HEIGHTS — The city will again have a new corporation counsel appointee, Roger Farinha, after he was confirmed by the City Council Aug. 23.
The vote was 5-2 with Councilmen Tom Wencel and Robert Constant voting against. The same vote also rescinded the motion by council that had previously appointed Nadia Hamade to the position.
Farinha begins his new role with the city Sept. 1. The new full-time corporation counsel position comes with a $115,000 salary.
A budget amendment was made at the July 12 council meeting to allowed for the hiring. The total cost of the position is $171,925, which includes $13,500 for medical insurance, $1,500 for life insurance and $41,925 for fringe benefits. The funding for the budget amendment will come from the general fund.
Current contractual services with Corporation Counsel Gary Miotke, attorneys O’Reilly Rancilio and Chris Mikula will be smaller as Farinha takes on more work.
During the Aug. 23 meeting, Councilman Hassan Ahmad said he didn’t see any experience with municipalities on Farinha’s resume.
Mayor Bill Bazzi said Farinha has a lot of experience with the state and Washington, D.C., on numerous occasions with different initiatives.
Bazzi also talked of Farinha’s experience with school boards, Detroit Mayor Duggan, forfeitures, real estate, ligation, and prosecution.
Council Chair Dave Abdallah said he made calls and did his own research with people he trusts in the legal field, and was told good things. Farinha has 35 years of law experience.
Constant said this was a major change, and he didn’t know if Farinha was a good fit, particularly given all the years of experience the city’s current corporation counsel has.
Wencel also expressed similar concerns.
“We should have a corporation counsel coming from that particular that background instead of someone coming in with these multi-faceted backgrounds, and we need someone just to specialize in municipal law for a city our size,” he said.
Farinha was not in attendance at the meeting.
The Warren Valley Golf Course repair estimate for the certificate of occupancy was also on the agenda for council to receive, note and file.
Miotke said that the purpose of the item was to make sure it is part of the record, not to approve it or do anything else.
“The contract was already executed previously upon (City Engineer) Ali Dib’s estimate coming in,” Miotke said. “That’s all that was necessary order to active that.”
Dib’s $757,020 estimate came just under the capped amount of $800,000 for the certificate. He also included a 20 percent gap in the estimate.
The agreement between the city and concessioner Issa Brothers, LLC and Revive Golf Management, LLC has been signed and was conditional upon the certificate of occupancy repair not exceeding $800,000.
A breakdown of the areas where immediate work is needed was $147,000 for cart path pavement repairs; $22,850 for a remote bathroom facilities; $7,500 for electrical supply to the main irrigation water pump; $389,500 to address re-surfacing the west half of the public parking lot; and $55,000 for maintenance yard repairs.
Dib’s letter said that some of the work may be completed this season, but that the paving should wait until the spring of 2023 to support the opening date of the facility.
At an Aug. 4 meeting, the council approved the 10-year lease agreement between the LLCs and the city with an annual cost of $60,000 in rent which will be paid in $5,000 monthly payments. Two five-year renewals also were included in the terms.
The agreement says that Issa Brothers will invest $3.4 million into the various upgrades needed while the city will pay for equipment, costing between $790,000 and $1.7 million.
A decision to spend up to $800,00 on repairs and certificate of occupancy was also made at the meeting.
To watch the meetings go to City of Dearborn Heights YouTube channel.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])