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Dharma's Council Newsletter, April 15, 2023

Neighbors,

I hope you're enjoying this warm, sunny weather before temperatures drop on Monday! I'm hosting my monthly constituent coffee hour tomorrow, April 16th from 1-2pm at York. We will be outside if it's nice. Before I get to a preview of our City Council meeting Monday, here are some updates about things going on around Ann Arbor.

Tree Branch Pickup Continues The City continues its work to collect storm debris, and this work is supposed to last until around mid-May. Shortly before my last newsletter, I asked City staff if there was any way to provide a dashboard of progress, and I'm happy to share what they've put together. The storm clean-up dashboard shows percent complete, the areas of the city where pickup is currently occurring, and locations that are next on the list.

Spring Residential Street Sweeping

Spring residential street sweeping has begun! The City sweeps all streets at least twice per year, during the spring and summer and then again in the fall. This work is heavily weather dependent, so there is no set schedule. However, the City has a dashboard for that, too.

Leaves and other debris collect on the City's 23,000 storm drains as well; you can help out by clearing out the accumulated debris from the storm drains near your house.


New Police Transparency Dashboard This week, the Ann Arbor Police Department launched a new transparency dashboard that includes calls for service, arrests, and citations. The data are also broken down by age, race, and gender. AAPD will be making iterative improvements to the dashboard, but I think this is a good start to greater policing transparency and accountability.

Voting Preferences Survey The City is conducting a survey of voting preferences as staff work on plans for the 2024 election cycle. The survey is open until May 22nd: I hope you'll participate in this survey so we can plan appropriately.

Earth Day Festival 2023, April 23rd The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is Sunday, April 23rd, from 12-4 at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. I look forward to seeing many of you at this free event.


City Council Meeting, Monday, April 17rd at 7pm Please reach out if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts on any of the agenda items. Email: DAkmon@A2gov.org | Phone/text: 734-492-5866

There are a few ways to share your thoughts on agenda:

  • eComment

  • Email City Council: CityCouncil@a2gov.org

  • Comment at the meeting (remote or in person): Call the City Clerk's office at 734-794-6140 beginning at 8 a.m. on the day of the meeting to reserve a public speaking time. NOTE: you do not need to reserve time to speak during a "public hearing" item.

A few items of note from the agenda:

  • AC-1 Memorandum in Response to Resolution R-22-362 - Resolution to Explore the Feasibility of Activating the Library Lane Surface Parking Lot with Food Trucks and Mobile Vendors. While not an item of action or discussion in this meeting, I wanted to draw your attention to a memo on the feasibility of activating the Library Lane Surface Parking Lot with food trucks. This memo reviews different models (drawing on other communities that have successfully deployed food cart pods), discussing necessary operating conditions, and estimates the costs associated with doing this. Summary findings are that significant upfront capitol costs would be needed (e.g. utility upgrades, grease traps, a solid waste plan, rodent control, etc.), operational needs would be significant, and that there are challenges to activation of the space for nearly any activity due to "serious limitations of the site and its disconnection from any other activity in the downtown."

  • INT-3 City Administrator’s Presentation of Proposed FY24-25 Budget. The City's two-year budget planning process has begun for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. Monday, the City Administrator will present the recommended fiscal year 2024 budget to Council. Council adopts the budget no later than May 15th. You can access staff budget presentations and council member questions and staff written responses throughout the budget process at the City's Budget Public Process page.

  • CA-14 Resolution to Authorize a Professional Services Agreement with Interface Studio LLC for Comprehensive Plan Services (RFP #22-73) ($699,110.00). The consolidated Land Use Element of the City Master Plan was adopted over a decade ago, and we are long overdue to update it. In fact, in some instances our land use policies are based in analyses and community goals specified nearly 30+ years ago. Ann Arbor is facing challenges of a growing workforce and university student population, astronomical housing costs, and a legacy of land use policies that are not conducive to sustainability, livability, and affordability. I look forward to our engagement with residents through this process to create a comprehensive plan that better meets our values and needs.

  • B-1 An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 2.5 Acres from PL (Public Land) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), 415 West Washington PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 415 West Washington. This is the second reading of this ordinance, it has a public hearing, and Council will be making their final vote on it. My perspective on this PUD is that it offers us the best, most financially sound way forward to: 1) More housing in a desirable location; 2) Clean-up and toxic remediation of the site; and 3)Restoring the floodway portion of the site into a portion of the Treeline Allen Creek Trail. In fact, the proposal before us is consistent with one of the three recommended options put forth in the Allen Creek Greenway Task Force Report.

  • C-1 Ordinance to Amend Section 2.63 CH 29 FY 24 Water Ordinance. The proposed water rate increase ordinance is the result of the City's annual budget process including an updated analysis of the water system's annual and projected multi-year revenue requirements to ensure sufficient funds for operations, maintenance, repairs, and replacements and to meet capital investment plans and other financial requirements. The increase for the water portion of the average residential customer’s bill is an estimated $4.84 per quarter, or $19.36 annually.

  • C-2 Ordinance to Amend Section 2.69 CH 29 FY 24 Stormwater Ordinance. The proposed stormwater rate increase ordinance is the result of the City's annual budget process including an updated analysis of the stormwater system's annual and project multi-year revenue requirements to ensure sufficient funds for operations, maintenance, repairs, and replacements and to meet capital investment plans and other financial requirement. The increase for the stormwater portion of a customer’s bill is an estimated $2.50 per quarter, or $10.00 annually.

How Council Voted The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the April 3rd, 2023 Voting Chart.

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