Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: February 18 2020

Sidewalk Special Assessment District #60 from CA-7
Buckle up gentle readers, because tonight's #a2council meeting is going to be off the chain. Will there be animus? Yes. Raised voices? For sure. Yelling? Probably. Frustrated pen clicking? You betcha. Here's the agenda. In an effort to not bury the lead, the spiciest chili on tonight's agenda is DC-8, a motion to terminate the employment agreement with Administrator Howard Lazarus. This is sponsored by CMs Eaton and Lumm. The motion would fire Lazerus without cause, granting him one year of severance pay. It needs 6 votes to pass.

On to the consent agenda! There are only 16 items, but it'll probably take a while just to get through everything that gets pulled. CM Bannister indicated that she was going to pull the Barton sidewalk special assessments CA-6 and CA-7. Seems like building sidewalks near a school should be a no brainer, but here we are. It's hard because in the past Ann Arbor allowed people to build houses without sidewalks. My understanding is that most houses have sidewalks in the city from when they were built. Thus, the cost of the sidewalk was factored into the original construction of the building. Because of this, the way we pay for new sidewalks is by assessing property owners for the footage of sidewalk being constructed on their easements. These special assessments can be spread out over several years so as not to hit a property owner with a single giant payment. Sidewalks are important, especially if we want to make it easier and safer for people to not drive.

There are two public hearings on tonight's docket. PH-1/B-1 is on an ordinance to change how commissioners are appointed to boards. PH-2/DB-1 is on a township island annexation on Newport Road. Recently township island annexation has become a little spicy, so we will see how this goes.

In old business, we have DC-1 and DC-2. The first is the resolution to establish the city mobility committee. The second directs the "City Administrator to review existing policies and procedures on communications between City staff and Councilmembers, recommend improvements as needed to support City Council’s goal of improved communications through collaboration, transparency, and accuracy of information, and report to City Council any improved policies or procedures by March 31, 2020."

DC-5 is a resolution to support the Washtenaw Housing Alliance's Affordable Housing Pledge. Another interesting item is F-2, the Transportation Commission's recommendation for a statewide crosswalk ordinance.

Well gentle reader, what do you think about the plan to fire Administrator Lazarus? What agenda items are you most interested in? Make sure you tune into the action tonight at 7 on CTN. As always, you can follow the #a2council hashtag on twitter too.

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