Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (June 15, 2019)

Jun 15, 2019 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

This week on Ann Arbor City Council, we have an extremely long consent agenda (relative to a short regular agenda!), some nominations/appointments to boards and commissions, and some new/unfinished business related to sidewalks, solid waste, and a potential site for more affordable housing.

Before I jump into my summary of items on the agenda, I’d like to invite you to my coffee hours tomorrow (Sunday) from 3-4:30 p.m. at RoosRoast on Rosewood. I hope this is a convenient opportunity for us to meet in person and hear perspectives.

A2ELNEL coffee hours June 16 2019

Council Caucus

Some of us on City Council have decided to resume a tradition of “Council Caucus” on Sunday nights. I am looking forward to this opportunity for additional open, public conversation around the issues that matter to you!

Council Caucus
Sunday June 16  (7:00-9:00pm)
City Hall 2nd Floor
301 E Huron St


  • Public comment general time. (Three minutes, no need to signup in advance and speakers will be assigned in the order of arrival.)
  • Discussion, primarily topics on the next day’s Council agenda.

More Information:

  • One or more council members will be present for each caucus.
  • Children are welcome. (Books and crayons provided)

If there is public interest, then the caucus sessions will continue every Sunday before regular Council meetings. 

For more information about Council Caucus, see the city website at:

Police Chief Update

Since my last newsletter, the city administrator has made a recommendation for our new Police Chief: Michael Cox. Mr. Cox comes from the Boston Police Department and his local connection is that his son played football for the University of Michigan (i.e. his family knew our town a good bit before he applied for the job).

I was very impressed with Mr. Cox during the interview process and I look forward to welcoming him to Ann Arbor!  You can learn more about Michael Cox here:

Boards and Commissions Applications

Membership on Ann Arbor Boards and Commissions is constantly changing as terms end and appointees step down. We need you! You can find openings at the following link (or contact me directly)

Road Construction Updates

It’s the season for road construction, and I post regular updates on my website about projects that affect Ward 4 residents. My posts include links to the City’s website, so that you can find more information and contact info.

For information about these and other projects, the City has a page of road and lane closures, and a page of scheduled construction projects:

Hoover Ave detour June 12th to July 26th
An detour is in place on Hoover Avenue from Greene Street to State Street.

South State Street detour June 12th to Aug 7th
An detour is in place on South State Street between Stimson Street and Oakbrook Drive.

Hoover/Greene/Hill Project Updates
I posted progress updates on the construction on Hoover Avenue, Greene Street, and Hill Street.

Maywood Ave Construction Update June 6th
An update on the construction project on Maywood Avenue.

ITC State-Pioneer Transmission Line Project Update June 10th
ITC provided updates for the month of June for the project to connect the State and Pioneer substations.

Scio Church Service Drive Traffic Calming Device Installation
The installation of resident-requested traffic calming devices was originally scheduled for June 13th, but was delayed due to inclement weather. Installation was completed today, June 15th.

Additional 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:

City Council Voting Chart for June 3, 2019

A reminder about a few city resources:

A2 Fix It  This is an online system for alerting the city to problems in your neighborhood (e.g. potholes, graffiti, garbage pickup). This is the city’s preferred method for hearing your complaint so they can direct appropriate staff to address it. I’m happy to hear from you, too, but city staff tell me that the online A2FixIt system is actually the quickest and fastest way to get a response to the problem. Information about A2FixIt  (and explanation of more urgent issues and appropriate numbers to call) is here:

City News and Announcements  This is a helpful link to updates on events and opportunities in Ann Arbor through City Hall:

City Department Updates  If you have specific interests related to the city’s work, e.g. construction projects, deer management, recycling, you can subscribe to receive emailed updates on various topics found here:

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.

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website:

Ann Arbor City Council
Monday June 17, 2019  (7:00pm)
City Hall 2nd Floor
301 E Huron St

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:

Communications from Council

CC-1 (19-1206) Resolution to Appoint Members to the Center of the City Task Force
These Council appointments to the Center of the City Task Force are being introduced at this Council meeting, and will be voted on at the next Council meeting.

  • Alan Haber
  • Ann Dilcher
  • Carolyn Loh
  • Dean Yang
  • Hannah Boettcher
  • Lorri Sipes
  • Megan Musolff
  • Miles Klapthor
  • Norman Tyler
  • Council liaisons: CM Hayner and CM Smith.

