We have a quick run-down on the last two weeks of public meetings in and around Detroit. At last week’s Detroit City Council Formal Session, the proposed Land Value Tax Plan and alternatives to it were discussed. Councilmembers also approved several tax incentives for developers.
Meanwhile, a couple of development projects are held up in Highland Park City Council due to alleged zoning ordinance violations.
In the Oct. 5 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) meeting, commissioners openly discussed and voted to revoke pay from suspended Detroit Police Officer Jawan Brown, who punched a 70-year-old man who fell on his head and later died.
More from Documenters’ notes: pressure on hookah bars, paraprofessional wages and moving forward with the community benefits process for the Henry Ford Health development in New Center. Find all that and more in this week’s local government roundup.
Politics: Highland Park
Highland Park Councilmember Khursheed Ash-Shafii made a motion to remove three line items from the agenda, saying the purchase and development agreements for AfroDziak Inc. violated several zoning ordinances. All councilmembers agreed to remove the line item, send it to legal review and then discuss it at an upcoming meeting.
“This is a Highland Park development, so I want this to be successful,” said Council President Jamal Thomas, noting he’d rather wait to get the process right than to have a “hiccup” down the road.
Ash-Shafii made a similar motion on a development project for Sepia Coffee Project LLC. Thomas said Ash-Shafii was holding up development. Ash-Shafii said the proposals were missing zoning information, and he wanted them to be complete so they could be successful. Other councilmembers agreed and all voted 4-1 to send the line item for legal review.
During public comment, the CEO of Sepia Coffee Project and several residents spoke in favor of the development. They said they want the coffee business in Highland Park, especially because it’s Black-owned. Ash-Shafii and Council President Pro Tem Sharmaine Robinson insist the developer needs to follow the proper process.
10/2/2023 Highland Park City Council
Documented by Ashley Williams and Zaara Noor
City of Detroit’s Chief Financial Officer Jay Rising gave a presentation on Mayor Mike Duggan’s proposed Land Value Tax Plan to the Detroit City Council last week. Councilmembers had differing viewpoints. Councilmember Coleman Young, II supports the tax plan, with the opinion that it may save homeowners money. Councilmember Mary Waters is not convinced homeowners will save money and is instead endorsing a bipartisan plan to eliminate property taxes. Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero hasn’t decided her stance on the Land Value Tax Plan but said she is in favor of following a political process that includes educating voters on the proposal.
Speaking of property taxes, councilmembers also approved tax incentives for several affordable housing developments. Instead of property taxes, developers will pay 4% of annual shelter rent collected once their buildings are fully occupied. Read more in Malachi’s City Council Notebook from BridgeDetroit.
10/10/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón
10/3/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session: Council votes to amend an ordinance in favor of applying greater regulatory pressure to “hookah bars” cropping up around the city.
Documented by Gina McPherson and Meghan Rutigliano
Politics: Wayne County
10/5/2023 Wayne County Commission, Full Commission: More than $2.5 million in grants to support victims’ rights approved; Prosecutor’s Office adds a service dog to support staff wellness.
Documented by Kayleigh Lickliter and Robert Dewar
10/2/2023 Detroit Continuum of Care, Board of Directors: CoC saw fewer grievances filed against its homelessness programs compared to 2022, but top issues remain client mistreatment and wrongful termination.
Documented by Amy Senese and Autumn Jackson-Hines
10/4/2023 Board of Water Commissioners, Committee Meetings: Launched in 2022, the Detroit water department’s Lifeline Plan, in partnership with Wayne Metro, has exceeded its goal of 20,000 enrollments.
Documented by Amber Umscheid and Christina Fassett
10/11/2023 Great Lakes Water Authority, Operations and Resources Committee: A contract for seawall rehabilitation at Belle Isle’s freshwater intake gets a timeline extension and cost increase.
Documented by Bridget Scallen and Jen David
10/10/2023 Detroit Public Schools Community District, Regular Board Meeting: Public commenters demand increased wages for paraprofessionals.
Documented by Eric Walton and Sherrie Smith
10/10/2023 Detroit Planning and Development Department, Future of Health CBO Meeting #2: Joanne Adams and Steven Rimmer elected to the “Future of Health” Neighborhood Advisory Council to negotiate community benefits from the New Center project.
Documented by Colleen Cirocco and Deandrea White
10/05/23 BOPC: Commissioners scuffled over infractions regarding time-off requests and voted 8-2 to remove pay from suspended Officer Jawan Brown.
Documented by Meghan Rutigliano
10/12/23 BOPC, Evening Community Meeting: The board asks City Council for a larger budget and approves creating a web page for police incident videos, including the 2022 killing of Porter Burks.
Documented by Carole Hawke and Elyas Khan
For more on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, check out the latest BOPC Watch.