MENOMINEE — The Menominee City Council Monday voted to dissolve the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and join on with the Brownfield Authority recently approved by Menominee County’s Board of Commissioners.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Nancy Douglas, the director of the Menominee Business Development Corporation, encouraged the council to opt in with the county’s Brownfield Authority.

“This is a tool that we can use with commercial, housing and those types of developments,” she said. “We don’t have another tool that works with these folks except for low and moderate income. I am currently working with three different developments, two of whom have inquired more than once about Brownfield redevelopment..”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a “brownfield” is basically defined as land that has been previously developed for commercial or industrial use that may have low concentrations of contamination. This kind of land is quite common across the United States, particularly in urban areas. Under Michigan’s Public Act 381 of 1996, Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities (BRAs) can be formed by any municipality, village, township or county to review proposals for redevelopment of eligible properties and determine what financial incentives would be needed to redevelop them.

The City of Menominee established its Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in 2007 and has been inactive for over three years. City Treasurer Kathy Brofka recommended a resolution to dissolve the authority and close the account, which was reviewed by Steven Frank, an attorney with Miller & Canfield. The total revenue from the account was $599,570.14 and total expenditures on the account were $586,422.95, leaving a balance of $13,147.19, which was to be transferred into the general fund.

“You will not be doing anything other than giving yourselves the opportunity to use this tool. You will decide to use it on a project-by-project basis,” Douglas said.

In the agenda prep form related to this item, City Manager Tony Graff said the city has sites which may qualify for this program. He said there may be eligible uses of the program, including demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, site preparation, infrastructure improvements and assistance to land banks and local government units.

The resolution to dissolve the city’s BRA and the resolution to join in the county’s were both unanimously approved by the City Council.