Communications from the Mayor

MC-1 (19-1113) Appointments – Confirmations
These Mayoral appointments were introduced at the 6/3/19 Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Janet McDermott nominated to Economic Development Corporation Board.
  • Teresa Hatcher nominated to Energy Commission.
  • Josh Whinston nominated to Housing and Human Services Board.

MC-2 (19-1163) Nominations and Appointments
These Mayoral appointments are being introduced at this Council meeting, and will be voted on at the next Council meeting.

  • Ember McCoy nominated to Energy Commission.
  • Ellie Adrons nominated to City Planning Commission.
  • Sara Hammerschmidt nominated to City Planning Commission.
  • Joe Malcoun nominated to Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Megan Peters nominated to Zoning Board of Appeals.

MC-3 (19-1200) Resolution to Appoint Robin Stephens to the Human Rights Commission (7 Votes Required)
This Mayoral appointment is being introduced at this Council meeting, and will be voted on at the next Council meeting. Seven votes are required because the nominee is not a resident of the City of Ann Arbor.

  • Robin Stephens nominated to the Human Rights Commission.

Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on tomorrow’s 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 (19-1010) Resolution Authorizing Road Improvement Charges for 685 S. Wagner Rd. ($1,283.85)

CA-2 (19-1011) Resolution Authorizing Storm Sewer Improvement Charges for 2945 Devonshire ($3,728.09)

CA-3 (19-1012) Resolution Authorizing Trunkline Storm Sewer Improvement Charges for 2250 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. ($49,884.85)

CA-4 (19-1079) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with Resource Exploration, LLC for Priority Based Budgeting Software and Consulting. ($60,000.00)

CA-5 (19-1097) Resolution to Waive Penalties for Non-Filing of Property Transfer Affidavits

CA-6 (19-1148) Resolution No. 3 Establishing a Public Hearing for the Scio Church Improvements Project

CA-7 (19-1099) Resolution to Release an Easement for Sanitary Sewer at 115 N. First Street (8 Votes Required)

CA-8 (19-1108) Resolution to Accept a Sidewalk Easement at 2965 Kimberley Road from Marc Maxey (8 Votes Required)

CA-9 (19-0984) Resolution to Approve the License and Services Agreement with Tyler Technologies, Inc. for Energov, a Permitting, Licensing, Plan Review and Land Management Replacement Software ($1,489,684.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-10 (19-1094) Resolution to Approve Street Closure of Washington Street between State and Fletcher for the University of Michigan Center for Campus Involvement’s Festifall Event on Friday, September 6, 2019 from 5:00 AM until 11:00 PM

CA-11 (19-1141) Resolution to Close Catherine Street for the Ann Arbor Pride Celebration – August 2-4, 2019

CA-12 (19-1140) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Lambarth Property in Lodi Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $228,500.00 (8 Votes Required)

CA-13 (19-1092) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Dell Computers ($86,594.40) and a Purchase Order with CDW-Government, LLC ($57,691.88) ($144,286.28 Total)

CA-14 (19-1110) Resolution to Approve a Services Work Order with Microsoft Corporation to enter one year of Premier Support ($50,000.00)

CA-15 (19-1131) Resolution to Approve FY 20 Allocations to Non-Profit Entities for Human Services – $1,247,529.00 (General Fund)

CA-16 (19-1015) Resolution No. 3 Establishing a Public Hearing for the Single Lot Special Assessment – 1425 Pontiac Trail

CA-17 (19-0940) Resolution to Accept Road Certification and Transfer from Washtenaw County for E. Huron River Dr.

CA-18 (19-0913) Resolution to Proceed with a Road Reconfiguration and Safety Enhancement Project for Earhart Road, from US-23 to South Waldenwood Drive and Appropriate $34,500.00 and $40,500.00 Respectively from the General Fund and Alternative Transportation Fund Balances (8 Votes Required)

CA-19 (19-0956) Resolution to Proceed with a Road Reconfiguration for Traverwood Drive, from Huron Parkway to Plymouth Road

CA-20 (19-0985) Resolution to Proceed with a Road Reconfiguration for Green Road, from Burbank Drive to Plymouth Road

CA-21 (19-1106) Resolution to Amend the Purchase Order for Boone & Darr Inc. for On-Call Mechanical Services (Not to Exceed $35,000.00)

CA-22 (19-1096) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of Two Dual-Arm Automated Side-Loading Refuse Trucks from Fredrickson Supply, LLC. (Sourcewell – $756,560.26)

