Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 18, 2023)

Mar 18, 2023 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

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’s regular Council agenda includes two public hearings for ordinance amendments to be approved at second reading (repeal of the Insurance Board and procedural changes to commercial solid waste service), and two ordinance amendments to be considered at first reading, including a rezoning for 415 W. Washington.

This week, over $10 million dollars in expenditures have been placed on the Consent Agenda, including the acquisition of property for use as affordable housing and contract amendments related to the delay and re-design of improvements to the East Medical Center Drive bridge.

Update: Scio Church Closure

Beginning this Monday (3/20/23) at 7 a.m., Scio Church will be CLOSED to eastbound and westbound through traffic from South Seventh to South Maple. These closures are planned to continue through May 26, 2023.

From the City website:
Due to the recent damage to the Liberty Street overpass, the Scio Church Road/South Maple Road intersection will remain open to vehicle traffic turning left onto South Maple Road or right on to Scio Church Road to help relieve traffic congestion.

More detailed information about the Scio Church Improvements can be found here:

Capital Improvements Dashboard

This week, the City announced an online dashboard for residents to find information about projects that are part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This dashboard includes a search bar to find specific locations for planned projects (including estimated timeline)

ARPA Funds Update – Affordable Housing

In April 2022 City Council approved a spending plan for $24.2 million in federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA funds”). That spending plan includes an allocation of $3,500,000 for the acquisition of property and the development of affordable housing.

This week, item CA-7 will use these ARPA funds to support the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s purchase of eight duplexes for use as affordable housing priced at 60% Area Median Income. The total purchase price of these properties is $4,135,000. The Ann Arbor Housing Commission anticipates borrowing an additional $2 million from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, to cover closing costs and renovations. Total development cost: $5,500,000. 

CA-7 (23-0313) Resolution to Approve a $3,500,000 American Rescue Plan Act Subrecipient Grant for the Acquisition of 8 duplexes on Liberty, Virginia and Siller Terrace by the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation for Affordable Housing ($3,500,000.00) (8 Votes Required)

I have talked to several people who were not aware of this particular cluster of duplexes at 1474 W. Liberty, 1484 W. Liberty, 528 Virginia Ave,1540 Siller Terrace, 1550 Siller Terrace, 1560 Siller Terrace, 1570 Siller Terrace, and 1580 Siller Terrace. I discovered these duplexes a few years ago, when I was out on a walk — they are conveniently located just north of Liberty, adjacent to (and south of) Virginia Park. 

I was pleased to see this item on the agenda and it reminded me of another recent City purchase of property: Lurie Terrace, a housing community on Huron that has existed for many years, providing below-market rate rental apartments for seniors. In 2019, City Council began negotiations to purchase Lurie Terrace, after hearing that the 136 affordable senior apartments were at risk of being re-developed as luxury condos. 

In 2020, the purchase of the 136 apartments at Lurie Terrace was finalized for the price of $4,050,000 (market appraised value of $7,800,000).

MLIve reported on it at the time:

I hope to hear meaningful discussion of the purchase in CA-7, which appears to be significantly more expensive, per unit: $4,135,000 for eight units (17 bedroom, total).

To see how the rest of Ann Arbor’s ARPA funds have been spent (so far), visit the dashboard on the City’s website:

East Medical Center Drive Bridge Update

Last month, City Council approved a plan to postpone improvements of the East Medical Center Drive bridge for a redesign at an estimated additional cost of $2,050,000. This week, City Council will approve a portion of that additional cost.

In agenda item CA-17, a contract for professional engineering services with DLZ Michigan, Inc.will be amended and increased by $615,216.72. Attachments to this agenda item include explanation from DLZ:

As requested by the Ann Arbor City Council during the February 21st City Council meeting, with the Resolution on the East Medical Center Drive (EMCD) Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening project, DLZ Michigan, Inc. (DLZ) is pleased to submit our proposal for design services to widen DLZ’s previously designed EMCD bridge…


Part of the redesign effort will include coordination with the University of Michigan (UM) and accommodate impacts resulting from delay in construction. Revisions to the superstructure and substructure design are anticipated along with impacts to the roadway, utilities, and maintenance of traffic as well.

Amendment to the DLZ contract includes nearly 4000 additional work hours over the course of seven months. This capital improvement was scheduled to occur during the 2023 construction season but has been delayed to 2024.

Link to the contract amendment:

Jasmine Hampton Update

This week, Ann Arbor native Jasmine Hampton will compete in a national qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Olympic team! Some of you may have seen a recent television story about her successes as a competitive boxer:

The competition will take place in Detroit at Cobo Hall (now called Huntington Place). You can follow this link for updates and where to watch.

