Q: What are the Community Advisory Councils?
A: The revised Detroit City Charter of 2012 includes a provision for the adoption of the Community Advisory Councils (CACs). Specifically, Section 9-101 of the City Charter requires the creation of the CACs in each council district. The CACs are an official citizen board that provides a direct voice to city government through its District Council representative. The intention is to more closely connect the residents to city government.
Q: Who serves on the Community Advisory Councils?
A: Seven citizens will serve on each district CAC. There are seven districts total which are the same as outlined for the seven City Council Districts. Five of the seven CAC members are elected to four year terms during the regular municipal election for each CAC. One youth member (13-17 years of age) is appointed to a one-year term. And, one senior citizen representative will be appointed to a four-year term.
Q: Why have Community Advisory Councils?
A: The CACs are intended to improve citizen access to city elected officials and city government which results in increased transparency, providing a formal platform for citizens’ to voice their concerns to city government, and groom the next generation of city leaders.
Q: What are the powers, duties and limitations of Community Advisory Councils?
A: The CACs are required by the City Charter to hold at least four meetings annually. The District City Council representative or their designee must attend all official CAC meetings in their district. The District City Council representative may be required to receive consultation from the CAC prior to issues that relate specifically to the district. The CACs have no legislative or administrative power over the city budget and city services. The CACs cannot receive appropriations from City of Detroit funds, however the CACs may accept donations and grants.
Q: What are the responsibilities of Community Advisory Councils?
A: CACs will communicate the concerns of stakeholders within the district to City Council as it relates to service delivery. Stakeholders include residents, businesses, community groups, neighborhood associations and other organizations within the district. The CACs will assist the community – residents, businesses and community groups – in the district to clarify issues and provide the best approach to accessing city government. The CACs will provide advice to community representatives and City Council on major issues within the district such as housing, blight, employment, safety, economic and community development, code enforcement, and so forth. The CACs will assist the community in understanding the City Charter. The CAC will be responsible for disseminating information to residents, businesses, community groups and other organizations in the district related to social and physical plans for the district. The CAC members will have an understanding of the City of Detroit’s Master Plan as it relates to land use in the district. Further, the CACs will meet annually with the Mayor and annually with the full body of the Detroit City Council to discuss the challenges confronting the district and the resources required to advance the interests and support the district’s viability.
Q: How can we get a Community Advisory Council for our district?
A: The CACs are required in the City Charter; however the City Council must follow the proper public legislative steps to include the following:
- City Council must pass an ordinance to establish the framework and function of the CACs.
- City Council has produced a draft ordinance which must go through the Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Councilman Gabe Leland, to be discussed and altered as needed, then proceed to the City Council for a vote to hold a Public Hearing. Following the Council Public Hearing, further revision of the ordinance may be done and then it will go to the City Council Committee of the Whole for adoption.
- City Council is hopeful that by the first week of April the steps will have all taken place and the ordinance will be passed to officially create the CACs.
- Once the ordinance is in place, petitions requesting the creation of the CAC for each district must be signed by at least 10 percent of the voters who participated in the 2013 General Election in order for the CAC to be created for that district.
- Once the CACs are adopted in the districts by the petitions, candidates for CACs may file petitions to be placed on the ballot for a vote in their district.
Q: How may share your input on the creation of the CACs?
A: Contact Councilman Gabe Leland’s office at 313-224-2151 to voice your input and attend the meetings when the CAC ordinance is up for discussion and vote, including the public hearing. Councilman Leland’s office will post the meeting dates at www.gabeleland.com. More updates will follow as you and other citizens seek to become a part of city government.