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Dharma's Council Newsletter, June 30, 2024

Neighbors,

 

City Council meets on Monday, July 1 at 7pm. In observance of Independence Day, the City is closed on Thursday, July 4th. Curbside trash, recycling and compost pickup services will be delayed by one day. Thursday pickups will instead occur on Friday and Friday’s normal route collections will occur on Saturday, July 6.

 

Here are some additional updates before my preview of our agenda.


Fireworks Reminder

In the city of Ann Arbor, fireworks usage is permitted only during certain timeframes and only around national holidays. The timeframe guidelines for the Independence Day holiday are:

  • Use is prohibited prior to July 3 and after July 5. 

  • Use is only permitted from 8 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on July 3, 4 and 5


MDOT Seeks Input on Active Transportation

MDOT University Region has in initiated an Active Transportation Plan update. To see their engagement page and take a survey, visit: https://mdot.altago.site/.


This is rather timely given both the City's exploration of taking over MDOT Ann Arbor Trunklines to increase the safety of vulnerable road users. We know that these and other multi-lane, high-speed corridors are the most dangerous in the City. Just this month, someone on a bike was seriously injured in a crash on Washtenaw Ave. Resident and graduate student, Hannah Stanton-Gockel, made a video that does a really great job of demonstrating the issues for people trying to walk across Washtenaw at Huron Parkway. Check it out












City Council Meeting, Monday, July 1 at 7pm


Agenda Highlights

  • Resolution to Sell 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. to the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation ($35,000.00) (CA-10). The Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) is requesting City Council approval to sell 1510 E. Stadium Boulevard, also known as Fire Station #2, to the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation (AAHDC), a 501(c)(3) Michigan nonprofit whose sole member is the AAHC, for $35,000.00. The property was appraised in 2022 for $470,000. Because the development process can take several years and because the AAHC’s current administrative offices and maintenance facilities at 2000 S. Industrial have become unsuitable, the AAHC intends to use 1510 E. Stadium as their temporary administrative offices and maintenance facilities until a permanent location is found. The Police Department still has vehicles and equipment stored in the bay area of Fire Station #2 that they agreed can be moved to 2000 S. Industrial location. That storage will require an annual rent payment to the Water Supply Fund, owner of the property. The sale amount of $35,000.00 will cover five years of the Police Department share of the rent payment and thereafter the Police Department share will be absorbed in the Police Services General Fund Operations and Maintenance Budget. 

  • Resolution in Support of City's Revised Public Street Stormwater Management Guidelines Policy (CA-19). In 2014, the City adopted a "green streets" policy that set standards for stormwater management implementation as part of road construction projects. After 10 years of implementation experience, staff is recommending changes to the policy due to challenges they have faced with the original policy. Namely, a change in preventative road maintenance changed the way that the City maintains and rebuilds roads. Because of this change in practice, there were fewer opportunities to implement the Policy. Thus, City Staff have been working to determine a more effective method to work with road projects to increase infiltration.

  • Resolution to Endorse the Use of a Broker for the Sale and Development of the Kline's Lot (DC-2).. This resolution would empower the City Administrator to employ a commercial real estate broker to advise and select a developer for the Kline's Lot (309 S. Ashley St.). As noted in the staff memo, there have been decades of talks about what to do with this city-owned site that is currently a parking lot. In 2019, it was included in a set of parcels to assess the feasibility of development for affordable housing, with several possible options identified after community engagement. Seein a budget deficit on the horizon, our City Administrator suggested last year that we shift course and pursue a development that will generate revenue for the City. The lot's appraised value in 2019 was close to $14M with the estimated annual property tax revenue at $3.5-4.5M (Sponsors: Disch, Cornell, and Eyer).

  • Resolution to Approve the Reallocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds (DC-3) (Sponsor: Taylor). The City allocated $3.5M dollars of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding to develop an unarmed response program. Those monies must be committed by the end of this calendar year. Unfortunately, after conducting community engagement, the City had two failed attempts at requests for proposals to start this program. As a result, it's not feasible to commit these funds to unarmed response by the end of the year, and the City must spend the funds or return them. The City has proposed reallocating the money to a number of ready projects that represent one-time expenses:

  • Barton Dam Embankment Project ($2,000,000). This will be leveraged against other funding sources towards an overall project that is estimated to cost $12M.

  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ($500,000). This will provide 100% funding to enable Ann Arbor to develop a foundational element of its public safety strategy. This will allow us to also work in partnership with other key agencies during an emergency including allowing them to be embedded with our team.

  • Second Ambulance Acquisition ($395,082.00).

  • Bicentennial Park Improvements ($400,000)

  • Safe House - Domestic Violence Support ($100,000)


I know that many residents are upset and disappointed about this setback to unarmed response. Many are also concerned that this means we are abandoning this effort. We are not. We do, however, need to rethink our approach in light of our failure. I have had many conversations about this with our City Administrator, the most recent of which was this week. In the coming months he and his team will be taking a closer look at programs that are working in other cities, and this will include site visits. From the staff memo this week: "At this point, the City is still in the study phase of what a proposed unarmed crisis response program would look like. Once we are done studying and crafting a proposal, it will be shared with City Council and the public, and hopefully implemented. As we are moving through this study phase staff is still not contemplating bringing forward a program that is led by the Police Department."


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

 

You can also communicate your thoughts via:

  • 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 (PH)" item.


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