CA-23 (19-1104) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of a 2019 Caterpillar Forklift from Fraza Forklift (Sourcewell Bid – $44,467.00)

CA-24 (19-0995) Resolution to Approve an Increase to the Purchase Order with Shrader Tire & Oil for the Purchase of Heavy Equipment/Truck Tires and Tire Repair Services (Not to Exceed $15,000.00)

CA-25 (19-1023) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Sodium Hexametaphosphate (SHMP) for Water Treatment Plant Services from Carus Corporation, Bid No. ITB-4582 (estimated $34,600.00/year)

CA-26 (19-1024) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Liquid Oxygen for Water Treatment Plant Services from Metro Welding Supply Corporation, Bid No. ITB-4581 (estimated $96,000.00/year)

CA-27 (19-1025) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) for Water Treatment Plant Services from Carbon Activated, Bid No. ITB-4580 (estimated $950,400.00)

CA-28 (19-1069) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) for Water Treatment Services from Matheson Tri-Gas Inc., ITB-4583 (estimated $70,000.00/year)

CA-29 (19-1048) Resolution to Approve Bulk Chemical Purchases for Sodium Hypochlorite (JCI Jones – approximately $119,900.00/year), Hydrofluosilicic Acid (Univar- approximately $22,304.00/year), Pebble Quicklime (Graymont – approximately $715,000.00/year) and Ferric Chloride (PVS Technologies – approximately $50,320.00/year) for the Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants (estimated $901,428.00/year)

CA-30 (19-1103) Resolution to Approve Amendment Number 1 to Services Agreement with Aptim Environmental and Infrastructure, LLC. (APTIM) for the Solid Waste Resources Management Plan and Appropriate Funds from Solid Waste Fund Fund Balance ($24,250.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-31 (19-1102) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Inner City Contracting, LLC for the Landfill Scale and Entrance Improvements Project ($1,598,500.00, Bid No. ITB-4575)

CA-32 (19-0851) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with Allied Building Service Company of Detroit, Inc. not to exceed $51,590 for Construction of Evidence Room at Fire Station #6, 1881 Briarwood Circle, Per MiDEAL Contract # 00641 (8 Votes Required)

CA-33 (19-0889) Resolution to Approve Transfer of Purchase Approval from Phoenix Safety Outfitters, LLC to Douglass Safety Systems, LLC for Fire Department Personal Protective Firefighting Turnout Gear for Four Years ($220,000.00)

CA-34 (19-0996) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Ann Arbor SPARK for Economic Development Services ($75,000.00)

CA-35 (19-0997) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Governmental Consultant Services, Inc. for Lobbying Services ($48,000.00)

CA-36 (19-1076) Resolution to Amend Ann Arbor City Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 (8 Votes Required)

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 (19-0957) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 8:513, 8:516, 8:517, 8:519, 8:525, 8:528, and 8:530 of Chapter 105 (Housing Code) of Title VIII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-19)
Penalty provisions in the housing code would increase from a maximum fine of $500 to a maximum fine of $1000. What was previously a misdemeanor will now be a civil infraction.

PH-2/B-2 (19-0983) An Ordinance to Repeal Chapter 87 (Recreation, Amusements and Games) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-18)
Title VII Chapter 87 is repealed as obsolete, because recreational activities such as pinball parlors, dance halls, and pool rooms are no longer specifically licensed.

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 (19-0957) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 8:513, 8:516, 8:517, 8:519, 8:525, 8:528, and 8:530 of Chapter 105 (Housing Code) of Title VIII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-19)
This is the same as PH-1 above.

B-2 (19-0983) An Ordinance to Repeal Chapter 87 (Recreation, Amusements and Games) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-18)
This is 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 approval. If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting, where it will also be subject to a public hearing.

C-1 (19-1137) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11 (Risk Fund) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
City liabilities such as worker’s compensation, certain legal claims, and other employee benefits are currently paid out of the Risk Fund. This amendment codifies that practice as well as some changes that would maintain adequate funding, allow investment without Board of Insurance approval, increase allowable awards by the Board of Insurance without Council approval (from $5,000 up to $10,000), adjust the timing of budgets to comply with the charter, and empower third party claims administrators to pay claims without Board of Insurance or City approval.

