Politics

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023
9:00 a.m. — 11:00 a.m. EDT

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300 Monroe Ave NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (Directions)

Grand Rapids City Hall, 9th Floor

This is a special meeting of the Grand Rapids City Commission.

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Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Grand Rapids - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Shannon Tanis

City Commission holds prioritization workshop to discuss focus areas.

Live reporting by Michelle Storey

City Commission holds prioritization workshop to discuss focus areas.

Twitter author @unknown
Good morning. I’ll be live-tweeting today's Grand Rapids City Commission meeting for #GRDocumenters @GRDocumenters Today’s agenda includes a Prioritization Workshop and public comment period. The meeting is scheduled to start at 9:00am.

07:46 AM Oct 31, 2023 CDT

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The meeting was called to order at 9:01. After roll call, Commissioner Nathaniel Moody was absent, the meeting moved into the prioritization workshop.
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City Manager Mark Washington discussed the structure of the workshop and started a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of elected officials and city staff.
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Mayor Rosalynn Bliss started a discussion on Strategic Vision - Big Picture Thinking.
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Mayor Bliss started a discussion on elected officials acting as a representative constituent advocate vs. the city staff acting as service delivery/implementer. City Manager Washington noted that there needs to be closure on the complaint process.
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Commissioners Kelsey Perdue, Jon O'Conner, Drew Robbins and Milinda Ysasi all commented on the need for greater communication/feedback between elected official, city staff, and the community.
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Mayor Bliss started a discussion on decision making. Commissioner Lisa Knight commented on the need for information in a timely manner to make decisions.
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Commissioner Ysasi commented on the need to inform the public on where the authority lies for decision making.
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Mayor Bliss started a discussion on the role of elected officials and city staff as Trustees/Stewards and providing Oversight.
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Mayor Bliss started a discussion on how the city can get better as an organization. Where is more focus needed? Where is less focus needed?
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Manager Washington introduced the Economic Outlook of the city presentation.
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Molly Clarin, Chief Financial Officer of the City of Grand Rapids, presented the economic outlook and potential impact on city revenue forecast, appropriations, and reserves.
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Manager Washington introduced the Prioritization Discussion for FY2025 Focus Areas.
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Focus areas include Governmental Excellence, Economic Prosperity & Affordability, Engaged & Connected Community, Health & Environment, Mobility, and Safe Community.
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Commissioner Perdue commented on the need to focus on housing, supply and affordability.
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Commissioner Knight commented on the need to improve engagement and support of neighborhood associations.
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Commissioner Ysasi commented on having "Commission Night In" events to invite public comments on specific issues.
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Commissioner O'Connor commented on the need to have expanded methods of payment for yard waste services.
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Commissioner Perdue commented on need for compost options for waste services.
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Commissioner Ysasi commented on need of shared message to reduce speeding on city streets.
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Mayor Bliss commented on adding enhancing victim services under the Safe Community priority list. Commissioner Knight seconded.
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Commissioner O'Connor commented on bringing police and fire to full staffing levels. Commissioner Robbins seconded.
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Police Chief Eric Winstrom gave an update on police staffing levels.
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Fire Chief Brad Brown gave an update on fire staffing levels.
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Commissioner Ysasi commented on FOIA process and oversight in public safety system.
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Commissioner Perdue commented on crime prevention.
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Manager Washington commented on the need for 2-3 additional staff to address police FOIA backlog and ongoing FOIA requests. Can be addressed with a budget amendment.
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Commissioner Perdue commented on adding an equality framework to the prioritization process.
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Manager Washington asked each Commissioner to prioritize their top focus areas.
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After the prioritization discussion, the public comment period was opened.
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There was one public comment focused on the need for open communication between the city and the public, the FOIA process, park events, and minority input on housing plans.
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Meeting adjourned at 12:08pm. This concludes the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for November 7, 2023. Follow @GRDocumenters #GRDocumenters for more coverage of Grand Rapids city meetings.

Attachments

Agency Information

Grand Rapids City Commission

See meeting notes for details

www.grandrapidsmi.gov

See Documenters reporting

The City Commission represents the people of Grand Rapids. Voters elect their representatives. Grand Rapids has three wards, and each ward elects two City Commissioners. The Mayor is elected by all Grand Rapids voters.

Documents

10/31/2023
10/31/2023
10/31/2023
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