The following was originally published in my Feb 17, 2019 Newsletter in the “Additional Thoughts” section
The Greenbelt purchase of the Lepkowski property in Northfield township will be reconsidered at this meeting, after Council voted it down, brought it back for re-consideration, and postponed it. When this purchase was first voted down, some members of Council complained that the city’s share of the cost was too high, higher than the percentage designated in the original greenbelt millage. A number of stakeholders were caught by surprise by Council’s vote, including municipal leaders in surrounding communities.
Since our January vote, I’ve had meaningful conversation with advocates and members of the Greenbelt Commission have provided more detailed information supporting the purchase. Northfield township trustees tell us that they are now discussing how they might raise funds to be better partners for future purchases. I appreciate the voices on council who regularly remind us about fiscal responsibility and I was persuaded by those arguments the first time we considered this purchase. I am now persuaded that our city enjoys enough local benefit in preserving these green spaces that it is worth shouldering a slightly higher share of the expense. These greenbelt funds were created by a millage with the intent that they be spent on purchases like this one and I plan to vote in favor of purchasing it. Approval will require eight votes.