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Detroit City Council rejects "insulting" land transfer proposal

Sep 19, 2014

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to transfer thousands of city-owned properties to the Detroit land bank.

The resolution, put forward by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, would move up to 45,000 tax-reverted properties to the Detroit land bank.

And it would have moved all such properties the city acquires in the future directly to the land bank, bypassing the Council entirely.

Council members bristled at that last portion of the deal. They rejected the measure unanimously.

Saunteel Jenkins said its goal is clear—to remove Council from important decisions about city-owned land altogether.

“That the people around this table are not able to provide input based on what your constituents want,” Jenkins said.

“If we’re supposed to be moving back to a democratic process, it is insulting.”

Mayor Mike Duggan also supports the proposal. He’s moved quickly to increase the land bank’s authority, making it the central player in the city’s blight-fighting and redevelopment strategies.

Orr can and probably will override the “no” vote.

But under the state’s emergency manager law, the Council can put forth an alternative plan. Council members indicated they planned to do just that.

A state emergency loan board would then pick between the two plans.