The city council voted Tuesday in a special meeting to rescind .
Their decision was fueled by a variety of factors, including many unanswered questions, feedback from residents following last week's decision and additional information from state and county elections officials saying advisory-only votes are not allowed.
A Shores elections official contacted the state elections office and the Macomb County elections office and in both cases received information saying advisory only votes are not allowed, McInerney said. Elections officials require votes be on action items, he said.
They voted 5 to 1 to rescind their decision about 90 minutes into Tuesday's conversation, was a bit more pointed than last week as the council members were more prepared on the topic and had also heard feedback from residents following last week's decision.
Mayor Ted Kedzierski said he fielded five calls Tuesday alone from residents voicing concern about the schools and being able to stay in Grosse Pointe Public School System. He described the school factor as paramount to any other part of the research.
Shores Attorney Mark McInerney provided his opinion and research related to the school district and their power to change the district lines if the Shores were to move into Macomb County. He said it's a vastly complicated change to make and would be highly unlikely to happen.
McInerney recommended the council seek the opinion of the Michigan Attorney General Tuesday on the district lines question. While he is confident in his opinion that he shared with the council he said seeking the opinion of the state's top attorney would only further help add information and clarity to the situation on one of the issues of utmost concern to residents.
The council must obtain help from a member of the legislature or the governor to obtain the Attorney General's opinion, however, he said. He also warned it could be a long time before hearing an opinion as well.
Councilman Bruce Bisballe said there are a litany of other issues to be considered as well, however. He agrees schools are a big issue but he also questions:
- how the conversion to Macomb County courts would work
- how already established wills, estates and trusts would be handled
- the impact moving to Macomb would have on the current contract with the Grosse Pointe Farms dispatch for shared services
- the impact on staffing related to having prisoners now travel to Macomb County lockup and/or court as compared to the already in-place Wayne County, which the Farms also uses
Tuesday's decision means residents will not vote on the issue in August. Discussion on the topic is far from over, however.
The Move to Macomb Committee is still "in tact," as Kedzierski said Tuesday, and will be gathering and researching questions from council as well as from residents
At one point Councilman Dan Schulte, who is the liasion for the committee and pushed to establish it last year, said he felt Tuesday's special meeting was inappropriate and questioned why all of the discussion wasn't shared before the unanimous vote to seek the advisory vote.
In response, Councilwoman Kay Felt shared her criticism of the committee's work, explaining that other council members were not aware of where the committee was in the process.
"We thought we would get a full fledged report not a one-page summary," Felt said, explaining the decision is too big to rush. She would prefer to be thorough and be sure it was the right decision than rush into making a mistake, she said.
What was listed on last week's agenda as an update from the Move to Macomb Committee morphed into a discussion about how to get it on a ballot despite not providing notice that such a vote would be taken during that meeting--a point some council members emphasized Tuesday.
Among other concerns are the maintenance of the seawall in Lake St. Clair and of Lake Shore Road, which is classified as a county road throughout the Pointes up to Vernier Road. The portion that extends from Vernier Road to the St. Clair Shores border is a city street that must be maintained by the Shores.
Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen attended Tuesday's meeting and spoke a few times, explaining he was not there to take sides or weigh in but find out what it is the constituents want of him to facilitate the research.
He also explained its hard to quantify the use of county services, such as the court system, the jail, the prosecutor, mental health services, child protective services or other larger county functions on a city by city basis. His office does receive inquiries from residents of the Pointes about such services, however, he said.
At least one in a series of residents who spoke to voice concerns Tuesday questioned the level of county services and whether Macomb County's are comparable to what Wayne offers.
In response to Schulte's comment about Tuesday's meeting and change of heart being an embarassment to the community, resident Ray Rahi said he would rather see the council do further research and have solid answers to the many currently unanswered questions on such a big issues than see it stick to something just because they initially voted for it. He said he was happy for Tuesday's discussion and believes "like everything in life, the devil's in the details."
Former councilman Brian Geraghty also spoke Tuesday, explaining he's concerned that the council still has so many unanswered questions on such a big issue. "There is no stepping back," he said of rushing the process by making the move without the answers. "We need information before a vote."
During last week's meeting, some council members questioned why Wayne County voters would ever allow Grosse Pointe Shores to leave when it is a large source of revenue for Wayne County. When asked Tuesday the reception of the idea by the Wayne County Commissioners as a group, Killeen said he had not formally checked into it but considering the already dwindling budget, it's unlikely they would want to allow it to decrease more.
The move would eventually require the majority of voters from Wayne County to vote to allow the Shores to leave and the majority of Macomb County would have to vote to allow Grosse Pointe Shores to join their county.