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Dharma's Council Newsletter, May 18th, 2024

Neighbors,

 

City Council meets on Monday, May 20th at 7pm. The biggest item on our agenda is adopting the annual budget and considering the associated amendments put forth by Council members. Information on the budget, including responses to Council member questions, can be accessed at: https://tinyurl.com/52r42e2f


Here are some updates before my preview of our agenda.


Response to Noise Complaints from UM's Track and Field Facility

Many Ward 4 residents reached out to me last weekend about the noise coming from UM's track and field facility on State St. UM was hosting the Big 10's Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field championships. This was the first time UM has hosted the BIG 10 championship event since the track & field facility opened in 2018, and--since it rotates among schools--they will not be hosting it again for 10-12 years. UM's Director of Community Relations took the complaints I and other Council members shared to the athletic department and he assures me that should they ever host a similar event at the track & field facility, UM will do the following:

Inform UM community relations of the event so advanced notification can be given to elected officials and their constituents.

  • The extra speakers brought in will be arranged so they are directed inward to the facility and/or a majority of them are facing westerly.

  • Complete "sound checks" far enough in advance of the meeting so necessary adjustments can be made before the actual competition begins.


May Bicentennial Events

In honor of Ann Arbor's 200th anniversary, there are a number of events taking place this month (May 25th being the City's official birthday), including:

  • Saturday, May 25, 12-2pm: Bicentennial Bikeapalooza is an annual free, family friendly educational event celebrating downtown Ann Arbor's protected bikeway network! There will be cargo bike demos, giveaways, face painting, fun activities and more!! The event will be located on the surface parking lot at the corner of William & Fifth (across from the library).

  • Saturday, May 25, 11am-2:30pm: A picnic at Liberty Plaza. Liberty between Division and Fifth Ave will be closed to celebrate Ann Arbor's 200th birthday. Join the celebration and enjoy music, cake, and carry-out meals from local restaurants.


The entire calendar events can be found at: https://www.a2bicentennial.org/events.


Ward Four Neighborhood A2ZERO Party, June 12th

Join my Ward 4 Council colleague, Jen Eyer (unfortunately I will not be able to attend), representatives from Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations, A2ZERO Ambassadors, and VegMichigan as we celebrate A2ZERO week in Ward 4! This family friendly event will take place June 12th from 5-6pm at Allmendinger Park. This is an opportunity to have a tasty treat, work on a family emergency preparedness plan, learn more about what is happening to help our community become carbon neutral, and uncover ways to advance sustainability in your home. All are welcome to join this free event.


City Council Meeting, Monday, May 20 at 7pm

  • Meeting Agenda

  • Responses to Council Member Questions (there were no Council member questions on this agenda)


Agenda Highlights

  • Amendments to Snow Removal Ordinance, Chapter 49 (C-1). This is a proposed revision to the City's snow removal ordinance. My colleagues and I are bringing it forward in response to resident concerns that we have received over several winters regarding timely clearing of sidewalks, particularly on stretches that appear to be perpetually ignored despite our current ordinance. It increases fines and differentiates between single-family (R1), two-family/duplex (R-2), townhouse (R3) zoning districts and multi-family residential (R4), which includes apartment buildings and apartment complexes, making fines larger for multi-family residential and property not zoned residential. It also allows Community Standards to send 24-hour notices, use email, and issue infractions to an “owner’s agent” which should lead to faster response times for rental units owned by an out-of-state entity.  This is the first reading of the ordinance. (Sponsors: Cornell, Akmon, Briggs, Ghazi Edwin)

  • Issuance of 2024 Capital Improvement Bonds for the 121 Catherine Street Affordable Housing Development (DS-1). This is to approve the issuance of Capital Improvement Bonds in the maximum principal amount of $9,000,000.00 for purposes of financing costs to develop affordable housing at 121 Catherine Street (named Dunbar Tower at the groundbreaking). The City of Ann Arbor will be responsible for repayment of the Bond proceeds, interest, and other related issuance costs through a portion of the City’s Affordable Housing Millage adopted in 2020.


Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Related Materials

  • Resolution to Adopt Ann Arbor City Budget and Related Property Tax Millage Rates for Fiscal Year 2025 (DS-5).

  • The proposed FY25 budget: totals $607 million in revenue and $564 million in expenditures. The budget is balanced and includes:

  • $1.2M for a Phase II study for a Municipal Electric Utility. Determining the value of DTE's assets (and, hence, potential cost to the City) is a critical step that must be completed before putting the issue before voters

  • $300k to carry out the Council directive to Accelerate Safety Improvements on Multilane Roads by evaluating multilane roads for reconfiguration 

  • The addition of new staff positions for Planning, Building, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, IT, and a new office of Economic Development.

  • Staff responses to council member budget questions

  • Budget amendments put forward by council members (all in one document):

  • Amendment 1: Appropriate $100,000 to the FY 2025 General Fund Budget for Professional Services for Zoning Changes. This would be for a one-time increase in professional service funds to support timely delivery of zoning and land use changes Council asked for in a suite of economic development resolutions passed in early April. (Sponsors: Disch and Cornell)

  • Amendment 2: Convert City Planner 1 Position to City Planner 5 and Appropriate $20,812 to the General Fund FY 2025 Budget. This year, the City lost two experienced staff members to retirement from the Planning Department. The City Administrator’s proposed budget provides for a revenue neutral replacement of these positions by hiring three new FTEs at Level 1. The amendment has staff hire a more senior Planner to better support needs related to Comprehensive Plan updates. The sponsors assert this to be budget neutral as the hire will increase revenues related to site plan revenue, zoning compliance permit revenue, and planned unit development revenue. (Sponsors: Disch and Cornell)

  • Amendment 3:  Appropriate $500,000 from FY 2025 Marijuana Excise Tax Rebate to Eviction Prevention and Low-Income Youth Services. As with Fiscal Year 2024, this would allocate $250,000 to eviction prevention and $250,000 to low-income youth services. (Sponsors: Cornell, Briggs, Ghazi Edwin, Watson, and Akmon) 

  • Amendment 4: Appropriate $500,000 from the Marijuana Excise Tax to the Rising Hope for Housing Program. In Fiscal Year 2024, City Council allocated $400,000 to the Rising Hope for Housing Program and its trauma informed supportive services prioritizing individuals impacted by the Criminal Legal System with Tenant-Based Housing Choice Vouchers. This amendment would allocate $500,000 to the program in Fiscal Year 2025. (Sponsors: Harrison and Radina)

  • Amendment 5: Appropriate $100,000 to the FY 2025 General Fund Budget for Communications to the Community. This would appropriate $100,000 from the General Fund fund balance for print and mail from City Council communications to the community in order to address the fact that some residents don't have the ability to use digital communications. (Sponsor: Eyer)

  • Amendment 6: Prioritize Crosswalk Upgrades on Stone School Road. We currently set aside $250,000 annually from the Street, Bridge, and Sidewalk Millage for crosswalk upgrades of this nature. Staff evaluates crosswalk upgrades based on a set of crosswalk design guidelines and prioritizes the list based on a weighted rubric that considers proximity to pedestrian attractors, transit, schools, affordable housing, pedestrian/automobile incidents, road classification, and resident requests. This amendment would have Council prioritize crosswalk upgrades on Stone School Road ahead of all others on the list. (Sponsor: Radina)

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.


How Council Voted

The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the May 6, 2024 Council Voting chart.

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