Monday, December 17, 2018

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: December 17, 2018

Gentle reader, tonight is the last #a2council meeting of 2019. Potentially the most exciting and consequential action will happen at the 6pm special closed session do discuss pending litigation. Oh to be a fly on that wall. There will be public commentary at this meeting, so if you can share your thoughts with council if you like.

The main meeting has quite a full schedule. One thing I am interested in is DS-1, which deals with sidewalk gaps around Northside School. This resolution would fill sidewalk gaps leading to Northside School as part of the Safe Routes to School program. One of the largest gaps is along Traver road near the intersection with Broadway (see above). My hot take on this: Ann Arbor should fill all sidewalk gaps post haste. But, the current way we pay for this, assessing property owners based on the amount of sidewalk being built in their front yards, is pretty bogus. Residents on Traver are being assessed at $43/ft which comes to anywhere from $1,290 to $8,686. Sidewalks are an essential public good. Not only do they allow for children walking to school safely, they allow for improved mobility for people with some disabilities. The city should pay to fill the sidewalk gaps.

One of the spiciest items on the agenda may be DC-3, which would provide council with guidance on a survey to determine how to use the rebate from the County Mental Health and Public Safety Millage. The controversy around this issue probably deserves its own article, or perhaps someone in the comments will elaborate. My tl:dr is as follows: under the Mental Health and Public Safety Millage, communities that have their own police force (e.g. Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti City, Pittsfield Twp., etc.) get a portion of the money from the mileage back as a rebate. Previously council passed a ordinance/resolution saying that if the millage passed, they would use the rebate for pedestrian safety, affordable housing, and climate change (I think). The new majority on the council does not necessarily like this plan and they would like to conduct a survey and they are proposing to survey people in Ann Arbor to see how to spend the money. In general, I am skeptical about governing by SurveyMonkey.

There are some other interesting items on tonight's agenda:

DC-2: Resolution to Address Crosswalk Improvements and Maintenance
DC-4: Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Develop and Present to Council by February 28, 2019 a List of Feasible Alternatives to Revise the Recently-Adopted Water Rate Re-structuring Ordinance to Mitigate the Adverse Impacts of the Ordinance on Single-Family Residential Customers
DC-7: Resolution to Add "The Center of the City" to the list of Available Public Park Rental Facilities
DS-3: Resolution to Direct the City Attorney Regarding the 319 S. Fifth Avenue a/k/a/ the “Library Lot”
Gentle reader, what are you most looking forward to at tonight's #a2council meeting? Make sure you tune in tonight at 7 to watch CTN's live stream and follow the blow-by-blow action on #a2council hashtag on Twitter.


  1. DC-4 is asking the city administrator to come up with a plan to subsidize single family homeowners against state law.

  2. I'm guessing the close door session about the lawsuits are for the mayor's illegal deal with the developer that was overturned by the voters. Can't we just feed Taylor to the lions and be done with it?