By Jessica Mathews /

Despite some earlier tensions related to comments made about the City of Howell possibly pulling out of the Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority, there was minimal discussion about the matter Monday night.

Amid continued budget constraints, Mayor Nick Proctor earlier mentioned that he would be recommending the City withdraw from Authority or HAPRA in an effort to reallocate precious resources. Nothing was mentioned to any Authority officials prior, which didn’t sit well with Authority staff and board members who raised concerns during a virtual meeting held last week. Council was supposed to host a strategic budget work session this past Saturday and discuss the matter but it had to be canceled. At Monday night’s virtual Council meeting, Mayor Proctor commented they were going to start budget deliberations but had to cancel because some key staff members were ill who could not attend that were going to participate very heavily in the discussion about where the city allocates its finite resources.

The City is the last member municipality to approve the Authority’s budget, which was on the agenda. The Authority’s budget runs on a calendar year from January 1st to December 31st. Proctor noted that the City’s fiscal year is from July 1st through June 30th so there is a little bit of overlap. Proctor said he didn’t see any reason not to approve the budget. He said during budget deliberations, should Council during decide to reallocate funding elsewhere, the Authority would be given a full year notice. Council unanimously approved the Authority budget after some light discussion about added staffing and a raise for the director, who has not had a raise in three years.

At the very end of the Council meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor questioned if the City had received any correspondence about the Authority topic. Nothing specific was shared but Manager Paul DeBuff generalized comments as being in general support of funding the Authority, the value of events it has been putting on during COVID and the overall value of parks and recreation. It was stated more in-depth discussion will be forthcoming when the Council reschedules the budget work session. No one spoke at either call to the public.