City commission approves 2021 operating budget, fills vacant positions


The sun sets on City Hall August 25 in downtown Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant City Commission approved the 2021 operating budget, appointed personnel to city boards and commissions and renewed their contract with Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC) at its last meeting of the year on Monday, Dec. 14. 

2021 Operating Budget

The 2021 operating budget was approved and tentatively set the 2021 millage rate at 16.2 (used to calculate local property taxes.)  General fund expenditures proposed in the budget add up to over $13.3 million with about 56 percent going towards public safety. 

The full budget can be found on the city website.

 Mount Pleasant City Commission approved the 2021 operating budget and millage rate, appointments to city boards and commissions and renewed their contract with Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC).  

Since the 2020-2021 State budget has not yet been approved by the State of Michigan and property values are not updated until March, Mayor Will Joseph reminded the commission to prepare for more amendments to the budget than usual next year.

Commissioner Lori Gillis brought her concerns with MMDC claiming they are providing “overlapping,” services. Services that are already being provided by other city officials and organizations. 

“We have lots of different people doing the same job – all collecting a lot of taxpayer money,” Gillis said. “We should be trying to downsize on our duplication of services.”

MMDC is an economic development resource based out of Clare and Isabella counties that works closely with Mount Pleasant's economic development department.

Contract with Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC)

Later in the meeting, the city renewed its contract with Middle Michigan Development Corporation (MMDC) for an additional three years.

With this renewal, the contract requests an increase of $1,500 for 2021 and a $2,000 increase for the following two years

For Gillis and commissioner Petro Tolas, this increase seemed unnecessary. However, other commissioners felt that this increase is overdue and that MMDC's work is necessary for Mount Pleasant. 

“This is the first time we have given them a raise in 10 years. In the past three years MMDC has brought almost $1.2 million into Mount Pleasant,” Vice Mayor Amy Perschbacher said. “For bringing in almost $400,000 a year on average, (it) isn’t really that big of a deal because (they're) bringing in more than we’re paying (them).”

Appointments to various city boards and commissions

The Appointments Committee worked to gather the following personnel for the vacant positions:

  • Board of Review - Tony Kulick
  • CMU Student Liason - Rachel Agardy (Partial Term)
  • Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority- Judith Wagley
  • Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority - John Zang
  • Parks and Recreation Commission - Desirea Woodworth
  • Planning Commission - David Kingsworthy

After a long debate, the commission ultimately decided to vote by slate - meaning all individuals were appointed at once. 

Commissioner Mary Alsager mentioned the difficulty the Appointments Committee had gaining community participation. She believes there are still “some highly skilled people,” applying for these positions but ultimately COVID-19 impacted civic engagement. 

“I just want to mention as a member of this committee, we did not even have enough applicants at first and we had to think of people we knew and make some phone calls - that’s probably why we have one or two that are duplicates,” Alsager said.

 The entire city commission meeting can be viewed on the city's Youtube channel.