Welcome to everyone who is new to this newsletter! Before every Ann Arbor City Council meeting, I write up my own summary of each agenda item and try to pull details that I think are most relevant to understanding them. My hope is that these summaries can help residents keep track of what City Council is doing. For issues that matter to you, I encourage you to follow links (next to each agenda item) to the City’s Legistar website, where you can find all the background information.
This week’s Council agenda is remarkably short, with no public hearings. Among other topics, we will be discussing funding for the deer cull, plans for the rebuilding and widening of E. Medical Center Drive, and transparency around the new TC1 zoning district on S. State Street (Ward 4). In agenda items MC-1 and MC-3, the Mayor announces his appointments to a newly formed Renters Commission. These appointments will be voted on by Council at our next meeting.
I’d like to draw special attention to the survey below— the City is asking for your input regarding the use of federal American Rescue Plan funds.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance
Anyone who is behind on rent or concerned they will be behind on rent should apply for COVID Emergency Rental assistance through Washtenaw County – this post has more information and a link to the County’s website.
Residents in need of financial help during this crisis (e.g. to avoid eviction, pay utility bills, cover emergency medical expenses) can find resources at this link:
Housing Access for Washtenaw County
Housing Access for Washtenaw County (HAWC) is Washtenaw County’s central intake for individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. If you are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis, please call HAWC at (734) 961-1999
Sunday Feb 6th 3:00pm
I hold coffee hours Sunday afternoons at 3pm before City Council meetings. This week I will be holding them on Zoom. Please email me for a link: contact@A2ELNEL.com
City Council Regular Meeting
Monday Feb 7th 7:00pm
Starting in January 2022, Council Meetings will be IN PERSON at City Council chambers. Public commentary is still available via phone – see the Legistar link for details. Note: since publishing this newsletter, the Legistar link to the Feb 7th meeting has changed:
City Council Work Session
Monday Feb 14th 7:00pm
This is the first of four scheduled work sessions to discuss the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. This session is scheduled to have presentations by the City Administrator Area, Finance, Police, Fire, Courts and Community Services.
For more information about the City’s budget process timeline:
UPDATE: After publishing this newsletter, the City significantly altered plans for budget discussion. Council was informed that the traditional February and March budget work sessions which included public comment have been cancelled. In their place, City staff will be sharing video presentations from various City departments regarding budget recommendations.
I have made a post on my website with this information, and will update as new information is received.
American Rescue Plan Survey and Overview Session
Last month the City set up one overview session and seven project focused sessions to discuss how the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds might be distributed. The City has now opened a public survey, and scheduled an additional overview Zoom meeting.
Public Survey open until Feb 14th
The City has opened a survey to gather public input about which projects to fund. The survey will close on Feb. 14, 2022.
Additional Question and Answer and Survey Overview Session
Wednesday, February 9th 6:00-7:30 PM
This meeting will be a continuation of the community conversation about ARPA funding and an opportunity for participants to learn more about the survey. The Zoom link and overviews of each proposed project can be found on the City’s webpage:
A2ELNEL.com Website Updates
In addition to writing this newsletter, I post updates to my website with my perspectives on how issues were resolved at City Council and details on how Council voted at each meeting. I also post information about meetings and issues that affect Ward 4 residents, along with news that affects all city residents.
You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/
City Council Voting Chart for Jan 18, 2022
Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Update from Jan 25 2022 meeting
Construction is scheduled for April to November 2022. During this time, the park will be closed.
Resident Race to Zero Waste Challenge Feb 6-12 2022
The City’s Sustainability department has announced “The Resident Race to Zero Waste Challenge” in partnership with the non-profit Live Zero Waste.
Valhalla (Arbour On Main) Zoom Meeting Feb 17 2022
This is a meeting to discuss proposed modifications to the traffic island on S Main Street in front of the new Valhalla development (now referred to as “Arbour on Main”), and will not include discussions about the intersection of S Main & Scio Church or S Main & Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.
Winners of Golden Paintbrush Award Announced, Community Voting until Mar 11th
The Ann Arbor Public Art Commission announce four winners of the 2021 Golden Paintbrush Awards. Voting is open until March 11th for the “Community Voice Selection”.
A2COUNCIL Updates (A2COUNCIL.com)
For anyone interested in understanding and analyzing the recent work of Council, I have created a resource at A2COUNCIL.com with summaries of issues and direct links to City documents. For each City Council meeting since November 2018, you can find links to the City’s Legistar website, CTN’s YouTube video, and links to my newsletters and voting charts. I have listed agenda items of interest from each meeting, along with articles I’ve written and articles published on MLive.
