Last week was crammed with public meetings, and Documenters were tuned in. Their notes detail concerns over a lack of bilingual education in Detroit schools, a push for more scrutiny in police misconduct investigations and a stark contrast in city wages.
Another hot topic in the city is the Land Value Tax Plan recently proposed by Mayor Mike Duggan. During City Council’s Formal Session last week, Councilmember Mary Waters said a vote on Duggan’s plan will be one of the most important decisions she makes. Councilmembers also approved several revisions to the city housing code; a $47.6 million federal grant for disaster recovery from the June 2021 floods; and more.
For the rest of your weekly public meetings digest, read on.
State law requires the city to hold conferences to approve new revenue estimates in September and February of each fiscal year. Documenters attended the Sept. 11 conference where experts from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer presented the economic outlook over the next four years.
Economists painted a fairly positive picture and said employment has recovered from the high unemployment rates of the pandemic.
Wages were broken into two categories: Detroit Payroll Employment and Detroit Resident Employment. The growth rate of each was similar, but the difference in annual average wages was stark — evidence that many high-paying Detroit jobs go to people living outside the city limits.
A giant unknown is how the UAW strike will affect everything. Predictions were based on a six-week strike — the length of the last strike in 2019 — and job losses would vary across the Big Three automakers. Total job losses including spillovers — associated jobs lost from other employers — would be roughly 19,000 at Stellantis, 7,000 at Ford, and 4,000 at General Motors.
9/11/2023 Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Detroit Revenue Estimating Conference
Documented by Jen David and Perry Sylvester
Last week, three frequent public commenters made their way onto the Detroit City Council’s meeting agenda with requests to address the council. Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero said she thinks individuals should have some sort of expertise or qualification to address the council in that manner, and Council President Mary Sheffield agreed. However, Sheffield explained, the residents’ requests were received prior to a proposal for a rule change and must be decided that day.
In Line Item 20.1, Malik Shelton requested to officially address the council regarding the “unlawful activities related to HUD Section 108 Loans” that he’s brought before the council weekly for at least the better part of the year. Shelton’s request was approved, 6-3, and sent to the Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee.
LaDonna Harris’ request to address the council about obtaining a vendor and business license was approved 5-4 and sent to the Public Health and Safety Standing Committee.
But when Ramone Jackson requested to address the council about the I-375 development project, councilmembers agreed it was inappropriate to hear from the resident before hearing from the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the line item failed.
9/12/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón and Afua Osei-Bonsu
9/12/2023 Detroit Public Schools Community District, Regular Board Meeting: Public commenters complain of lack of bilingual education and English-only text notices to parents.
Documented by Ashley Williams and Chandler Vaughan
9/13/2023 Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, Board of Directors Program Compliance Committee: DWIHN’s non-emergency call center had 12,000 more calls this year; committee applying for $2 million federal grant for suicide prevention programs.
Documented by Clarissa Williams and Sandi Nelson
9/13/2023 Great Lakes Water Authority, Board of Directors Workshop: Board discusses the high costs of deferred maintenance and the need to replace aging infrastructure.
Documented by Bridget Scallen, Christiana Beckley and Tiffany Pilson
9/14/2023 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: Chief Investigator Jerome Warfield pleas for commissioners’ help on misconduct cases; Chair QuanTez Pressley calls misconduct reports “absolutely necessary.” For more on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, check out the latest BOPC Watch.
Documented by Gabriel Gamlin and Meghan Rutigliano