The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority manages the city’s parking system under a contract last revised in 2005 to extend through 2015.
In early summer 2010, committees from the DDA board and the Ann Arbor city council set out a schedule of monthly meetings to renegotiate that contractual parking agreement.
Susan Pollay, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, takes notes at the end of the table an hour and a half into the July 12 meeting of committees from the city council and the DDA. On the white board behind her is the timeline worked out by the committees that led to the scheduling of additional meetings. (Photo by the writer.)
Faced with a target of Oct. 31, 2010 for a completed contract, the two groups – known as the mutually beneficial committees – have now increased the frequency of their meetings to twice-monthly. At the June 14 meeting, it was agreed that staff members from both the city and the DDA would attend future committee meetings, and that staff would prepare a matrix of policy points related to the parking system.
But at the July 12 meeting of the two committees, the matrix of policy points had not yet been prepared and no city staff were present. Susan Pollay, executive director of the DDA, attended the July 12 meeting as the DDA staff representative. And Pollay led the committees through a calculation backward from the Oct. 31, 2010 target date, which showed that an outline of the agreement needed to be ready by the very next monthly meeting – then scheduled for Aug. 9.
When committee members apparently teetered on the edge of abandoning the Oct. 31 target, Pollay gave them a nudge, tilting them back to terra firma. She was prepared to work with a sense of urgency, if that is a priority, Pollay told them – but if they already wanted to push past the deadline, then she was content to take it easy, too.
Committee members responded by deciding to add extra meetings to the schedule. Besides scheduling issues, the July 12 meeting also focused on: (i) contractual aspects of the current parking agreement that had possibly been overlooked in recent city council decision-making; and (ii) the appropriate length of the term and monetary consideration in the new contract.
On July 26, the two committees held an extra meeting, this time joined by Sue McCormick, the city’s public services area administrator. The task of creating the parking policy matrix had been taken on by Pollay, who had then worked with McCormick to produce a chart that included the city’s recommendations along with DDA suggestions.
The next regular meeting – the second Monday of the month – falls on Aug. 9, with an additional meeting planned for Aug. 23. [Full Story]