Last week, Detroit City Council looked at some very important maps: five different options for the city’s council redistricting. Check ’em out below to see if your district could change.
Also last week, the council discussed — and heard dozens of public comments about — a potential resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and a property tax reform ordinance. The council is expected to hold votes on both issues on Tuesday at its last Formal Session before going on winter recess.
Plenty more happened at public meetings in and around town last week. Cass Tech students voiced support for a Green New Deal for Schools. The Detroit Land Bank Authority approved home sales for the “Bargain Block” developers and lot sales for a 3D-printed homes project. And commissioners who oversee the Detroit Housing Commission discussed some of the issues plaguing the struggling affordable housing provider.
Detroit City Council, Formal Session
There were more than 80 public commenters at last week’s City Council Formal Session, most of them spoke in favor of both property tax reform and a resolution demanding a cease-fire in Gaza.
Councilmember Fred Durhal III and Council President Pro Tem James Tate said they would not feel comfortable approving a cease-fire resolution with its current language. Several public commenters objected to changing the language from “cease fire” to “humanitarian pause.” Councilmembers sent the proposed resolution back to committee for discussion, and plan to vote on it in today’s formal session. Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero said if a decision doesn’t come today, the resolution will die.
Timing might also be a threat for a property tax reform ordinance, which would change the property tax assessment process. Many public commenters said this ordinance was the first step in correcting the overtaxation of Detroiters. Assessor Alvin Horhn said notices must be sent out the first week of January, so changes might be too late to implement in 2024 notices. Nonetheless, councilmembers voted to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance during today’s Formal Session.
11/14/2023 Detroit City Council Formal Session
Documented by Afua Osei-Bonsu and Amelia Benavides-Colón
Detroit City Council, Committee of the Whole
Detroit’s City Council districts are getting redrawn following the 2020 census, and at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, City Planning Commission Director Marcell Todd offered five maps for consideration. The goal is to equalize the population of each district as much as possible while avoiding bizarre district shapes and irregularities. Care was also taken to not divide communities and ethnic groups.
More than 20 public commenters expressed their concern with the proposed new maps.
Several residents from Grixdale Farms in District 2 aren’t happy with proposals to put their neighborhood into District 3. A Midwest-Tireman resident said they received inadequate notice about these meetings, arguing that District 6 has not done the work to engage with the community. District 6 Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero responded, saying this meeting was the first in a longer process of discussing the redistricting. She said her office announced information about the meeting in her newsletter, and will continue to hold more events to discuss the new plans with the community.
Council President Mary Sheffield said the council will likely vote to narrow the options down to one or two redistricting plans shortly after the council returns from winter recess.
See the five proposed redistricting maps, with details about which areas of Detroit would change districts, in the report shared with City Council last week:
11/14/2023 Detroit City Council, Committee of the Whole
Documented by Alex Klaus and Sonja Stuckey
11/14/2023 Detroit Land Bank Authority, Board of Directors: Directors approved two home sales to the developers featured in the TV show “Bargain Block,” nine lots in Corktown for building 3D-printed homes and land for a 33-unit modular building in Jeffries.
Documented by Amanda Duren and Pamela Taylor
11/14/2023 Detroit Public Schools Community District, Regular Board Meeting: Teachers at Ronald Brown Academy described violent student behavior causing unsafe work conditions; Cass Tech students speak in support of a Green New Deal for Schools.
Documented by Colleen Cirocco
11/16/2023 Detroit Housing Commission, Board of Commissioners: Commissioners discussed measures to improve DHC’s rent collection rate and approved first two phases of development for new housing at The Villages at Parkside.
Documented by Gina McPherson and Heather Alder
11/16/2023 Detroit Department of Transportation, public hearing: Proposed service changes were met with skepticism due to lack of bus drivers and poor on-time performance; public commenters prioritized benches and shelters instead.
Documented by Ashley Williams and Chandler Vaughan
11/17/2023 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: The board set starting salaries for new police complaint investigators at $54,500 during former United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble’s first meeting.
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón
This edition of the Detroit Documenters newsletter was written by Outlier’s Lynelle Herndon, Noah Kincade and SaMya Overall, with Documenters Alex Klaus, Amelia Benavides-Colón, Ashley Williams and Colleen Cirocco.