The Ann Arbor city council has approved an allocation to address the needs that resulted from the severe winter weather.
The resolution, approved by the council at its May 19, 2014 meeting, allocates money from the fund balance reserves from three sources: $1.7 million from the major street fund, $638,000 from the local street fund, and $666,000 from the water fund. Those amounts include $461,171 from the state of Michigan.
According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, compared to last year there was a 36% increase in water main breaks and a 950% increase of broken water services. Compared to the previous two years winters, the 2013-14 winter had 272% more snow and a 450% increase in required plowing. That meant additional use of materials like ice-control salt, sand, cold-patch, pipe, repair clamps and fittings – in addition to higher-than-anticipated work hours and overtime, and increased equipment costs.
The work will include frozen service line repairs, pavement marking, and road surface repair. The work is not anticipated to be completed until well after June 30, 2014 – the end of the current fiscal year.
At a May 12 city council work session, public services area administrator Craig Hupy presented the council with some data on the age of the city’s piping system, saying that for the water pipes, those that were constructed in 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are more problematic than those built before and after that period. Still, he indicated that the city’s breakage rate was considered low for a system that is as old as Ann Arbor’s.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.