C-2 (19-1138) An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:292 of Chapter 13 (Special Assessments) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
City expenses related to specific property lots (e.g. nuisance abatement, inspections, etc.) are transferred to tax rolls as special assessments if unpaid. This amendment clarifies that the service units (rather than the Chief Financial Officer) send notifications to relevant parties and the City Clerk may designate notice to other individuals (currently, the deputy treasurer).

C-3 (19-1139) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 1:311, 1:316, 1:317, 1:319, and 1:324 in Chapter 14 (Purchasing, Contracting and Selling Procedure) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
Service area administrators (rather than the Chief Financial Officer) would be empowered to approve contracts as to substance and certify the availability of budget. The City Administrator would determine situations where bidding and solicitation of contracts is not practical or of no advantage. These “no bid” contracts currently require authorization by Council (this amendment removes that requirement).

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 (19-1147) Resolution to Appoint Anan Ameri to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC)
Anan Ameri will be appointed to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC) to fill a vacancy from Commissioner Moore.

DC-2 (19-1189) Resolution to Approve the City’s Constituent Membership in the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA)
The City would pay $5,000 to become a constituent member of the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRMMA) with Ann Arbor Township, the City of Dexter, Pittsfield Charter Township, the City of Saline, the Township of Scio, the City of Ypsilanti, and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti.

DC-3 (19-1203) Resolution to Exercise a Right of First Refusal to Purchase 1146 South Maple Road for $260,000.00 (8 Votes Required)
The City has a right of first refusal on 1146 South Maple, a township island adjacent to Hansen Park and the Hickory Way affordable housing project. City staff does not recommend use of the property for park purposes but Avalon housing has expressed its desire to acquire it from the City for the development of affordable housing. Cost effective extension of the public sewer is possible via the current public sewer construction at the Hickory Way project.

DS-1 (19-0881) Resolution No. 2 – Dhu Varren Road Sidewalk Project – Special Assessment
Council previously approved (7/2/18) the preparation of plans for this project which includes the construction of sidewalks on both sides of Dhu Varren Road, from Omlesaad Drive to Nixon Farm developments. Dhu Varren would re-align to accommodate the new sidewalks and preserve existing bike lanes, boulder retaining walls, and landscaping. This resolution approves the total estimated cost of $852,409.60. A large number of property owners will be specially assessed for a total of $83,159.71 (individual assessments are between $123.20 and $946.55). An additional $578,420.80 of federal grant money and $190,829.09 of local millage funds will cover the rest of the cost.

DS-2 (19-1166) Resolution No. 3 Establishing a Public Hearing for the Dhu Varren Improvements Project
There will be a public hearing on the Dhu Varren Road Sidewalk Project at the next Council meeting (7/15/19). See DS-1.

Additional thoughts…

When I write up these newsletters, I don’t summarize items on the consent agenda, but this week’s meeting has me re-thinking that practice. The upcoming consent agenda is extremely long (36 items) and includes a number of issues that will almost certainly be pulled for discussion. A few big ticket items landed on this week’s consent agenda as well as several road reconfigurations (mostly in Ward 2). I anticipate a long meeting on Monday.

Examining previous Ann Arbor City Council agendas (as posted on Legistar), I found that there has been a dramatic increase in consent agenda items in the past few years. Prior to 2016, only budget items less than $100,000 could be included on the consent agenda. This rule was changed on December 7, 2015. Our current rules do not include this dollar amount threshold for inclusion on the regular agenda; now, any resolution or ordinance can be included on the consent agenda if it is “considered routine.” 

Ann Arbor City Council number of items Jan 2014 to June 2019

There were over twice as many consent agenda items per year in 2016/2017/2018 (about 340/year) than there were in 2014/2015 (about 150/year). The length of this year’s consent agendas appear to be increasing at an even faster rate. It is concerning to me because this is the part of the agenda where approval is expected to happen without any discussion at all.

I believe that pulling things off the consent agenda is an appropriate thing to do when an item represents a large expense in the budget or an issue that will have a very direct impact on residents. City Council should be having public discussion of those agenda items. There is a certain amount of communication that happens ahead of or outside of our council meetings, either informally in conversation with staff or in the public record of our questions to the agenda. However, our televised meetings are often the most accessible place for residents to hear public debate and observe how Council weighs important decisions.

In between rain storms, I hope everyone is finding ways to enjoy this summer season in town— there’s so much going on! In just the last 48 hours, I’ve enjoyed the peonies at the Arb, the annual Green Fair, and the Juneteenth celebration. If you ever see me out and about, please say hello! I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you, hear your concerns, and answer questions.

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson