Kzoo Co. to hold meeting with new housing director

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A special meeting of the Kalamazoo County Board of Directors this week could draw attention from the community. It will be the first Kalamazoo Board of Commissioners meeting with its new Housing Director, former county Treasurer Mary Balkema.

She has become a topic of controversy after state police cleared Balkema in 2019 when she was suspected of illegally using her position at the Kalamazoo County Treasurer’s office to offer financial kickbacks to contractors during property redevelopments.

In previous roles, Balkema was a Republican Party delegate in Michigan during the Trump presidency and also served as the co-chair for the Michigan Association of County Treasurers.

She is now in charge of the Homes for All millage, which is predicted to bring in more than $6 million yearly, for the next eight years, toward future housing projects.

A public hearing with the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners is happening at 4 p.m. Tuesday.