Stories indexed with the term ‘Build America Bonds’

Ann Arbor Releases Bond Memo

After the Ann Arbor city council voted on March 17, 2014 to waive attorney-client privilege on a memo written by outside bond counsel, the city of Ann Arbor has provided the document to The Chronicle in response to a request made under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.  [.pdf of Aug. 9, 2012 Dykema memo]

The Chronicle has not yet reviewed the memo, which deals with private-use tests as applied to the Library Lane underground parking structure. The private-use limitations stem from the fact that the structure was financed with Build America Bonds. For additional background, see: “Column: Rocking Back on the Library Lot.”

Council Takes Steps on Library Lane Future

The question of how the top of the Library Lane underground parking structure in downtown Ann Arbor will eventually be used has taken some steps toward getting answered. The city council acted on two key related resolutions at its March 17, 2014 meeting.

Library Lane parking deck

The Library Lane parking deck is highlighted in yellow. The name “Library Lane” is based only on the proximity of the structure to the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library. The library does not own the structure or the mid-block cut-through. (Base image from Washtenaw County and City of Ann Arbor GIS services.)

The council’s meeting actually featured three items related to … [Full Story]

Council Waives Privilege on Bond Memo

A memo prepared by Dykema Gossett, the city of Ann Arbor’s outside bond counsel, will now be made public as a result of city council action taken on March 17, 2014.

The council voted over dissent from Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) – who is himself an attorney – to waive attorney-client privilege on the document, dated August 9, 2012. The memo apparently provides an analysis of the implications for use of the Library Lane parking structure, based on the Build America Bonds used to finance its construction. Facilities financed by such bonds carry with them private-use limitations.

The Chronicle has not yet been provided with a copy of the memo.

Taylor made a bid to amend the resolution so that it directed the city … [Full Story]

Column: Rocking Back on the Library Lot

Collectively, we residents of Ann Arbor are a little bit like an old man who sits in a rocking chair telling the same old stories over and over again to anyone who will listen. Before we start, we do not say: Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Because even then we would not stop.

Man in rocking chair.

This illustration is a mashup of a photo taken on July 12, 2012, the day of the grand opening of the Library Lane parking structure, and a photograph from the author’s family archives on which an original lyric is based: “I’m an old man, and I don’t care, I’m sitting here in my rockin’ chair, watching the mean old world go by …”

And so it is that we’ll talk about the nuisance of the deer herd in 2008 … and again in 2014. We’ll talk about slush puddles in the downtown in 2009 … and again in 2014.

We talk about those things not because we suffer from community-wide senility, but rather because they are issues that remain in some way unresolved.

And that is why we are again talking about the top of the Library Lane underground parking structure in downtown Ann Arbor. The project included not just the parking deck itself, but also streetscape improvements to Fifth and Division, other pedestrian improvements, and investments in foundations and other work to support future development – a total of about $59 million worth of stuff.

The bulk of that cost was financed through Build America Bonds. What are the implications of the BAB financing for the future use of the parking structure’s spaces? That’s the question prompting me to write this column. I’d like to orient the public to the city’s analysis of how those spaces can be allocated to private uses.

Related to that, a resolution to be placed on the city council’s March 17 meeting agenda by the council audit committee is good news. The resolution would waive attorney-client privilege on a document that I think will help clarify questions associated with those bonds.

But I want to fill in some background first. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. [Full Story]