An agreement has been worked out between the City of Howell and the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 to operate the annual Memorial Day parade downtown.

Due to continued budget pressures, last year the city enacted a policy with a cost sharing requirement to recoup 50% of fees incurred by the city for events. The parade is put on annually by the American Legion and there was some backlash when Council turned down a fee waiver request considering the significance of the event in recognizing veterans and their service. However, City officials and the community stepped up with donations to cover the fee for this year’s parade that was held in May. The parade will be the only event that the City sponsors. While the City will now fund the parade, the American Legion will continue to organize and run the event and officials have affirmed that there are no intentions of changing the parade or its veteran focus. City staff, the City attorney and officials with the American Legion have now worked out an agreement, which was recently approved by the Howell City Council. A staff memo states the agreement will preserve the parade as a patriotic, non-partisan, and non-political event to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Interim City Manager Erv Suida tells WHMI they’ve been working with the Legion to support the parade and had some really good meetings. He says they were able to come up with an agreement that satisfies both parties and the City will continue to support and have the parade while the Legion will run it and manage it. Suida says it’s one of the only parades honoring veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life for their country. He says the Legion does a great job along with all of the other agencies that support veterans, adding it’s important to remember those who died in the line of duty for everyone’s freedoms and rights

American Legion Adjutant Brian Gillette attended the meeting and thanked Council for the support as they got to be part of the process and work with staff. He says the language is good in the agreement and called it win-win for both parties and all veterans in the City of Howell, commenting the City is getting some of the cost but they are as well. As the Memorial Day parade is considered a civic event, the City will continue to review and approve the event each year. Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor thanked the Legion for everything it has done in the past in putting together the parade and working with the city to make sure it continues in the future. As the Memorial Day parade is considered a civic event, the City will continue to review and approve the event each year. (JM)