TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Mayor of Taylor is due in court Monday morning to explain why he has refused to follow a court order and accept $8.1 million in federal funding for the city's fire department.
The city council took Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand to court in June in an effort to force him to accept a federal SAFER grant. The money would be used to put 32 firefighters back to work.
A judge sided with city council and ordered the mayor to accept the money.
Mayor Lamarand wanted to only accept a portion of the money, $3.5 million, because he's worried the city will not be able to continue paying the new firefighters once the grant runs out in two years.
The mayor was ordered to appear at a show-cause hearing Monday at 9 a.m. to explain why he did not follow the court order. The judge could side with Mayor Lamarand or give him the opportunity to accept the grant during the hearing. Mayor Lamarand could also be held in contempt of court, fined or possibly jailed.
Mayor Lamarand issued a statement about the hearing:
"Five members of the City Council are using bully tactics in an effort to force their agenda instead of making healthy decisions that genuinely serve the interests of the residents, the same council members who have saddled the city with millions of dollars of debt as a result of their poor financial decisions over the years. It is this irresponsible approach, instead of doing the peoples' business that I protest. The financial burden the City will incur by accepting the $8.1 million dollar SAFER Grant is absolutely unwarranted."
City Councilman Rick Sollars sent a response to the Mayor's statement, saying in part:
"While name calling and divisive behavior may be on the Mayor's political agenda, we need to get past the politics of the situation and on to the business of the people. This grant is not about the political futures of the elected officials, it is about accepting significant and unprecedented funding to protect our citizens. I am confident that all of our elected officials realize that our Fire Department saves lives. They protect all of our residents and businesses. There is a reason communities across the country have celebrated receipt of this grant."
In July, the city filed for a 30-day extension to accept the grant. The deadline to accept the money is this week.
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