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda
Below is my summary of some 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, feel free to email me.
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday Feb 7, 2022 7:00pm
The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website. Note: since publishing this newsletter, the Legistar link to the Feb 7th meeting has changed:
City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99). They are also streamed live on YouTube and Viebit:
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-3 (22-0255) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – February 7, 2022
This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.
Communications from Council
CC-1 (22-0257) Resolution to Appoint Bridget Gruber and Sara Nedrich to the Environmental Commission
These appointments are from CM Disch and CM Griswold, who serve on the Environmental Commission. This will be voted on at the next Council meeting.
- Sara Nedrich – Environmental Commission
- Bridget Gruber – Environmental Commission
Communications from the Mayor
MC-1 (22-0221) Nominations and Appointments for February 7, 2022
These appointments from the Mayor are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.
- Kevin Cox – Building Board of Appeals
- Liam Wolf – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Kristen Cato – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Lucy Peterson – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Zackariah Farah – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Arthur Redmond – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Robert Kelly – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Hannah Cohen – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
MC-2 (22-0137) Appointments – Confirmations
This appointment from the Mayor was presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.
- Steve Palms – Downtown Citizens’ Advisory Commission
MC-3 (22-0138) Resolution to Appoint Non-Registered Electors to the Ann Arbor Renters Commission (7 Votes Required)
These appointments from the Mayor are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the “appointees are not registered electors of the City of Ann Arbor”
- Cozine Welch, Jr. – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Dandan Chen – Ann Arbor Renters Commission
- Richa Mukerjee – Ann Arbor Renters 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 (21-1158) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Anglin Civil, LLC. (ITB-4665, $958,793.99) for the Wheeler Facility Ponds Dredging Project, and to Appropriate $650,000.00 from the Stormwater Sewer System Fund Balance (8 Votes Required)
CA-2 (22-0014) Resolution to Accept a Grant from the Water Research Foundation ($100,000.00), Approve a Project Funding Agreement with the Water Research Foundation ($450,082.00), and Approve a Research Agreement with the University of Michigan ($192,500.00) for Research at the Water Treatment Plant
CA-3 (22-0044) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Altura Solutions, LLC for a Parks ADA Compliance Assessment and Transition Plan (RFP #21-08)($210,015.00) and to Appropriate $60,015.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-4 (22-0212) Resolution to Close Streets for the Time to Teal 5K to Benefit the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MIOCA) on Sunday, May 8, 2022
CA-5 (22-0089) Resolution to Update the Approval for the Third Thursday of July Annually as the Opening Day of the Ann Arbor Art Fair, to Approve Street Closings for the Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair, to Affirm the Requirements for Temporary Outdoor Sales, Service and Consumption of Alcohol and the Standards For Temporary Outdoor Sales on Private Property, and to Affirm the Allocation of Fees Among the Art Fair Organizations
CA-6 (22-0071) Resolution to Approve Consent to Reciprocal Easement Agreement Regarding the Michigan Theater Property (8 Votes Required)
CA-7 (22-0216) Resolution to Approve the Eighth Amendment to Professional Services Agreement with Bodman, PLC, for Legal Services Relative to 1,4-Dioxane from Gelman Sciences, Inc., dba Pall Life Sciences ($95,000.00)
CA-8 (22-0210) Resolution to Approve the Board of Insurance Administration’s Recommendations for 2022 Pollution Insurance Renewal
CA-9 (22-0110) Resolution to Approve a Four Month Extension of the Contract with Washtenaw County for Police Dispatch Services ($260,620.64)
CA-10 (22-0144) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Assistant Fire Chiefs effective January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2024
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.
There are no public hearings on the Agenda
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.
There are no ordinance second readings on the Agenda
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.
There are no ordinance first readings on the Agenda
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 (22-0235) Resolution on Deer Management to Resume Funding for Vegetation Studies and Consider Resuming Funding for Regular Population Management
The City Administrator would be directed to strengthen public education on the topic of “reducing deer-human negative interactions” and “supporting biological diversity in natural areas.” He will report on advocacy for non-lethal deer management, resume funding for vegetation studies, and include “budgetary trade-offs involved in resuming funding for the deer management program” in FY 2023 budget discussions.
