Detroit's City Council is mulling the city's agreement with the state for the lease of Belle Isle. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Detroit — The City Council meeting held Friday was short and anything but sweet when a small, raucous crowd unleashed their objections to a state proposal to lease Belle Isle.
Council President Saunteel Jenkins began the meeting by reminding spectators the council would postpone its vote on the lease plan until Monday.
The agreement calls for a 30-year lease of the island with the option for two, 15-year renewals. The deal is expected to save the city $4 million to $6 million annually.
Jenkins explained the panel is still discussing the alternative proposal and wants it to be prepared if members vote down the lease approved last week by Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Jenkins, along with council members Andre Spivey, Ken Cockrel Jr., JoAnn Watson, Brenda Jones and James Tate listened as speakers unloaded on the plan.
“I’m opposed to any lease of Belle Isle,” Detroit resident Cecily McClellan said. “There is misinformation and disinformation about the island. The state has shown this is a power grab. The corporate media is working on behalf of the state of Michigan: it’s a sad day in the city of Detroit.”
McClellan earned a few “amens’ from the crowd when she touched on Thursday’s sentencing of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on corruption charges.
Watson earned points with the crowd when she pointed out the claim by Snyder that the city would save $6 million in expenses if the city were allowed to lease Belle Isle.
“That’s not the same as money on the table,” Watson said. “No money is exchanging hands.”
Watson said she had also put in a request for an appearance before the council by City of Detroit Chief Financial Officer Jim Bonsall for his recent remark asking if he could “shoot someone in a hoodie” on Angel’s Night.
“I have something to say to him,” Watson said.
Bonsall has since released an official apology saying it was never his intention to offend anyone.
If the council rejects the lease deal on Monday, it has seven days to come up with an alternative that would save the same amount of money or more.
The decision will ultimately be made by the state’s Emergency Loan Board, according to the state’s emergency manager law. Three Snyder appointees comprise the loan board.