Comments on: May 19, 2014: Council Live Updates it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Wed, 28 May 2014 23:02:09 +0000 I wonder whether that discount is a nicer way of saying that you will be charged a fee if you pay the bill after it is due. There must have been an original policy/operational reason for the way it is set up.

Given the way our rates are now structured and how this affects affordability of living in Ann Arbor, I wouldn’t be in favor of eliminating the discount unless this means we really are not paying the full cost of providing the service. Also, how would the additional cash be used? To expand service further into the townships? To subsidize developers who are building high-demand buildings in the downtown and require more capacity? I wish that we had a citizen advisory board to examine these water utilities issues. I gather that it is under the purview of the Environmental Commission, but I doubt that they examine the financial arrangements and equity issues.

By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Wed, 28 May 2014 22:15:10 +0000 I just finished paying our Ann Arbor water bill. Every time I pay this bill I’m struck by the very substantial discount of 10% that is allowed, simply for paying the bill on time. Assuming almost everyone takes advantage of this discount, there must be an enormous amount of revenue that the City is not collecting.

Since by law, our bills are required to match the actual cost of providing the service (otherwise they are considered a tax), then any discount applied must be causing an operational deficit. Therefore, as long as this discount exists there will always be a revenue shortfall regardless of how high rates go.

Instead of raising rates across the board every year, how about simply reducing this on-time payment discount instead? I, for one, would be just as motivated to pay on time by a 1-2% discount or even no discount, but a small penalty for late payment.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Tue, 20 May 2014 13:10:34 +0000 I am somewhat exasperated by the unanimous direction to the City Administrator to present a report by September 30 on alternatives to street funding. This must have been an easy vote for a fatigued Council but does not recognize the complexity of the transportation funding issue. Fortunately we have a very competent City Administrator and I hope that he will not have to expend too much of his time sorting out the threads of an ongoing confusion at the Federal, state and county level on this problem.

I have been trying to keep up with the many different efforts to patch up our transportation funding with this long ungainly post (many updates). [link]

The Chronicle has been the major source of community information about the ongoing effort at the Washtenaw County (Board of Commissioners) level. The BOC has now set a public hearing on May 21 regarding a possible County road tax. [link] I would hope that a first step by the City Administrator will be to make the appropriate connections at the County level to learn how this tax will likely affect City of Ann Arbor taxpayers and residents, and the possible effect on Ann Arbor road funding.