DC-2 (22-0242) Resolution Requesting a Corrected Version of Attorney Jennifer Salvatore’s Third Independent Investigative Memo
In response to factual errors identified in an investigative report conducted by Jennifer Salvatore (published on 12/7/21), City Attorneys would be directed to oversee corrections and submit a corrected memo by February 21, 2022.
DC-3 (22-0244) Resolution to Provide a Report on the Sixty-Eight Parcel of Land in the Proposed TC1 Zoning District including Ownership and Valuation Information
This resolution asks for transparency regarding ownership of the 68 parcels recommended for TC-1 zoning changes. If approved, the City would compile a “report of the individuals with an ownership interest in these sixty-eight parcels, and including, but not limited to, the entity name on the City Assessor’s record, the Registered Agent with the State of Michigan and the ownership information available from the County Register of Deeds.” Additionally, the City would contract with a commercial broker to assess – for each parcel – approximately how much they increase in value due to the rezoning. A report of this information would be published by March 21, 2022.
DC-4 (22-0254) Resolution to Amend R-21-395 Approving a Professional Services Agreement with DLZ Michigan, Inc. for Engineering Design Services for the E. Medical Center Drive Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening Project
A resolution passed on October 18, 2021 regarding the re-building and expansion of E. Medical Center Drive bridge would be amended. At the 10/18/21 Council meeting, a majority of Council approved language dictating that “The final design will utilize the additional width and capacity to facilitate and encourage multimodal travel (e.g. transit, carpool, bike).” If approved, DC-4 would remove that language.
Rebuilding and expansion of this bridge is needed in order to facilitate motorized traffic in and out of the UM Medical Center. The original plans – prior to Council amendment – include expansion of the space available to pedestrians and cyclists, based on data.
A 10.5 ft. wide sidewalk that currently exists on the east side of the roadway would be replaced with a 14.5 ft. wide multi-user path. A 10.5 ft. wide sidewalk on the west side of the roadway will be adjusted to 8 ft. wide, based on data showing that only half as many pedestrians walk there; engineers have determined that this west side of the roadway is less safe for cyclists and pedestrians, due to additional driveways and road crossings. Also proposed: a multi use path underneath the bridge. Below is a diagram of the current allocation of space to pedestrians and cyclists (top drawing) as well as a diagram of what is proposed (bottom drawing).
DS-1 (22-0158) Resolution Authorizing Publication of Notice of Intent to Issue Revenue Bonds (Water Supply System Revenue Bonds) ($6,180,000.00) (Roll Call Vote)
This resolution authorizes the publication of a Notice of Intent to issue $6,180,000.00 in revenue bonds to support the Barton Pump Station Valve Improvement Project. The City will utilize lower-than-market interest loans from the State of Michigan Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).
Early Leasing Ordinance
In the last two weeks, I’ve participated in a number of meetings on the topic of the City’s early leasing ordinance and persistent problems enforcing it. When the issue of early leasing was discussed last summer, I advocated for ordinance provisions that would have included “just cause for eviction.” I wrote about it in July 2020:
Those terms did not ultimately find support on Council, but I still believe that such a policy would be the most significant and appropriate protection for the thousands of renters who live in Ann Arbor. A big obstacle to achieving this reform: a comparatively small number of landlords who own and lease properties in Ann Arbor. Rental housing issues and tenant rights, generally, are a reminder of how easily financial interests can, unfortunately, dictate local policy. Money makes some voices louder than others.
Dr. George Jewett
A resident reached out to me recently to share information he had learned from an exhibit at our local African American Cultural and Historical Museum (1528 Pontiac Trail). I think it is especially worth sharing now, during Black History month.
Last year, the University of Michigan and Northwestern established a new trophy for the winner of the football game between those two schools: the George Jewett trophy. This trophy is named after college football star Dr. George Jewett, who was the first African American football player at both schools.
Dr. Jewett was raised in Ann Arbor and generations of his family still live here. He was an athlete and a scholar: valedictorian of his class (1889, Ann Arbor High school) as well as captain of the debate, football and baseball teams. He was fluent in German, Italian and French. He attended UM for undergrad and began medical school here before transferring to Northwestern to complete his degree and continue his football career. He practiced medicine in Chicago for a time before moving back to Ann Arbor, where he ran a successful cleaning and pressing shop called The Valet.
Jewett Street in Ward 4 is named after Dr. Jewett and his remarkable family. The late Coleman Jewett – George’s grandson – is honored by two bronze Adirondack chairs at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market.
I encourage everyone to learn more about Dr. George Jewett at the links below:
Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!