Senior center asks the city to be on Nov. ballot

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Julie Rudd, a volunteer at the Williamston Area Senior Center, gives a presentation to the City Council about the center. Photo: Sophia Lada

Williamston Area Senior Center

Julie Rudd, a volunteer at the Williamston Area Senior Center, asked the Williamston City Council to add its organization to the November ballot to ask voters to support operational costs.

The center’s budget is $26,000 each year. If voters vote down the millage, said Rudd, then the center will have to shut down within the next five years. If voters approve the millage, then it would receive $125,000, which would cover operational costs, increase staff and improve the volunteer program.

This graph shows how much spending the millage would provide for the Williamston Area Senior Center. Graph: Sophia Lada using Microsoft Excel

Rudd said she already shared the millage proposal with surrounding areas, including Meridian, Eaton Rapids and Holt. City Attorney Tim Perrone said if the city provided money to the center, then there should be a contract that specifies each budget item. 

After her presentation, Rudd said she “thought it went pretty well.”

To underscore the importance of the millage, Rudd said the center is one of two in Michigan with no funding, and this is why it is important to place it on the ballot for the November election. “We should let the community speak,” said Rudd. 

Noah Belanger, a City Council member, supports the ballot measure.

After the meeting, City Clerk Holly Thompson said the center would need to submit ballot language to the city by a certain date to be approved for the November ballot.

Action items

The council voted 7-0 to pass the resolution for the Performing Arts Foundation Charitable Gaming License.

After the meeting, Tammy Gilroy, mayor of Williamston said the council has never voted no against something like a permitted license. She said the council wants the foundation to be successful. “I am all for it, and I would support that,” said Gilroy. “I’ll probably buy a raffle ticket or two if I see them out there selling them.”

The council also unanimously approved the Resolution to Proceed with the Redevelopment Ready Communities Program of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Brett Hanlon presented on the RRC at the last City Council meeting.

Audience Participation

During the public comment portion of the meeting, David Roddy, a Williamston resident, encouraged council members to consider Kristina Lyke, who is running a campaign to represent the 8th district in congress. He later handed out flyers about her campaign.

Also, former City Council member Kent Hall asked on behalf of the American Legion that the City Council proclaim May 22, 2020 as National Poppy Day in Williamston. This idea started out with a small group, but he said he likes “to take little things and maybe make them a little bigger.”  

Hall also participated during the discussion of the Infrastructure Bond.

The council voted to postpone indefinitely discussion to approve the Miller Canfield Engagement Letter for Bond Counsel Services to work on the Infrastructure Bond. City Council member Jeffrey Roland then questioned the motion to pass this action item and said it felt like a “cart before the horse.”  

 After the meeting, Belanger said the meeting went well. “As the mayor states, we’re a team that can disagree and we can agree, but we always come to a consensus.” 

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