A2Council Meeting Summaries

Tag: Lobbying

Council Policy Agenda Committee: April 20, 2023

This is a recording I made of a Zoom audio meeting held on Tuesday, April 20, 2023 by the Ann Arbor Council Policy Agenda Committee. Video was not made available.

Council Policy Agenda Committee members audible in recording:

  • Deputy City Administrator John Fournier
  • CM Jen Eyer
  • CM Linh Song
  • Lobbyist from Dykema Gossett PLLC

This meeting included updates by a lobbyist from Dykema Gossett PLLC. In March 2022, City Council approved a contract for $120,000/year with Dykema Gossett PLLC for State and Federal Lobbying Services. (Legistar)

This is the Legistar link for the meeting: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1064296&GUID=63BA32EF-3588-48D6-B691-06C1FD4E1F79

Ann Arbor City Council: February 21, 2023

This Ann Arbor City Council meeting was held in person at City Hall. Members of the public can participate in public hearings and public comment either in person or via phone.

Mayor Taylor was absent
CM Briggs was absent
CM Song was absent

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Summary

APPROVED: A resolution directing a new beginning of collaboration with the University of Michigan for reconstruction of the East Medical Center Drive bridge at an added cost of $2,050,000. The City’s contribution will be $500,000. Construction will be delayed to 2024. (Legistar)

  • This resolution was added to the January 23, 2023 agenda in substitution for a construction contract that would have rehabilitated and widened the East Medical Center Drive bridge in the 2023 construction session. It was postponed twice before approval at this meeting.
  • In discussion on January 23, 2023, City Council added language to the resolution requiring physical barriers as part of the sidewalk design. At the February 21, 2023 meeting, this reference to barriers was removed by friendly amendment. City staff explained that such barriers could only be installed on one side, would not provide additional safety, and would cost over a million dollars to implement.
  • https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2023/02/ann-arbor-oks-compromise-for-michigan-medicine-bridge-widening.html

APPROVED: A grant application to the U.S Department of Energy will ask for funds to support a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) and design, installation, and testing of microgrids at Bryant, Main Street, and a not-yet-built development to be determined. The federal Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) grant program can award a maximum of $250 million with fifty percent local matching funds. The City department of Sustainability and Innovations Sustainability & Innovations plans to request $40 – $50 million, with the City providing the majority of matching funds with proceeds from a millage approved by voters in November 2022. (Legistar)

APPROVED: An agreement with University of Michigan for $450,000 will support water treatment services. As part of preparation for a new water treatment plant, the City will run a “pilot water treatment plant”: a smaller-scale production system, to test and validate the proposed treatment changes before detailed design and construction of the new facility. The approved agreement is a partnership allows faculty and students from the University of Michigan to provide operational assistance, sampling, laboratory testing, data collection, analysis and reporting services for the pilot plant. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Amendments of the City’s Non-Discrimination ordinance. This ordinance prohibits discrimination based on a number of identities/circumstances such as actual or perceived age, arrest record, color, disability, educational association, ethnicity, etc. As amended, language is to added to include use of a “government issued ID card” to this list. A government-issued ID card is defined in the ordinance: one that may be issued by a federal, state or local government, specifically Washtenaw County. The ordinance prohibits discrimination against someone for use of such cards, except where there is “reasonable grounds” for determining it is counterfeit/improper or where federal/state law or court order requires different identification. (Legistar)

APPROVED: An agreement with Elevate Energy for $300,000 will provide administration and distribution services for a Low-Income Sustainability Grant program. The grant program will support households below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) with up to $10,000 for improvements that support home comfort, safety and efficiency. (Legistar)

APPROVED: An Ordinance amendment to repeal and replace the whole of Chapter 19 (Tax Exemptions for Housing Projects). This Chapter allows property tax exemption for certain low-income housing projects, also known as a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes). Currently, the chapter allows tax exemptions for affordable housing projects priced at 60% Area Median Income (AMI). The new Chapter allows tax exemption for housing projects priced at 80% AMI. (Legistar)

APPROVED: By resolution, Council approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the Annex Group, which plans to acquire and develop 2050 Commerce Drive with 250 affordable homes, with an average household income at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). This project is newly eligible for PILOT due to final approval of the ordinance change in B-1 (see above). The changes in B-1 expand tax exemptions to housing projects for persons and families earning up to 80% of Area Median Income with a project average of 60% of Area Median Income. The housing project will be exempted from all ad valorem property taxes and shall pay an annual service charge in lieu of taxes equal to one dollar ($1.00) for each eligible housing unit in the housing project. (Legistar)

APPROVED: A resolution asking the City’s lobbyist to monitor, advocate for, and support common-sense gun safety legislation, including but not limited to, safe storage laws, universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, protection for domestic violence survivors, and restoration of local control over firearms on public property. Note: the possession of weapons or firearms in public places is governed by state law. (Legistar)

