Port Huron Council approves debt policy on 4-to-1 vote

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

Port Huron City Council did something it hasn’t done before for the city it governs.

The council adopted Port Huron’s first debt policy that would put limitations in place to determine how the city is issued debt.

“This debt policy is not about the next election, it is about the next generation in ensuring that when we issue debt we do so in a responsible manner and a manner that has a payoff,” said City Manager James Freed.

The final vote for the resolution was 4-to-1, with council member Alan Lewandowski voting against the policy.

The policy would require the city to examine bond proposals and send financial reports to bond agencies.

Council member Ken Harris had a few questions about the language of the policy and why the word “should” was used so frequently.

“The policy provides guidance to the administration,” Freed explained. “It does have some latitude to it, which is better than what we have now — which is no proposal.”

Freed said the policy was modeled after other cities in the state.

While the city is not required by law to have a policy, Freed told the council the city is putting one in place as an example of best practice.

“It’s more of a statement of values to the bond agencies that this is what we will try to strive for,” he said. “This is a common sense best practice reform.”

Council members were given the policy on Thursday to look over the details.

Mayor Pauline Repp and council member Rachel Cole were not present at the Monday night meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Archibald led the discussion in the mayor’s absence.

Council also discussed the reappointment of the 2015 Board of Review.

The board is responsible for correcting errors for residents who review property taxes estimates.

Rene Stephan-Holck, Gary Stoldt and Gary Westrick will return as members of the Board of Review with a yearly salary of $600.

A special council meeting was scheduled for Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. in Conference Room 408 to discuss goals and priorities for 2015.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 26, 2015)


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