Homelessness, mobile nuisance parties, environment among topics of Kalamazoo special meeting Saturday

The Four Percent

KALAMAZOO, MI — The public is invited to watch and leave comments during a virtual public meeting this Saturday as public discussion continue about the city’s priorities for the future.

Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema announced there would be a follow-up retreat with the city commission from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 12.

The main topics of the meeting are employment, homelessness, infrastructure/roads, mobile nuisance at parties and environment, Deputy City Manager Jeff Chamberlain said.

The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. The city’s virtual meetings are streamed live on the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Elected officials will revisit a list of priorities discussed in March to talk more about the five topics listed above, which they did not get to at the first retreat.

Citizens can provide input about items on the meeting agenda by calling 269-226-6573 and leaving a recording between 9:30 a.m. and the end of the public comment period, or sending an email to CityCommission@kalamazoocity.org.

During the first retreat on Saturday, March 15, commissioners talked about housing, diversity, equity and inclusion, economic/business development, and public safety/gun violence as facilitator Demarra West guided commissioners and city staff through the meeting.

All nine of the priorities were weighted the same, West said, but because of time constraints, the commission only discussed the first four in March. The topics were previously identified through input from commissioners and city officials as priorities, West said.

The meetings were meant to provide “back and forth” between the commission and city leadership in order to ascertain what it is the commission wants, West said during the first retreat.

The discussion of priorities helps the city administration in its preparations to develop Kalamazoo’s 2022 budget, as well as for possible uses of Foundation for Excellence funding and American Rescue Plan funding, Chamberlain said.

A full schedule of the 5 p.m. Committee of the Whole Meetings and the regular 7 p.m. Kalamazoo City Commission meetings in 2021 is available on the city’s website.

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