City Government Meetings that Will (and Won’t) Happen in East Lansing Next Week

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A screenshot from East Lansing City Council's meeting on May 19, 2020.

The City of East Lansing’s government is starting to gear back up to more regular meetings of various boards and commissions. Here’s a run-down of what’s coming up in terms of virtual public meetings.

The East Lansing City Council will meet on Tuesday, May 26, starting at 7 p.m.

The agenda isn’t available yet, but Council is expected to have a number of big items on the docket, including emergency housing and small business funding responding to the coronavirus.

Council is also expected to work on movement towards a police oversight commission. ELi reported earlier this week that the police unions are not happy with what they’ve heard so far.

On Tuesday, the Council will also vote on the budget and schedule of fees for the 2021 Fiscal Year. ELi has reported that the City’s revenues are dropping precipitously and major financial challenges can be expected in the coming year. Whatever budget is passed is expected to be amended repeatedly.

When the Council’s agenda is published, you will find it here under Upcoming Meetings.

East Lansing’s Downtown Development Authority will meet Thursday, May 28, starting at noon.

The agenda for this public meeting includes further discussion of the idea of creating expanded public seating spaces for drinking and dining outside downtown. Council discussed and supported the concept at its meeting this week.

What the DDA’s agenda does not show is any discussion of the DDA’s Evergreen properties. The DDA has authorized Chair Peter Dewan to convene a committee to work with River Caddis Development on that company’s concept for the properties.

But City communications staff Mikell Frey tells ELi that it is “undetermined at this time” whether that committee will meet before July. The exclusive agreement with River Caddis expires in late July.

East Lansing’s Planning Commission will start meeting again on June 10, starting at 7 p.m.

That meeting will include a public hearing related to rezoning and site boundary changes for the property at 3400 West Road.

At least some other business will undoubtedly be listed on the June 10 agenda once it becomes available, because the Planning Commission hasn’t met since Feb. 26.

The Commission on the Environment and the Arts Commission will meet in mid-June.

The Commission on the Environment will meet on Monday, June 15, starting at 6:30 p.m., and the Arts Commission will meet on Thursday, June 18, starting at 5:30 p.m. Agendas are not available yet.

That’s all for now.

According to Frey, there is no next scheduled meeting of the Human Relations Commission, which had been working very actively on the issue of police oversight before the stay-at-home orders went into effect.

There is also no next scheduled meeting of the Parks & Rec Advisory Committee or other board and commissions.

Frey says when these other groups do move to convene, the meetings will likely be electronic and thus listed at the City’s dedicated page for those special meeting notices. City staff have been using that and many other means to push out information about what meetings are happening.

City staff and the volunteers that serve on all these boards have become pretty adept at the electronic meeting format.

That said, yesterday morning’s meeting of the East Lansing-Meridian Water & Sewer Authority Board of Trustees was “Zoombombed” by one or more anonymous individuals who showed up simply to contribute racist and homophobic speech and nothing more, as happened with the Library Board of Trustees’ meeting in April.

Legal experts tell ELi that public meeting chairs and moderators have the right to immediately shut down trolls who show up only for the purpose of disrupting meetings and not to speak on issues relevant to the group meeting.

As a reminder, ELi maintains a community calendar that includes public meetings as well as free local events of general interest, and our free weekly newsletter includes upcoming events.

Click here to read about what the East Lansing Public Schools board is expected to do next week.

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