POSTPONED: Street closures scheduled for April 1, 2023 would have permitted the Monroe Street Fair to take place adjacent to the Hash Bash. For over twenty years, the Fair has traditionally been held in coordination with the Hash Bash, providing restrooms and space for attendees of the Hash Bash to congregate. Last year and this year, the U of M plans to host the Spring Game on the same day. The City’s Fire Chief and Interim Police Chief asked Council to reject the permit for the Monroe Street Fair, because the combination of all three events in close proximity were a safety concern, compromising emergency response time. Council postponed making a decision until the next meeting on March 6, 2023. (Legistar)

A2Council Update Video

A2ELNEL Voting Chart

Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for February 21, 2023 Part 1
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for February 21, 2023 Part 2
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for February 21, 2023 Part 3

Ann Arbor City Council: July 5, 2022

This Ann Arbor City Council meeting was held in person at City Hall. Members of the public can participate in public hearings and public comment either in person or via phone.

CM Grand was absent

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Summary

REMOVED: A Mayoral nomination to the Energy Commission – Knox Cameron – was removed from the agenda a few hours before the Council meeting. This nomination would have required seven votes for approval, because Mr. Cameron is not a registered elector in the City of Ann Arbor. This nomination was introduced by the Mayor at the 6/5/22 meeting. Final confirmation of this appointment was previously included and removed from the 6/21/22 agenda, when three Council Members (CM Grand, CM Hayner and CM Song) were absent.

APPROVED: A Redevelopment Brownfield Plan for 303 North Fifth and 312-314 Detroit will advance to the County for authorization. The plan will reimburse the developer for environmental-related activities totaling $2,674,011. The site is eligible for brownfield remediation due to the presence of Arsenic, barium, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc at levels greater than State-established criteria. (Legistar)

Two agenda items for funding and establishment of a Regional Drop-Off Station at Wheeler Service Facility

  • APPROVED: A grant agreement will provide $850,000 from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy in order to build a Regional Drop-Off Station (DOS) located at the Wheeler Service Facility. The DOS will be part of a complex that includes the City’s compost facility, the Materials Recovery Facility, and waste transfer station. The new full-service DOS will have an enclosed barn, a tip wall area, equipment storage, material processing areas, and household hazardous waste processing, among other features. Total cost for the DOS is estimated at $4,426,900, which will come from the Solid Waste Capital budget. Additionally, Washtenaw County Board of Public Works has committed $1,000,000 to this project (subject to approval by the County Board of Commissioners). (Legistar)
  • APPROVED: $255,490 professional services agreement with Resource Recycling Systems, Inc. for the design of the new Drop Off Station project. (Legistar)

APPROVED: The FY2023 City Council Legislative Policy Agenda includes “high” and “medium” priority policy goals as decided by the Council Policy Agenda Committee (CMs Briggs, Eyer, Griswold, Radina, Song). These goals will be given to the City’s lobbying firm. (Legistar)

  • “High” priority goals:

    • Elimination of racially restrictive property covenants
    • Restoration of State revenue sharing to a level commensurate with the needs of municipalities across the state
    • HB 4117, a change in state law that would give municipalities increased flexibility to set speed limits lower than the 85th percentile in corridors and also lower than 25 MPH
    • Inclusionary zoning practices and affordability incentives added to land development codes
  • “Medium” priority goals

    • Improved voter enfranchisement through the modification or elimination of term limits for state legislators
    • Federal and state funding for affordable housing
    • MDOT requirements to further define and consistently adhere to the Complete Streets and Vision Zero policies
    • Maximum funding level under the Michigan Fire Protection Grant Program and a similar program for Public Safety for the costs associated with police and emergency medical services
    • Funding to protect, develop, and upgrade water, wastewater, drainage, and natural area resources and systems
    • Federal, state, county, and private funds to advance infrastructure projects for transportation, transit, active transportation, and advanced mobility systems.

A2ELNEL Voting Chart

Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for July 5, 2022 Part 1
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for July 5, 2022 Part 2

Ann Arbor City Council: March 21, 2022

This Ann Arbor City Council meeting was held in person at City Hall. Members of the public can participate in public hearings and public comment either in person or via phone.

