Comments on: Mack Pool Could Close Earlier Than Expected it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dusty Lake Dusty Lake Mon, 11 May 2009 01:20:43 +0000 But the senior center is not closing, nor is Mack Pool. They both might close in the summer of 2010 but then the banks might be closed and/or a successful insurgency in Pakistan might bring on nuclear war. Who knows?

By: Flora Burke Flora Burke Sun, 10 May 2009 17:48:01 +0000 Am very sad that our city is considering some of the Parks and Recreation cuts that have been sugested. Two of them in particular have a disproportiant impact on local seniors, the proposed closing of Mack Pool and the Ann Arbor Senior Center so I would like to add another opinion from a senior who cares. First in regards to the Mack swimming programs. For seniors swimming and/or water exercise is often far more than a recreational outlet for seniors. As several people mentioned at the hearing it can be a real force for helping older people maintain and improve their movement and some for some for whom land exercise is now painful it may be their main
means of enabling them to get around with much less pain and more ease. I can testify to that although I use the County Recreation Center for that rather than Mack. However, in answer to remarks that Mack users could just go to that center I would suggest that that is probably not the best solution. The water classes there are already starting to be very crowded at many times of the day especially the day time classes favored by most seniors. Recently several members of my class at the Recreation Center were remarking about the need for more facilities to provide this service.

On the other issure regarding the Ann Arbor Senior Center I would again like to say that it is time for the community to recognize that the senior population of our area is growing and will continue to do so. Services like the ones provided by the center are still greatly needed. Senior centers provide wellness services for we older residents that can be
hard to find in other places. However, I would hate to see lower income seniors excluded from these programs because they can’t afford them. It does seem that small dues might be a good idea. One other area center where I’m going to take a class charges $5 for instance.

In any case I do urge the commission to reconsider cutting these vital program. Before you realize it you may be an older person and I would hope that when that happens you will
think of that as being a good thing Sustaining programs that enrich the lives of the more vulnerable of our citizens is one way to make that happen.

By: Ted Ancil Ted Ancil Tue, 28 Apr 2009 01:53:44 +0000 I have to agree with Two Cents. Shoot, the bottom has fallen out of the economy, not nationally but in Michigan for sure and Parks are still king in A2. Every city is hurting and though the City has held it off for a long time, the loss of the Pfizer taxes next year may be the tipping point.

The mayor appoints Parks activists to the PAC and he makes sure the parks get their fair share. This is all well and good to a point. I love parks as much as the next Arborite but enough is enough.

The mayor is true to his roots but I gotta tell you, we have too many parks already. For sure we don’t need any more. They should spend the rest of the Greenbelt and Parks millage in the townships where there is no maintenance involved.

By: LauraB LauraB Mon, 27 Apr 2009 22:39:49 +0000 Ms. Sidney:

I think there is a good group working on PAC and they have been doing a good job. But as I recall no one on city council voted to charge the parks millage for police services. The administrator did have it in his budget but city council took it out.

Where I disagree with you is on the myth that council went back on their promise to voters regarding the parks millage. I looked into this issue at the time and I have a fairly good memory of it. I can understand how you might believe this because if one only looks at the budget numbers and not at the actual, end of year numbers, that is what it looks like.

The story as I remember it:

City Council passed a resolution saying they would not cut the General Fund contribution to parks by any more than the average of other general fund operations if the parks millage package passed.

The parks millage included a slight increase mostly to “re-set” the Headley reductions that had taken a toll over the years.

The millage passed and if one only looked at the budget that was passed the year before, it appeared they went back on their promise with the very next budget. But, the prior year general fund budget for parks (on which the promise was based) included $450,000 in revenue that never materialized in the actual numbers.

It included a deal with the schools ($250,000) to pay the city for maintenance, but it never happened. There was another $200 K (?) projected as fee revenue that never came in. So, looking at the actuals, $450 K never came in so council used the actuals as a base and passed a budget.

Then, later that year the budget was amended to add another $276,000 and parks actually came out ahead.

So again, I understand how someone might believe the promise was broken but only if you don’t look at the actual $$ that came in as parks revenue that year.

Hope this helps.

By: my two cents my two cents Mon, 27 Apr 2009 22:22:02 +0000 Karen – When I voted for the parks millage, I was asked “Should the city spend a certain amount of money (the millage) to update some much needed improvements in the park system. I said yes.

