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grand rapids city commission

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

City commissioners in Grand Rapids have followed through on an affordable housing recommendation six years in the making.

On Tuesday commissioners voted to create a new affordable housing fund for the city. That follows a recommendation made in 2015 to address rising housing costs in Grand Rapids.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

After hearing more than four hours worth of comments from the public and debating amongst themselves past midnight, Grand Rapids city commissioners did not make any dramatic changes to the police department budget.

Commissioners did vote on an amendment to the city’s budget which will result in a reduction of nearly $400,000 to the police department’s budget this year. Those changes will move the Oversight and Public Accountability Department out of the Grand Rapids Police Department, and increase its staffing. The amendment will also create a new civilian assistant director for the police department, a new communications manager and reduce costs by cutting overtime and supplies, among other changes.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

At least three commissioners in Grand Rapids signaled support for cutting the police department budget during a meeting on Tuesday morning. But because of a rare provision in the city’s charter, those cuts would be limited.

In 1995, voters in Grand Rapids approved a provision to require that at least 32% of the city’s general fund must go toward police services.

calder plaza in downtown Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Several Grand Rapids residents spoke in favor of proposed changes to a civil rights ordinance at a public meeting Tuesday night.

One change to the ordinance would make it illegal to call the police on people of color when they aren’t doing anything wrong. Doing so would be a misdemeanor if the city adopts the changes.

downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

The city of Grand Rapids is holding a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss proposed changes to its civil rights ordinance.

One change to the ordinance would make it illegal to call the police on people of color when they aren’t doing anything wrong. Doing so would be a misdemeanor if the city adopts the changes.

1950s grand rapids
User: Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy... Harrison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


This week marks the 51st anniversary of the riots that broke out in Michigan during the summer of 1967.

While the uprising in Detroit is the most well known, Grand Rapids faced a similar event, albeit on a smaller scale. The city had three days of unrest that left 44 people hurt and 350 arrested.

Ellen James is a founding member of the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees and a leader in Grand Rapid’s African-American community. Tavian Moore is the president of the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP Youth Council.

Medical marijuana sign
Neeta Lind / Flickr - http://j.mp/1spglc0

The city of Grand Rapids has voted to allow medical marijuana facilities.

The city commission unanimously voted to amend a zoning ordinance that will allow medical marijuana facilities Tuesday night.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says it was important to get the business community’s opinion on the ordinance.

“But also making sure that we were including neighborhood voice in that decision,” Bliss said.

Nathaniel Moody (left) standing next to the Grand Rapids city clerk
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids appointed a new city commissioner a bit earlier than expected.

Pastor Nathaniel Moody was unanimously voted third ward commissioner in a surprise move at Tuesday night’s commission meeting.

The vote was supposed to take place next week, but after a lengthy discussion about the city’s recently passed marijuana ordinance, the commission decided to vote in Moody.

Moody said he was surprised by the early vote, but plans to continue building on the commission's work.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Some community members will have a say in who fills vacant city commission seat in Grand Rapids.

The Third Ward city commission seat was held by David Allen until he resigned last month. Allen is focusing on his job at the Kent County Land Bank.

There are ten finalists for the empty Third Ward city commission seat. A subcommittee of residents, business owners and current commissioners will interview them at city hall tomorrow from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.  

For Rent sign
Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Grand Rapids has a proposed ordinance that aims to protect renters from predatory landlords.

But residents at a public hearing during a city commission meeting last night don’t think the ordinance is harsh enough on bad landlords.

The ordinance would fine landlords $50 for not returning application fees to prospects who were rejected. Each additional infraction would increase the amount landlords must pay.

A house  in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids continues to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. Homes or apartments are particularly hard to find for low to moderate income residents. 

This week the Grand Rapids City Commission took steps to improve affordable housing when it unanimously approved four policy recommendations from the Housing Advisory Committee. It's one step in a longer process to help alleviate the problem.

Interim City Manager Eric DeLong says the policies were developed to benefit both private and public interests.