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Should Detroit City Workers Be Required To Live Within City Limits?

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Downtown Detroit (Getty Images)

Downtown Detroit (Getty Images)

vickiethomas2 Vickie Thomas
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She was...
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DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s been an ongoing debate:  If you work for the city of Detroit, should you be required to live there?

State Senator Coleman Young II, along with two fellow state lawmakers, held a hearing on this issue Thursday morning at Detroit City Hall. The way Young sees it, there is only one answer to that question.

“I feel that right now, in a time where you’ve had 17 people shot and seven killed in 24 hours, we definitely need community policing in the City of Detroit. it’s been something that the people have been crying for, have been demanding for a long time, and I support it and want to bring it back.”

Young said he hopes leaders in Lansing will hear what Detroiters have to say and will be inclined to address those needs.

Detroiter Tony Mitchell likes the idea of bringing back residency, something that Young’s famous father strongly supported.

“I was once a city employee, I worked for the water department and when Coleman Young was living he said if you want to work for the city you must live in the city and I think it’s fantastic. That’s the reason why I didn’t wander off because at that time they had the residency law.”

Mitchell believes individuals should live where they work if they’re a municipal employee.

“Naturally, yes. I think it should because, to keep the money inside the city. People bad mouth Detroit but there are some beautiful neighborhoods in the city.”

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey agrees, saying when residency is not required, the city loses its tax base.

Not everyone is on board with a change though. WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas spoke with two Detroit Police Officers who live in the city, and they don’t think anyone should be forced to live in Detroit.

Kia Williams, a city employee living in Detroit, also thinks the residency condition should not be required, adding that her home has been broken into twice and her children jumped by gang members.

In Mayor Dave Bing’s 2011 state of the city speech, he said approximately half of the Detroit force now lives outside city limits.

Michigan legislature repealed the residency requirement for Detroit city workers in 1999.

Meantime, Chase Bank announced Thursday it’s donating $1 million to help Detroit Police Officers and city workers move back into the city.

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