I was NOT asked, “If the economy tanks and the city needs to make drastic cuts everywhere, should the parks budget not be cut, while everything else is slashed?” I would have voted NO along with many other people.

I thought it was unfair last year when the council was bullied into not cutting the parks budget and I hope that the city council holds strong this year.

Just because a millage was voted in during “good” times does not mean the council cannot use their common sense to deal with the budget according to today’s economy.

By: Bruce Bruce Mon, 27 Apr 2009 20:52:40 +0000 Matt, I went to the link you provided, but could not find any salaries listed. It might be interesting to find out the salary and benefits packages of the Parks and Recreation “administrators.”

Click here for a list of names of Parks and Recreation “administrators.”

It’s my understanding that some of these salaries are in the six figure range. 17-year old kids in high school make out lifeguard schedules, and I doubt they are being paid six figures, not including the benefits package. Sign me up for one of these jobs!

By: Karen Sidney Karen Sidney Mon, 27 Apr 2009 20:46:01 +0000 PAC is doing an excellent job defending our parks system despite difficult circumstances. They were successful in preventing the proposed transfer of $250,000 from the parks millage to the police. Unfortunately, they were only partially successful in holding council to its promise to voters, before the new parks millage was passed, that the increased parks millage would not mean bigger cuts in parks general fund spending compared to other items in the general fund.

Parks is getting hit again in this budget cycle and PAC is told they must decide which parks programs will be cut. PAC is not told of funds with excess revenue that could be used to prevent these cuts. One of these funds is the economic development fund, which was set up to pay for Google parking. Since the money in that fund came from the general fund, the excess can be transferred back to the general fund to pay for parks programs or any other general fund expense. According to the 2008 audit, the city spent $219,875 less than expected for Google parking. The 2009 budget will also show unspent money, which I estimate at 142,500. I encourage people to let council know how you think this money should be spent.

By: Matt Hampel Matt Hampel Mon, 27 Apr 2009 15:40:13 +0000 Well, I found a partial list of salaries from, erm, 1892.

By: Ted Ancil Ted Ancil Mon, 27 Apr 2009 14:42:24 +0000 No Nepotism? I didn’t think so.

My knowledge of A2 top staffers is limited to two. Sue McCormick and Barnett Jones seem top notch.

Salaries? I bet if you compare them to other leading cities they are right in line.

Causes: Maybe a major recession that has been in Michigan for years so the state has been cutting funds to cities for years. Or the city having 40% of the real estate off the tax roles or the decline in property tax revenue. Or the ever rising cost of health care that out-paces inflation by two or three to one. Now the UM takes another 5% of the property tax revenues away. But the city is still doing way better than the county govt. They have some really deep problems.

The city does not have a deficit, they probably have a surplus but they have to balance the budget for next year so they are planning cuts. If you followed the recent meetings they also have a low debt ratio and a very good bond rating compared to other cities.

I don’t think the new court house is affecting the operating budget. The DDA put up a bunch of money and the rent they will save makes the bond payments. But I don’t know what else the city would have done. Nobody ever came up with another solution to the courts having to move, not one that worked.

It always seems funny to me how self centered people in A2 are. Its as if they city is an island. Does anybody read the Free Press or Det. News? If you did you see that Two Cents is right. A2 is doing better than the rest. Or look at the county, why aren’t people upset over the way they misjudged the property tax revenues, they are getting ready to make massive cuts.

By: My two cents My two cents Mon, 27 Apr 2009 12:49:23 +0000 David – Most of what people are stating regarding the budget and salaries is, in my opinion, overblown rhetoric.

The city of Ann Arbor is one of the best financially run cities (if not the best) in the state. While it is not perfect, nothing ever is. Just because the city needs to invest in a new police/courts building NOW, this fact does not make it the cause of other programs being cut. The PD/courts building was purposely saved for, the program cuts are due to the decline in property tax revenue. A down payment that has been saved for a new infrastructure project should not be diverted to intangible public programs. In my opinion THAT would be highly irresponsible.

Also, please keep in mind that there is a difference between a necessity and a luxury. If we have 4 pools, closing one is not detrimental to the community. I actually think this is the smart way to make cuts (by looking at each line item and seeing the impact of the cut) versus cutting the same percentage from each department. Of course it sucks if you happen to be the person who is affected by the cut.