Fourth Ward Newsletter (November 18, 2018)

Nov 18, 2018 | Newsletter

Hello, Ward 4 neighbors!

Below is a summary of the issues coming before Ann Arbor City Council this Monday, November 19th.  Before the meeting, there will be a public reception in the lobby of city hall to celebrate the incoming City Council members (including me!).  I hope you can join us!

Ann Arbor New Council Reception Nov 19 2018

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:

Volunteer Boards and Commissions  Membership on these 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)

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. 

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday November 19, 2018 7:00pm

The full agenda in PDF format (along with links to each proposed ordinance/resolution) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website here:

If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me.

C-1  An Ordinance to Amend Section 2:22a of Chapter 27 (Water) and Section 2:42.2 of Chapter 28 (Sanitary Sewer) of Title II of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Connection Requirements)
This item is relevant to those residents living in township islands, who can anticipate being annexed into the city.  Residents recently expressed concerns at City Council about the financial hardship of water/sewer connection fees, the relatively short timeline between written notification of annexation and required payment. This amendment effectively extends that timeline by 18 months.

DC-1  Resolution to Direct the City Administrator to Evaluate the Feasibility for Participation in the AARP Age Friendly Communities Program
City staff will study the feasibility of participating in the AARP program, which considers the needs of older residents (e.g. mobility, aging in place), in light of our increasing urbanization.

DC-2  Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Develop Recommendations for a Citizen Tree Planting Program
City staff will consider how to reduce costs for residents wanting to plant trees in a public right-of-way.

DC-3 Resolution to Waive the Fee Requirement for Freedom of Information Act Request 1636
This waives a significant FOIA fee for Ryan Stanton (MLive), who is requesting information about galvanized water service lines in need of replacement.

DC-4  Resolution to Fund Pilot of Net Zero Energy Affordable Housing Initiative and Electric Vehicle Chargers (8 Votes Required)
This would allocate $215,000 to fund two of the seven core areas identified by the Office of Sustainability and Innovations.   The money would come from the general fund.  Because this is a budget amendment, it requires eight votes from Council.

DC-5  Motion to Reconsider the November 8, 2018 Vote that Defeated the Resolution to Conduct a Survey of Ann Arbor Residents to Assess Community Preferences Regarding the City’s Spending of County Mental Health & Public Safety Millage Proceeds (File 18-1909)
City staff will design and conduct a public survey of community preferences re: allocating the unrestricted funds resulting from the County Mental Health & Public Safety millage.  (This was previously voted down by City Council.)

DC-6  Resolution of Support for a State Crosswalk Law
The City of Ann Arbor would ask our state representatives to incorporate elements of our local crosswalk standards into the state crosswalk standards as part of the Michigan Vehicle Code.

DS-1  Resolution No. 1 – Prepare Plans and Specifications for the Fuller Road Sidewalk – Sidewalk Special Assessment Project
City staff will plan for Fuller Road sidewalk improvements near Huron High School, in anticipation of moving a crosswalk further west (away from the current location near the Gallup Park entrance).

DS-2  Resolution to Amend the Office of Sustainability and Innovations FY 2019 Budget and Appropriate Funds for New and the Scaling-Up of Existing Climate and Sustainability Programs in the City of Ann Arbor (8 Votes Required)
This would allocate $315,000 to address all seven core areas identified by the Office of Sustainability and Innovations.  The money would come from the general fund and be repaid from the unrestricted funds returned from the County Mental Health & Public Safety Millage rebate.  Because this is a budget amendment, it requires eight votes from Council.  (At the last Council meeting, this resolution fell short of eight votes.)

Ann Arbor City Council consent agenda Nov 19, 2018

Consent Agenda
I appreciate that some residents might not be familiar with or eager about navigating Legistar to see upcoming agendas, so 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.  Obviously, discussing each and every one would add hours to the meeting, but I encourage you to look at this list and offer suggestions to me about anything you would like to see pulled for discussion.

Additional thoughts

I have received about a hundred emails regarding the budget amendment for the Office of Sustainability and Innovations, i.e. climate change action. (Two-thirds of these emails came from out of state!) This past week, I have had the benefit of multiple conversations with local advocates for this funding, as well as orientation from the head of our Sustainability and Innovations department. I also understand that the two amendments proposed are actually additional funding, outside of the annual budget previously allocated (which is why they require eight votes from Council). Another consideration for me: City Council is meeting in the next month to plan future budget allocations for the coming fiscal year. I am hopeful about tomorrow’s discussion reaching consensus on the issue, but this is not the final verdict on funding for climate change action or our city’s commitment to addressing it.

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson