Welcome to my Ann Arbor City Council newsletter, where you can connect with primary sources to understand the work of your local government. My goal is to provide clear explanations of all the issues your elected representatives will be discussing at their next meeting and alert you to local policy and decisions that have been assigned to unelected Mayoral appointees.
This week, City Council will vote on eight items – conservation easements and contracts/purchases requiring budget amendments – that had to be pulled from the December 19, 2022 agenda because each required eight votes for approval. Council was unable to consider those items at their last meeting due to the absence of four Council Members: Akmon, Cornell, Disch, and Song.
Coming back to Council (after removal from the December 19, 2022 agenda) is a contract for solar installations (CA-8) that rescinds a plan approved just six months ago. On June 21, 2022, City Council approved a Power Partnership Agreement (PPA) for $7,496,424 to fund solar panels on City facilities. Under the PPA, the City would not own the solar panels but had the right to purchase them later. This week, Council rescinds that PPA and reallocates those funds, approving a new contract for $8,133,255 that will include City purchase/ownership of the solar panels. The new contract takes advantage of a 30% rebate ($3,511,028) from the Inflation Reduction Act.
The rest of the Council agenda includes annexations (2118 Victoria Circle and 2520/2540 Pontiac Trail), ordinance amendments for City contracting and storm water management, rezoning of a parcel at 530 N. Division, and approval of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) plan. Four public hearings will allow unreserved public comment on the annexations, the PROS plan, and amendment to the “Best Value” contracting policy.
To learn more about the “Best Value” policy on this agenda and how City Council has exercised discretion in awarding City contracts, see here:
To watch how a former City Council discussed the influence of money on local elections, see here:
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to be alerted to video updates as I share them: https://www.youtube.com/@a2elnel
New Head of Public Services
The City announced this week that Brian Steglitz is recommended to lead the Public Services Area Services department which includes five units, including engineering, public works, systems planning, water recovery and water resources. Mr. Steglitz has served as a temporary head of the Public Services department since 2022 and before that, he managed Water Treatment Services.
In 2020, Mr. Steglitz talked to me about how work at the City’s Water Treatment Plant adapted and continued while most of our community was shut down due to the pandemic. You can find that conversation on my YouTube channel here:
Unarmed Crisis Response Public Forums
Anyone interested in offering feedback about an Unarmed Crisis Response program is invited to participate in public forums this month. Two in-person meetings are scheduled this week:
Monday, January 9th 1:00 p.m.
Downtown Library (343 S. Fifth Ave)
Basement multipurpose room
Thursday January 12th 6:00 p.m.
Pittsfield Library (2359 Oak Valley Drive)
Thursday, January 19th 6:00 p.m.
Virtual Zoom meeting
(see link below for details)
Information about all three meetings (and link to the Zoom meeting) can be found here:
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda
Below is my summary of issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. If you have comments about any of these issues, you can email all of Council at CityCouncil@a2gov.org
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday January 9, 2023 7:00PM
Ann Arbor City Hall (2nd Floor)
301 E Huron St, Ann Arbor 48104
The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda, and instructions for dialing into the meeting) is on the A2Gov Legistar website:
City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99) and online at a2gov.org/watchCTN
Meetings are also streamed live on the CTN YouTube channel:
How to reserve public comment
People that wish to comment at a City Council meeting must sign up with the City Clerk’s office in advance. Speakers are allotted 3 minutes, with the first 15 speakers allowed to speak in a 45 minute session near the beginning of the meeting. Remaining speakers will speak at the end of the Council meeting. Public comment can be made either in person or remotely via phone/Zoom audio.
To sign up for public comment, please go to or call the City Clerk’s Office at 734-794-6140 on the day of the meeting between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. At 1:00 PM, all speakers that have signed up are randomly ordered in “priority groups”. After 1:00 PM, speaking times are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. No new speakers will be added to the list after 5:00 PM. For more information, visit the City Clerk’s webpage about electronic meetings, section “City Council Public Commentary Time”
Questions to the Agenda
In preparation for a Council meeting, Council members can ask questions of staff about scheduled agenda items. Questions must be submitted by noon on the Wednesday before a Council Meeting, and answers are returned the next day (Thursday) by 5pm.
AC-1 (22-2149) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – January 9, 2023
This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.
- No Council members asked questions to the agenda for this meeting
Communications from the Mayor
MC-1 (22-1963) Appointments – Confirmations
These mayoral nominations were presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.
- Grace Whitney – Zoning Board of Appeals
- Frederick Hall – Airport Advisory Committee
- Rosemary Faulkner – Airport Advisory Committee
- Robert Droppelman – Renter’s Commission
Below is the list of items included on the Consent Agenda. If no one on Council specifically requests that an item be pulled for discussion, the whole of this list will be approved in a single vote. I encourage you to look at this list and offer suggestions to me about anything you would like to see pulled for discussion.
CA-1 (22-1931) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Michigan State University to Create a Software Tool to Evaluate Water Quality and Appropriate $250,000.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-2 (22-1933) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 3 to the License and Services Agreement with Tyler Technologies, Inc., Amend the FY23 Budget, and Appropriate Necessary Funds ($169,764.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-3 (22-1951) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Larson Property in Webster Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Webster Township, and Appropriate $81,000.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-4 (22-1952) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Cares II Property in Webster Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Webster Township, and Appropriate $54,000.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-5 (22-1904) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Metro Controls, Inc. for the Wheeler Service Center Building Management System Modernization Project (RFP 22-65, $131,200.00), and to Appropriate $131,200.00 from the Wheeler Service Center Fund Balance (8 Votes Required)
CA-6 (22-1955) Resolution to Approve an Amendment to the Construction Contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the Scio Church Road Resurfacing Project ($3,576,100.00) and to Appropriate $85,000.00 from the Water Supply Fund (8 Votes Required)
CA-7 (22-1902) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Arcadis of Michigan, LLC for the Source Water Master Plan – RFP No. 22-61 ($242,420.00)
CA-8 (22-1870) Resolution to Rescind Resolution R-22-214 for a Power Purchase Agreement with Enerlogics Networks, Inc., Approve a Construction Contract with Enerlogics Networks, Inc. for the Purchase and Installation of Solar at City Facilities, to Reallocate Funding for Solar Projects Previously Approved, and to Appropriate Necessary Funds ($8,133,255.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-9 (22-1920) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of Vehicles from Lunghamer Ford and to Appropriate $40,295.00 in Funding from the General Fund Balance (State of Michigan MiDeal – $538,721.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-10 (22-2038) Resolution to Accept an Amended Grant of Easement for 40 Foot Watermain from Maple Center Investments LLC at Maple Center Condominium (8 Votes Required)
CA-11 (22-2039) Resolution to Accept an Amended Grant of Easement for 44 Foot Watermain from Maple Center Investments LLC at Maple Center Condominium (8 Votes Required)
Anyone wanting to comment on these issues may speak for 3 minutes, without having specifically reserved time. Issues subject to public hearing will also be up for a vote by Council later in the meeting.
PH-1/B-1 (22-1930) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 14 (Purchasing, Selling and Contracting Procedure) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor related to the Best Value Procurement Program (ORD-22-18)
In December 2021, Council Member Eyer, Council Member Radina, and Mayor Taylor sponsored a City ordinance to implement Best Value Procurement (BVP) policies. The ordinance was in response to a successful ballot initiative that amended the City charter. Council considered and approved those policies at second reading in January 2022. The ordinance is now being amended based on problems identified:
- The BVP policy is not accepted by MDOT and other partnering agencies that help fund City projects. MDOT will agree to pay a percentage of project cost based on the price of the Lowest Responsible Bidder. Amendments will give the City Administrator complete discretion to exempt contracts from BVP policy where third-party funding is a factor. Decisions will be made “at the sole determination of the City Administrator.”
- Current BVP requirements are impossible to apply to simpler contracts, where only smaller firms are available to do the work but only larger firms can meet requirements such as apprenticeship programs. Amendments will apply Best Value Procurement policies only to contracts exceeding $50,000.
- Current BVP policy refers to (and requires) a Michigan OSHA safety program certification that does not exist. Amendments will remove this reference.
- Current BVP policy includes an evaluation of employment ratios for categories of employee – masters, journey persons, and apprentices – that are not recognized by the state of Michigan. Employment ratios for these categories are federal requirements through the Department of Labor (DOL). There is no published standard for ratios of these employees; they are determined by the DOL on a case by case basis. Amendments will remove the “completely redundant” criterion.
- Current BVP policy does not require disclosure of non-craft employees or contract labor. Amendments will add disclosure requirements and preference to those companies that employ fewer non-craft employees.
From the resolution: “Staff worked closely with Councilmembers Eyer and Councilmember Radina to finalize these amendments and bring them forward to City Council.”
PH-2/DB-1 (22-1945) Resolution to Approve Annexation of 2118 Victoria Circle (0.394 acres) (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays)
A 0.394 acre property at 2118 Victoria Circle – currently a part of Ann Arbor Charter township – will be annexed into the City. Current use is consistent with adjacent zoning, land use, and the comprehensive land use plan. Proposed zoning of R1A will be voted on by Council at a future meeting.
PH-3/DB-2 (22-1946) Resolution to Approve Annexation of 2520 Pontiac Trail (1.836 acres) & 2540 Pontiac Trail (4.061 acres) (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays)
Two parcels adding up to 5.897 acres at 2520 & 2540 Pontiac Trail will be annexed into the City as part of The Village of Ann Arbor development site plan. Planned use is consistent with the adjacent zoning, land uses, and master plan, Proposed zoning of R4A will be voted on by Council at a future meeting.
PH-4/DB-3 (22-2041) Resolution to Adopt the 2023- 2028 Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan (Adopted by the CPC on January 4, 2023)
The 2023- 2028 Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan includes an inventory of parkland and amenities, explanation of the budget and land acquisition process, and long-term goals of the park system in order to guide the future of services and programs. This plan replaces the 2016-2020 PROS Plan. It was reviewed and approved by both the Parks Advisory Commission and the City Planning Commission.
Ordinances – Second Reading
In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances were approved at a previous Council meeting, and are also subject to a public hearing as listed above.
B-1 (22-1930) is the same as PH-1 above.
Ordinances – First Reading
In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for “first reading”. If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting (“second reading”), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.
C-1 (22-1958) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.19 Acres from R4C (Multiple-Family Dwelling District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), 530 N. Division Street Zoning and Supplemental Regulations (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)
A property at 530 N. Division will be rezoned from R4C (Multiple Family Dwelling District) to Planned Unit Development (PUD). As zoned R4C, the 0.19 acre parcel is permitted to have three units but it is currently nonconforming and contains four units. The rezoning to PUD will permit a three story addition on the rear of the quad-plex, each containing a six bedroom unit plus a below grade unit.
C-2 (22-1993) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.22.2 and 5.22.3, of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Storm Water Management Systems)
Amendments to the UDC will eliminate current exceptions and revise standards for alternative stormwater detention to allow more staff flexibility when site constraints make it infeasible to meet the full detention volume requirement. Requirements will not apply to sites less than one acre in size where there is no increase in impervious area. Amendments reorganize standards and requirements for stormwater management.
Motions and Resolutions
The following agenda items are motions and resolutions, which are approved or rejected in a single meeting. Agenda items marked “DC” are proposed by Council members, items marked “DB” are proposed by City boards and commissions, items marked “DS” are proposed by City staff.
DC-1 (22-2137) Resolution to Appoint Brian D. Steglitz, P.E., F.ASCE, as the City of Ann Arbor Public Services Area Administrator
Brian D. Steglitz, P.E., F.ASCE, will be appointed the City of Ann Arbor Public Services Area Administrator to oversee five units: engineering, public works, systems planning, water recovery and water resources.
DC-2 (22-2148) Resolution to Recommend Approval of Issuance of a Downtown Development District Liquor License to Tatsu, Inc.
A Downtown Development District Liquor License will be issued to Tatsu, Inc. for use at 620 E. Liberty. The license will permit the sale of beer, wine and liquor (consistent with the MLCC terminology “Class C” license) at a family restaurant, without specific retraction for hours of operation. Approval is recommended by the Council Liquor License Review Committee.
DC-3 (22-2155) Resolution to Revise Previous Approval of Issuance of New Full-Year Class C Quota Liquor License in the City of Ann Arbor to A2WINEMAN, LLC
A new full-year liquor license will be issued to A2WINEMAN, LLC, as a modification to a license previously approved for 512 S. Main Street. The license location will be expanded to allow the operation of a restaurant called Zinovia at 512 S. Main in conjunction with a retail wine shop at 504 S. Main.
Thank you for taking the time to be informed about our local government!