Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (October 15, 2022)

Oct 15, 2022 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

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 regular agenda is very short, just two items. Included on our Consent Agenda is additional funding toward public engagement activities related to an Unarmed Crisis Response Program (CA-15). At our last City Council meeting, leaders from the City’s Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC) expressed concerns about where the process of public engagement was falling short. This additional funding appears to address some of their concerns. You can read ICPOC’s communication to City Council (from our 10/3/22 Council agenda) here:

A2ELNEL coffee hours Oct 15 2022

Coffee Hours
Sunday October 16th 3:00pm
I hold coffee hours Sunday afternoons before City Council meetings. This week my coffee hours are at York (1928 Packard Street)

City Council Regular Meeting
Monday October 17th 7:00pm
Council Meetings are in person at City Council chambers. Public commentary is available either in person or via phone/Zoom – see the Legistar link for details. 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.

City Council Voting Chart for October 3, 2022
The voting chart I made for our most recent Council meeting. Update for October 3, 2022
My summary of agenda items of interest from our most recent Council meeting, along with articles I’ve written, articles published on MLive, links to Legistar, and CTN’s YouTube video.

South Maple Road Lane Shift (Oct 17 – Nov 4, 2022)
Beginning Monday, Oct 17th, southbound South Maple Road traffic will be shifted between Commerce Blvd and Pauline Blvd.

Speed Management Program Open Houses (Oct 19, 22, 26 2022)
City staff have been working with a consulting team in the development of a speed management program. As part of this effort, the city will conduct three open house events to discuss the purpose of the program, the process development, and provide information on the different types of tools that could be used to reduce speeds on major streets. All users of the transportation system are encouraged to participate.

Voters Not Insiders
At our last Council meeting, the Mayor and a majority of Council Members rejected a resolution to put a ballot question to voters in November 2023 to establish nonpartisan elections for City elected offices, as is the practice in all but two other communities in Michigan.

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 October 17, 2022 7:00pm

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

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-1 (22-1719) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – October 17, 2022
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 (22-1610) Appointments – Confirmations
These mayoral nominations were presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Chris Allen – Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority Board of Directors
  • Thressa Nichols – Downtown Development Authority
  • Steven Brummer – Downtown Development Authority
  • Danielle Vaughn – Downtown Development Authority

MC-2 (22-1662) Nominations and Appointments for October 17, 2022
These mayoral nominations are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.

  • James Downing – Housing and Human Services Advisory Board
  • James Daniel – Housing and Human Services Advisory Board
  • Sarah Peitzmeier – Human Rights Commission

MC-3 (22-1713) Resolution to Appoint Brandon Bond to the Human Rights Commission (7 Votes Required)
This mayoral nomination is being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. Seven votes are required because “the appointee is not a registered elector of the City of Ann Arbor”.

  • Brandon Bond – Human Rights Commission

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. 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 (22-1621) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Weiss Construction Co., LLC in the amount of $1,910,734.00 for the Valve and Finished Water Tank & Reservoir Improvements Project (CRFP 22-53)

CA-2 (22-1609) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Professional Services Agreement with NTH Consultants, Ltd. for Barton Dam Right Embankment Remediation ($214,102.47, contract total $803,507.77)

CA-3 (22-1577) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Geosyntec Consultants of Michigan, Inc. for the Barton and Superior Hydroelectric Dams FERC Ninth Part 12D Inspections and Other Related Engineering Services – RFP No. 22-58 ($ 100,000.00), and to Appropriate $75,000.00 from the General Fund Balance (8 Votes Required)

CA-4 (22-1556) Resolution to Approve Professional Services Agreements with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc., AECOM Great Lakes, Inc. and WSP Michigan Inc. for As-needed Transportation Engineering Services (Estimated $450,000.00 Annually)

CA-5 (22-1155) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of Real Property Located at 302 Mulholland Ave in Fee Title for $108,300.00 Plus Costs Not to Exceed $20,000.00 and to Appropriate Funding from the Stormwater Fund ($128,300.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-6 (22-1633) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Miller Boldt Inc. for On-Call HVAC Services (Not to Exceed $300,000.00) RFP #22-68

CA-7 (22-1627) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of Direct Current Fast Charging Equipment from ChargePoint Inc. and to Appropriate Funding from the Fleet Services Fund Balance (Sourcewell – $151,880.00) (8 Votes Required)

CA-8 (22-1569) Resolution to Accept a Public Access Easement at 1200 Broadway from Morningside Broadway, LLC (8 Votes Required)

CA-9 (22-1570) Resolution to Accept an Easement for Public Right-of-Way at 1200 Broadway from the Morningside Broadway, LLC (8 Votes Required)

CA-10 (22-1571) Resolution to Accept a Water Main Easement at 1200 Broadway from Morningside Broadway, LLC (8 Votes Required)

CA-11 (22-1659) Resolution to Approve Three-Year Contract with Thomson Reuters for HighQ Collaborative Document Management Software Licenses and Implementation ($152,760.00)

CA-12 (22-1620) Resolution to Become a Low Income Household Water Assistance Program Partner and Execute the Provider Participation Agreement

CA-13 (22-1666) Resolution Recognizing the Huron High School Parent Teacher Organization (PTSO) as a Civic Nonprofit Organization Operating in Ann Arbor for the Purpose of Obtaining a Charitable Gaming License

CA-14 (22-1675) Resolution to Authorize an Agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan / OptumRx for Pharmacy Benefit Management Services Effective January 1, 2023 ($8,964,668)

CA-15 (22-1652) Resolution to Approve Amendment One to Contract with Public Sector Consultants for Public Engagement Activities Related to the Unarmed Crisis Response Program ($5,000)

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.

