Commissioner Priorities 2023

The 👉Grand Rapids Strategic plan👈, adopted in 2019, outlines six (6) priorities

  • Governmental Excellence : A fiscally resilient government powered by high performing and knowledgeable staff equipped with the appropriate tools and resources to offer excellent, equitable and innovative public service.
  • Engaged and Connected Community : Residents and stakeholders have awareness of and voice in decisions that affect them, and receive culturally-responsive and proactive communication.
  • Mobility : Innovative, efficient and equitable mobility solutions are safe, affordable and convenient to the community
  • Economic Prosperity and Affordability : Residents, employees and businesses have pathways to financial growth and security.
  • Health and Environment : The health of all people and the environment are advocated for, protected and enhanced
  • Safe Community : All people feel safe and are safe at all times throughout our community.

Each year, as the year winds down and the city approaches yet another budget cycle, the city commission holds a priority workshop. Each of the themes from the stategic plan are visted and reports are heard from the related agencies.

In conclusion the City Manager goes around the table and inquires of each of the elected officials about their top priorities and issues. This year each commissioner was asked to provide their three top priorities. The following is a summary of the responses. Each is structured as best can match the commissioner's statements; some are more structured responses than others. You are encouraged to listen the responses from the stream which is linked to at the bottom.

This is a rather rare opportunity for citizens to hear an open ended question regarding their elected representative's priorities and policy thoughts.

Commissioner Moody (3rd ward) was not present.

Note: Block quoted text is a quotation

Commissioner Robbins

  • Essential Services & Infrastructure: yard waste, use technology for efficiency,
  • Constituent relations, how to reach citizens and get feedback. The commissioners hear from the same people.
  • Safety, sufficient resources for public safety,

Commissioner Knight (2nd ward):

  • Housing, dealing with the unhoused population, who has access to decision making.
How are these organizations talking together, and how are these systems actually not working because they were not created to work in the first place.
  • Safety; being proactive and helping people get the services they need. Violence reduction. Making sure that public safety are not just trained but have relationships and positive interactions with the community.
  • Enhancing the culture and character of our community, especially as it becomes more diverse, making sure that everyone feels they are a part of the community.
  • Small business supports: organizations, developers, women and minority owned businesses, micro businesses. Small business are a major part of the financial stability of our community seeing that they are available to access the available resources

Commission O'Connor (1st ward):

  • Fiscal sustainability, keeping our fund balances where these need to be.
  • Zoning changes, seeing those changes through.
We talk about housing in all capacities, that is the thing which will matter most.
  • The 201 Market project, keeping on timeline and budget.

Commissioner Ysasi (2nd ward):

  • Top Strategic Priorities: Safe Community, Economic Prosperity, Mobility


  • Housing and homelessness; zoning, land bank, and the continuum of care.
The reality is is we live a world of the non-profit industrial complex.  I worked in a for-profit company, I now work in a non-profit, focusing on financing for small businesses, it is the most competitive environment I have ever worked in.
  • Community relations, especially as it related to policing. Domestic violence and victim supports.
  • Improving our business corridors; this is linked to mobility as well as prosperity. People value individual identities [of place].

Commissoner Perdue (3rd ward)

  • Top priorities: Economic Prosperity, Engaged and connected community, safe communities.
  • Governmental excellence, helping individuals with their issues, and the processes of dealing with the city.
  • Housing is a huge issue.
  • Finalizing the recommendations of the 3rd Ward Equity Fund.
  • Crime prevention, with appropriate response, co-response model and victims services.
  • Materials management; trash & compost

Roselynn Bliss (Mayor)

I've always had a holistic view, and the reality is that great cities are doing exception work in all of these areas, and not just one.  And we know that all of these intersect, all of these issues intersect, to create a city that has a high quality of life, that has safe neighborhoods, and is a place where everyone has access to opportunity, and the opportunity to build wealth.
  • Housing, affordable housing. Improving the system that exists to respond to the most vulnerable individuals.
  • Economic prosperity; small businesses, women and minority owned businesses.
  • Safety is the underlying foundation for everything. Staffing in both police and fire departments.
  • Moving the needle on the "transformative projects". The importance of meeting federal funding deadlines. These projects are both downtown and in the neighborhoods (MLK lodge, new fire stations).

The Stream

This stream should auto-play from ~2:56:22 (t=10582); this is the start of the round table question. Rewind to the beginning to see or hear the entire meeting.