 registered voters in the city voted during the Michigan presidential primary last week. He added that more information will be available at a later date.

Councilwoman Margaret Van Houten said the city does not have any new precincts because of lagging state laws on the issue.

“We are by far the most difficult city or township in this state to do the redistricting plan,” she said. “We have seven school board districts in our city, two state House districts, two congressional districts … we are the poster child of difficult divisions within the city.

Prusiewicz added that a city district map should be posted online when it is sanctioned by the state.

Also at the meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton was appointed to the Commission on Aging. Councilman Tom Berry moved to appoint Hicks-Clayton to the vacant position that was previously filled by George Booth. The three-year term ends April 2014.