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Judge dismisses Flint ARPA lawsuit

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A circuit court judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the process Flint’s mayor is using to prioritize projects to be funded by American Rescue Plan Act money.

The suit was brought by two city council members upset that the mayor appointed an advisory board that has met privately to consider which projects should receive millions of dollars from the federal COVID relief funding act.

They claimed the advisory board violates Michigan’s open meetings law, which lays out the rules for what government meetings must be open to the public, and the city charter.

But Circuit Court Judge Chris Christenson disagreed and dismissed the lawsuit.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley welcomed Monday’s ruling.

“Definitely [it] is a relief because now we can continue to move forward without the shadow of these individuals who would cast doubt in the minds of residents of this great city,” said Neeley.

Councilman Eric Mays was one of the council members who brought the lawsuit. He’s disappointed by the circuit judge’s decision.

"I listened to the judge talk about whether or not it was a frivolous complaint. It was not,” said Mays, who added that he is leaving open the door to renewed litigation.

In the meantime, Flint city council members remain at odds over approving millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.