The Kalamazoo City Commission and all public boards and commission will resume in-person meetings starting in January. The City Commission and certain boards and commissions will continue to be broadcast live and accept public comments by phone.
Meetings of the Kalamazoo City Commission and the Committee of the Whole, as well as the Planning Commission, Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board, Civil Rights board, and others will continue to be broadcast live by Public Media Network and livestreamed to the City of Kalamazoo’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Information for upcoming meetings can be found at www.kalamazoocity.org/notices.
Community members will continue to be able to provide public comments over the phone for meetings that are broadcast, however phone comments will be played live starting in January. Community members that wish to provide public comments over the phone can call 888-382-9556 during the public comment period. They will enter a queue and will be prompted to offer their comments in turn. Callers will be commenting to the board or commission live and will no longer be able to leave a recorded message.
These changes come as the Michigan law which permitted virtual meetings expires. Starting January 1, 2022, only individuals who are actively serving in the armed forces and whose deployment prevents them from attending a meeting in person can participate virtually.
In response to this development, the City Commission voted to amend its rules on December 20. The amendments make the Committee of the Whole meetings (which had been implemented on a trial basis) a permanent fixture of the meeting schedule. They also make several other changes to accommodate increased participation and protect meeting participants from COVID-19.
Public comments have been moved earlier in the meeting to permit comments from individuals both at the meeting and over the phone. Comments will continue to be limited to three minutes per speaker at regular meetings and two minutes at Special/Committee of the Whole meetings.
The amendments also require people aged five and older to wear a face mask unless precluded by a sincerely held religious belief or due to a disability. In those cases, the person must be at least six feet from others in attendance that are not from the same household.
All boards and commissions will have PPE available for participants including face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Ionization air filters are also available for use in meeting rooms during public meetings.
The first public meeting of 2022 will be the City Commission’s Regular Business Meeting on Monday, January 3 at 7 p.m.