City to Discuss How to Spend $10M from Donation

Mar 20, 2017

Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Also, commissioners have passed a resolution in favor of a phone surcharge to fund consolidated 9-1-1 dispatch.

The Kalamazoo City Commission has decisions to make about how to spend $10 million. The money comes from the $70 million that private donors gave to the city to shore up the budget for three years and fund a steep cut in property taxes. The city plans to use $10 million of the money each year for "aspirational projects for youth development and poverty reduction, investments in capital and human infrastructure, and neighborhood improvement projects" according to the city's website.

Commissioners will meet March 27 at 6pm to talk about generational poverty and how the funds could be used to fight it.

The city has also set a meeting for April 10 at 6pm to discuss the Foundation for Excellence, which encompasses the donation and the permanent endowment the city wants to create to take the place of the donation money after three years.

On Monday City Manager Jim Ritsema also announced that Community Planning and Development Director Laura Lam will become an assistant city manager working specifically on the Foundation for Excellence. City Planner Rebekah Kik will become the new head of Community Planning and Development.

9-1-1 Dispatch Resolution

The City of Kalamazoo says a phone surcharge is the fairest way to pay for consolidated 9-1-1 dispatch. Commissioners passed a resolution Monday in support of a fee.

Kalamazoo County voters will decide in May whether the surcharge goes in place for five years. If it passes, phone users will pay up to $2.30 each month for every device that can call 9-1-1.

Four local governments and Western Michigan University want to combine their dispatch centers. They say that would improve emergency service.