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Detroit voters consider major changes to city's charter

Last Updated Aug 3, 2021 at 10:30 am MDT

DETROIT (AP) — Voters in Detroit on Tuesday were deciding a ballot proposal that calls for the creation of some new city departments, restructuring the police and fire departments, and linking water rates and public transportation fares to income.

Changes to the city charter with Proposal P have been opposed by some who say it could increase spending by the city, which still has to carefully monitor its finances that for several years had been under state oversight following Detroit’s historic 2013 bankruptcy.

The changes were drafted and approved by the Detroit Charter Revision Commission.

Supporters have said the proposal addresses concerns raised by Detroit residents about social justice and other issues in the majority Black city. They took the measure to the courts to keep it on the primary election ballot after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined to support it.

Last week, the Michigan’s Supreme Court overturned decisions by lower courts that would have kept Proposal P off the ballot. It already was on absentee ballots distributed ahead of the primary.

The proposal would create new city departments covering disability rights, environmental justice, veterans affairs and economic justice. It would also create a task force to consider paying reparations to Black people.

Voters on Tuesday also were making picks in Detroit’s nonpartisan mayoral primary and for other offices.

The Associated Press