Meeting Overview: Kalamazoo City Commission 11/15/21

Public Media Network provides a brief overview of the Kalamazoo City Commission meeting on Monday, November 15, 2021. 

Watch our short video update!


The Kalamazoo City Commission decided to come back in-person before the beginning of 2022 at the business meeting on November 15, 2021. The tentative plan is for the commission to vote on the decision during the December 6 business meeting, and return in person for the final business meeting of the year on December 20. 


Commissioner Esteven Juarez proposed that the commission meet again in the chambers before the year is finished.


“COVID is one of those things we are going to have to learn to live with,” Juarez said.


Vice Mayor Don Cooney, as well as Commissioners Qianna Decker agreed that it is important to be accessible in-person to the community.


Commissioner Chirs Praedel urged that even when meeting in the chambers, the commission needs to think about the people who don’t want to meet in person, and continue being accessible in a hybrid approach. 


It was recommended that live call-ins take place during in-person meetings. The commission discussed live call-ins being a possibility during general public comment, but not for individual agenda items. 


For live meetings to take place before the end of the year, the commission would need to repeal the resolution declaring an emergency, which had allowed the commission to meet virtually, and amend meeting rules to allow remote public comments, said City Attorney Clyde Robinson. The commission will vote on these changes on December 6. 


The commission approved the purchase of a digital evidence system for the amount of $853,682. This five-year contract with NICE will supply the city with one consolidated location to store digital evidence, and replace multiple outdated systems which had been in use. 


The commission approved a settlement with Nathan Dannison. Dannison threatened City Manager James Ritsema with a lawsuit after Ritsema did not re-appoint Dannison to the Citizens-Public Safety Review and Appeal Board when his term was up. Dannison claims this decision was made by Ritsema in retaliation to comments Dannison made after the August 15, 2020 Proud Boys incident. A settlement was reached through a facilitated mediation process voluntarily entered by both parties.


The commission approved 12 items on the consent agenda and postponed two. The approved items are as follows:


  •   Purchase of Fluorosilicic Acid for Water Treatment.


  • Contract Extension with Passport Labs for Parking Management Services Outside the Central Business District.


  • Contract Extension for Code Enforcement Site Cleanup.


  •  Contract Supplemental and Change Order for the Farmers' Market Improvement Project.


  • Sole Source Purchase with the Michigan Department of Transportation for Installation of Harrison Traffic Signal.


  • Contract Extension for Primary and Secondary Solids Cationic Emulsion Belt Press Polymers.


  • Purchase of a New 100’ Rear Mount Aerial Platform.


  • Notice of Intent Resolution for 2022 Water Supply System Revenue Bonds.


  • Notice of Intent Resolution for 2022 Wastewater System Revenue Bonds.


  • Authorization for Change in Street Lighting Contract - W. Michigan Avenue and Howard Street.


  •  Acceptance of a Grant for Maintenance and Improvements to Mayors' Riverfront Park.


  • Approval of Minutes November 8, 2021 Business Meeting Minutes.


Access the City Commission 11/15 agenda to read agenda reports on each item above.


The Kalamazoo City Commission read two proclamations. The first was for Small Business Saturdays, an effort to support shopping locally during the holiday season. The second supported the Transgender Day of Remeberance.


Public comments shared their disapproval of the city’s treatment of the unhoused community. This was in reaction to multiple sweeps of homeless camps that took place during the month of October.