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Summary

APPROVED: A resolution asking that an employment contract be negotiated for Milton Dohoney Jr to be hired as a permanent City Administrator for the City of Ann Arbor. (Legistar)

APPROVED: The City will move forward with a list of recommendations to improve the City’s food procurement policies. The City will offer more nutritious and health-enhancing, ideally locally sourced, choices at City facilities. For City vending and event catering, the City will develop a directory of preferred restaurants, caterers, and other eating places that provide plant-based alternatives, support the local food system, and minimize wasteful packaging. The City will work with Washtenaw County Food Policy Council (WCFPC) and attend their meetings. An “A2ZERO Preferred” labeling system will be established to identify sustainable choices at vending machines, snack bars, and other City-operated points of purchase. (Legistar)

APPROVED: A contract for $120,000 with Dykema Gossett, PLLC will fund lobbying services at the state and federal level. This contract displaces a $48,000 contract for state lobbying services that were provided by GCSI (Governmental Consultant Services Inc) for the last 21 years. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Downtown streets will be closed to promote increased seating and sales capacity at local businesses during the warmer season. Main Street (William to Washington), West Liberty (Ashley to Main), and East Liberty (Main to Fourth) will be closed to vehicular traffic on Thursdays at 4 p.m. and through 6 a.m. on Mondays. West Washington (Ashley to Main) will be closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These closures may start as early as Thursday, May 5, 2022, and may continue as late as October 31, 2022. (Legistar)

A2ELNEL Voting Chart

Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for March 21, 2022 Part 1
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for March 21, 2022 Part 2

Ann Arbor City Council: May 17, 2021

This was the twentieth eighth Ann Arbor City Council meeting since Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency and stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting was held online via the Zoom application. Michigan Open Meetings Act changes effective April 1, 2021 require all Council Members to state their location.

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Summary

APPROVED: Juneteenth will be recognized and commemorated on the third Saturday in June, starting on June 19, 2021. The City of Ann Arbor will observe it the Friday before the holiday, with City Hall buildings closed in observance. (Legistar)

APPROVED: A Temporary Emergency Ordinance will regulate Third Party Delivery Service for so long as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders restrict indoor dining establishments. Regulations will limit a commission or delivery charge to no more than 15% of purchase price (unless a higher rate is agreed upon in exchange for additional service). Third party delivery services will be in violation of the ordinance if they post inaccurate or misleading information about an Ann Arbor restaurant or such restaurant’s menu. (Legistar)

APPROVED: The City Council Legislative Policy Agenda for FY22 articulates the values and goals driving advocacy at the state level in the interests of Ann Arbor. (Legistar)

APPROVED: Ann Arbor City Budget and Related Property Tax Millage Rates for Fiscal Year 2022. The budget proposed by the City Administrator was amended by Council to redirect funds in the following ways: (Legistar)

  • https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2021/05/ann-arbor-cuts-deer-cull-adds-funding-for-center-of-the-city-healthy-streets.html
  • AMENDMENT: Add $75,000 to City Attorney Office for succession planning for Stephen Postema.
  • AMENDMENT: Add $320,830 to fund Healthy Streets at S. Main and Packard, also add $33,143 to fund Healthy Streets on 34 local neighborhood streets.

  • AMENDMENT: Remove $120,000 funding for the deer cull and add to General Fund balance. Note that all of this money was distributed in amendments below.
  • AMENDMENT: Add $145,929 for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer. Funded from $20,000 General Fund balance (deer cull), $52,964 from Sustainability & Innovations (reductions in professional development, materials & supplies), $72,965 contributions from other city departments.

  • AMENDMENT: Add $40,000 for planning to support the Center of the City. Funded from General Fund balance (deer cull).
  • AMENDMENT: $200,000 for City Attorney Office for expert witnesses and public services litigation. Funded from $74,000 Water Supply System, $76,000 Sewage Disposal System, $50,000 Stormwater Sewer System.
  • AMENDMENT: Add $250,000 to fund traffic calming on major streets and other road treatments (curb extensions, centerline hardening, and slow turn wedges). Funded by removing $132,000 budgeted for street light replacements, removing $58,000 budgeted for pedestrian safety education, and using $60,000 from General Fund balance (deer cull).
  • AMENDMENT: Add $300,000 for “quick build” safety projects on major streets at focus corridors and intersections.
  • AMENDMENT: Remove $158,000 funding for Chief Strategy Executive in the Ann Arbor Police Department.
  • AMENDMENT: Add $76,690 to Parks and Recreation as part of the “Parks Fairness Resolution”, which increases the General Fund Parks & Recreation budget at the same percentage as the average General Fund overall budget percentage increase.

A2ELNEL Voting Chart

Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 17, 2021 Part 1
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 17, 2021 Part 2
Ann Arbor City Council Voting Chart for May 17, 2021 Part 3

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My name is Elizabeth Nelson, and I believe that your local government should be accessible and transparent. Since 2018 , I have sent out a newsletter before every Council meeting with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council, plus news and events of interest to Ann Arbor residents.

After each Council meeting, I create and post voting charts so that you can easily see how Council voted, and update this website with meeting summaries that include links to the City’s Legistar website, CTN’s YouTube video, and articles published on MLive.