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

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday March 20, 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
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 (23-0502) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – March 20, 2023
This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.

Communications from the Mayor

MC-1 (23-0355) Appointments – Confirmations
This mayoral nomination was presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Rosanita Ratcliff – Commission on Disability Issues

MC-2 (23-0480) Nominations and Appointments for March 20, 2023
This mayoral nomination is being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.

  • Anne Harlow – Board of Review

Consent Agenda

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.

CA-1 (23-0408) Resolution to Approve Street Closures for MUSIC Matters SpringFest from 3:00 A.M. on Friday, April 14, 2023 until 11:00 P.M.

CA-2 (23-0412) Resolution to Approve the Closing of Streets for the 2023 Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association Annual Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 29, 2023

CA-3 (23-0333) Resolution to Approve a Land and Water Conservation Grant Application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grants Management for Improvements at the Buhr Park Ice Arena

CA-4 (23-0331) Resolution to Enter a Lease with Huron River Holdings, LLC for Seasonal Parking for Argo Park ($102,031.00 / 6 yrs.) (8 Votes Required)

CA-5 (23-0279) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order to Amerinet of Michigan, Inc. for the Purchase of Networking Equipment, Software, and Related Services to Replace Legacy Justice Center Building Network Equipment and Upgrade the Justice Center Building Network to a Fabric Connected Network ($132,850.18) (GSA Schedule IT 70 – GS-35F-0511T)

CA-6 (23-0280) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order to AmeriNet of Michigan, Inc. for the purchase of Extreme Networks Wireless Networking Equipment, Software, and Related Services to Replace legacy Cisco Wireless Equipment ($102,621.00) (GSA Schedule IT 70 – GS-35F-0511T)

CA-7 (23-0313) Resolution to Approve a $3,500,000 American Rescue Plan Act Subrecipient Grant for the Acquisition of 8 duplexes on Liberty, Virginia and Siller Terrace by the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation for Affordable Housing ($3,500,000.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-8 (23-0315) Resolution to Transfer Ownership of 121 E. Catherine to the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation ($1.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-9 (23-0314) Resolution to Approve a Tax Exemption for the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation’s Affordable Housing Project at 121 E Catherine and Payment of a Service Charge in Lieu of Taxes

CA-10 (23-0244) Resolution Authorizing Water Capital Recovery Charges for 3090 Geddes Av. ($5,274.00)

CA-11 (23-0245) Resolution Authorizing Sanitary Sewer Capital Recovery Charges for 3090 Geddes Av. ($25,954.00)

CA-12 (23-0357) Resolution Authorizing Water Capital Recovery Charges for 190 Orchard Hills Ct. ($2,696.00)

CA-13 (23-0335) Resolution to Authorize a Sole Source Purchase Order to Michigan Lighting Systems East, LLC (MLS East) in the amount of $43,050.00 for Spring City Street Light Poles and Associated Fixtures and Luminaires

CA-14 (23-0092) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Professional Services Agreement with Wade Trim Associates, Inc. for the State and Hill Streets Improvements Project ($385,780.00 Amendment, $834,814.00 Contract Total)

CA-15 (23-0183) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Bailey Excavating, Inc. for the Broadway Water Main and Resurfacing Project ($3,242,493.43)

CA-16 (23-0326) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Fonson Company, Inc. for the 2023 Miscellaneous Utility Projects ($4,203,293.63)

CA-17 (23-0370) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 5 to the Professional Services Agreement with DLZ Michigan, Inc. for Engineering Design Services for the E. Medical Center Drive Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening Project ($ 615,216.72 increase, total contract $ 1,685,347.40) (RFP 21-20)

CA-18 (23-0290) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Right-of-Way License Agreement with Spin, Inc., for the Operation of Electric Scooters and Electric Bicycles in the City of Ann Arbor

CA-19 (23-0440) Resolution to Approve Amendment Number 1 to the Professional Services Agreement between Ann Arbor SPARK and the City of Ann Arbor for Economic Development Services ($24,500 Amendment, $99,500 Contract Total)

CA-20 (23-0382) Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Negotiate a New Natural Gas Franchise

Public Hearings

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 (23-0047) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 2:1, 2:2, 2:5, and 2:9 of Chapter 26 (Solid Waste) of Title II (Solid Waste) of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-23-07)
Ordinance amendments will allow Waste Management to directly bill customers for commercial refuse hauling in the City of Ann Arbor. Currently, the City provides billing and customer service for commercial solid waste collection. These responsibilities will be delegated to Waste Management for commercial customers.

PH-2/B-2 (23-0299) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11 (Risk Fund) and Repeal Section 1:193 of Chapter 8 (Organization of Boards and Commissions) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-23-09)
The Risk Fund ordinance will be repealed and replaced to eliminate the Insurance Board as the body of review for claims filed against the City. The Insurance Board – two Council Members and the City’s treasurer – reviews and awards claims against the City between $500 and $10,000. Meeting minutes for the Insurance Board are approved by City Council and Council specifically approved all claims over $10,000. The new ordinance eliminates the Insurance Board and empowers the City Administrator (or his designee) to decide all awards or denials of claims against the City, up to $75,000. Expenditures under $75,000 will no longer appear on public agendas of City Council but will be available to Council members “upon request.”

To learn more about this Ordinance Amendment when Council approved it at first reading (March 6, 2023), see this section of my “A2Council Update” video:

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 (23-0047) is the same as PH-1 above.
B-2 (23-0299is the same as PH-2 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 (23-0277) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 2.5 Acres from PL (Public Land) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), 415 West Washington PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 415 West Washington (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)
The parcel at 415 W Washington will be rezoned from Public Land (PL) to Planned Unit Development (PUD) to facilitate the development of residential and mixed uses as permitted in the D2 zoning district including residential, commercial and office uses. The PUD will require a minimum of 15 designated affordable housing units or 15% of the total units or a contribution in lieu of units, whichever number is greater. The PUD will also require 60% open space amenities such as the extension of the Treeline Trail, benches, and ambient lighting.

A “concept plan” for a three-story building containing 157 residential units can be viewed here:

C-2 (23-0491) An Ordinance to Amend Section 8:527 of Chapter 105 (Housing Code) of Title VIII (Building Regulations) of the Ann Arbor City Code
The City’s housing code will be amended to require carbon monoxide detectors in all current rental units, consistent with requirements for new construction and certain alterations.

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 (23-0322) Resolution to Appoint Kate Laramie to the Greenbelt Advisory Commission (7 Votes Required)
This nomination is from CM Radina, who serves on the Greenbelt Advisory Commission. This nomination was presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Kate Laramie – Greenbelt Advisory Commission

DC-2 (23-0478) Resolution to Request the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission to Establish a Project Plan to Redesign the City of Ann Arbor City Flag in Honor of the 2024 Bicentennial Celebration
The Ann Arbor Public Art Commission will be asked to develop a project plan to design a new City Flag that will include a public engagement process, schedule, and funding necessary to complete the project as a part of the bicentennial celebration. The resolution refers to the “Five Basic Principles of Flag” from the North American Vexillological Association (NAVO)

Examples of NAVO highly-rated city flags (and poorly rated flags) can be found here:

In the MLive article below, you can read some history of the current flag (including the fact that it went to space!)

DC-3 (23-0360) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement between Waste Management of Michigan, Inc. and the City of Ann Arbor for Commercial Solid Waste Franchise Collection. (Estimated Cost for the City $733,000.00, Total Estimated Contract Value $14,660,000.00)
A contract for commercial solid waste collection will establish Waste Management as the City’s franchised hauler, with exclusive responsibility for refuse collection and disposal from all commercial properties and some collections and disposal at multi-family properties within the City of Ann Arbor. The cost to the City will be $733,000, with an estimated total contract value of $14,660,000.

DC-4 (23-0487) Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Provide City Council a Monthly Risk Fund Claims Review Report
The City Administrator is directed to provide Council with a “monthly Risk Fund claims review report.” This resolution refers to the ordinance amendment in B-2, which removes current requirements that these Risk Fund claims appear on a public agenda of City Council as part of meeting minutes for the Insurance Board. The ordinance amendment in B-2 does not include any requirement for publication of Risk Fund claims under $75,000.

DB-1 (23-0393) A Resolution Requesting the City Administrator to Engage with the Michigan Legislature and Michigan Public Service Commission to Advance Energy Equity and Resilience
This resolution calls on the Michigan Legislature to take action toward addressing power outages, assisting rate payers and funding local resilience. It calls on the the Michigan Public Service Commission to hold DTE accountable for improving the electrical systems and providing greater transparency in outage maps. The City Administrator is directed to work with the Council Policy Committee and DTE to facilitate timely installation of infrastructure. City Council asks DTE to attend meetings of the City’s Energy Commission.

Thank you for taking the time to be informed about our local government!
Elizabeth Nelson