September 19, 2014

City of Standish shows support for SCIT

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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STANDISH — In a letter sent to the Saginaw-Midland Water Authority on Jan. 27, the City of Standish pledged its support in efforts by the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT) to receive a raw water feed for future planned operations — a hotel and bigger casino as well as residential plans — directly from the utility company.

According to SCIT Public Relations Manager Frank Cloutier, the tribe has been working swiftly with legislators to change bylaws that were written many years ago stating tribal units are not considered government entities, which would hamper the tribe’s ability to receive the raw water feed.

“These bylaws were created over 65 years ago,” Cloutier said. “At that time tribe’s weren’t intentionally left out, they were actually just not considered during that time.”

Standish City Manager Michael Moran III says the letter of support was drawn up as per a verbal request of the SCIT indicating support from Lansing regarding the application to the Saginaw-Midland Water Authority and the city is always willing to help in anyway possible for the community’s sake.

“The potential for economic development is there,” Moran said of the project. “We’re always willing to provide and help out.”

Cloutier says the tribe is currently awaiting acknowledgment from the water authority and hopes to open negotiations upon contact. In the mean time, the public relation manager and the SCIT will continue to work with legislators in creating new bylaws.

The Tribe had requested the letter of support in the past, however, the city had previously focused its efforts in getting the Tribe to utilize city water for its developments.

Cloutier said last week that the due to the delay in garnering Standish City Council support, the SCIT had been focusing more on developments in Isabella County, where there is already utility infrastructure in place on Tribal land. He says if the Saganing Reservation gets approval from the Saginaw-Midland Water Authority, the Tribe would become wholesale customers, similar to the City of Standish,

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