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 (22-1711) Resolution to Approve Change Order 2 with Gerace Construction Company, Inc. for the 2022 Bandemer Park Bridge Repairs and Renovations Project (RFP 22-18, $84,208.00 Increase) (8 Votes Required)

A change order will add an additional $84,208 to the contract for repair and renovation of the Bandemer Park Bridge. More deterioration was recently identified and more steel repairs are needed. With approval of this change order, the total contract cost will be $607,509.

DC-2 (22-1749) Resolution Regarding Consistency of Corporate Expression of Values and Corporate Action
This resolution is the result of advocacy led by the Defend Black Voters Coalition. You can read more about the coalition here:

In response to anti-democratic efforts to suppress voting, a multi-racial coalition is working to highlight and underline the hypocrisy of corporate entities that profess support for democracy and racial justice while funding legislators who work against those values. For instance, some corporations have helped fund the legislators behind the “Secure MI Vote” initiative, which is an attack on the freedom of Black and working class people to vote. This resolution calls on corporations to align their publicly stated values with their corporate political spending.

A version of this resolution was approved by the Wayne County Commission this summer. The resolution approved by Wayne County can be found here:

A version of this resolution was more recently on an agenda for Michigan State University Trustees but withdrawn. You can read about that here:

The resolution in DC-2 includes new terms, specific to Ann Arbor: the City Administrator would be directed to report on the feasibility of including an evaluation of a potential vendor’s political activities in the City’s procurement policies.

Additional thoughts…

Residents in the Lawton neighborhood have reached out to me with concerns about a proposal to remove street parking on Seventh, south of Scio Church Road. For anyone unfamiliar: a City project to replace a water main in this area (Seventh/Greenview) includes plans for traffic calming and expansion of biking infrastructure.

On September 13, 2022, City staff led a public engagement meeting and presented details of the Seventh/Greenview project as well as various options/proposals for curb bump-outs and bike lanes. You can watch that meeting and staff presentation here:

At their meeting on September 21. 2022, the City’s Transportation Commission discussed the Greenview/Seventh project. Staff presented their recommendation for designated bike lanes on both sides of Seventh (Scio Church Road to Lawton Elementary) that would meet the Transportation Plans and All Ages and Abilities Guidelines, while preserving both travel lanes and on-street parking. You can watch that Staff presentation here (time stamp: 21:48)

After the Staff presentation, Mayoral appointed members of the Transportation Commission approved their own recommendation: remove on-street parking on one side of Seventh to create buffered, protected bike lanes. Their discussion can be found here (time stamp 42:52).

The meeting minutes describe discussion of this issue:

From the minutes:

Commissioner questions and comments:

  • Crosswalk at Scio Church service drive and Greenview are in need for improvement.
  • Vertical elements and parking; posted speed limit; current parking usage
  • Some residents have reported concerns in regards to the speeds, despite of the fact that we do not posses such speed date; posted speed limit; what is the need to keep the parking?
  • Speeding is a problem; road is wide; Seventh north of Scio has buffered bike lanes and looking for consistency;
  • Are the driveways in this area bigger, and if so are they capable of supporting multiple cars?
  • Driveways are large; concern about riding in the door zone; don’t want to maintain on-street parking
  • Not a lot of cyclists in the area; counts of cyclists
  • Project that leads to a school and a protected bike lane is most appropriate. There is a lot of traffic at drop-off and pick-up. There is a mandate for aggressive safety improvements and we should not compromise.

A motion was made by Wanninkhof, seconded by Houk, to remove parking on one side in the project area in favor of an all ages and abilities protected bike lane. The motion was approved by the Commission and forwarded to the City Council and should be returned by 11/10/2022. On a voice vote, the Chair declared the motion carried.

A motion was made by Brovan, to remove parking on both sides in favor of an all ages and abilities protected bike lane. The motion failed for lack of second.

During the meeting, the Chair of the Transportation Commission explained:

I don’t understand why we are prioritizing private vehicle storage on public land for a handful of landowners over the safety of all of the people who could potentially be travelling this route by bike … I think it’s clear from the results of the most recent City Council elections that we have at this point a mandate for really aggressive safety improvements city-wide. Not only is it in our transportation plan but we now have chosen leaders who have said this is what they will do for us and that mandate is not ever going to be visible if you focus just on the people who own property adjacent to a specific project. Like, there’s always going to be less support among those people but if we keep making this compromise every time we will never get the kind of robust all ages and abilities network that we say that we want, that we have voted to fund, that we have elected the people that said they’re going to do it and if we keep deferring to a hand full of property owners, like, what are we doing?

I appreciate that these are the kind of City decisions where residents hope that their needs, concerns, and observations will be taken into account, i.e. these are situations where compromise might be appreciated. A decision to eliminate street parking for more than one block does require a resolution from City Council. This recommendation from the Transportation Commission may land on a Council agenda after my last meeting on November 10th. In that case, it would be voted on by your newly elected representatives.

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson