The Ann Arbor Chronicle » job cuts it's like being there Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ann Arbor City Council Gets Budget Preview Tue, 14 Apr 2009 12:45:30 +0000 Dave Askins At Monday night’s city council working session, city administrator Roger Fraser introduced a recommended budget for fiscal year 2010 (beginning July 2009)  of about $85 million, down from the almost $91 million budget in FY 2009. Declining revenues from property taxes, together with increasing contributions to the pension fund means that for FY 2010, the equivalent of 34 full-time positions at the city  would be eliminated, followed by 22 full-time positions in FY 2011. If implemented, the cuts would reduce the city workforce from 800 to 746 by 2011 – a number that has declined from a peak of 1,005 city workers in 2001.

A range of other recommendations include closing Mack pool for the summer, eliminating funding for the civic band and Project Grow, and increasing the water utility’s safety services fee by 4%.

The timeline for the budget’s adoption will include an April 14 town hall meeting at 7 p.m. at the CTN studios on South Industrial. That will be followed by public hearings on May 4, with council adopting a budget with any amendments on May 18. If council fails to act on the budget or to amend it by its second meeting in May, then per the city charter, the budget as submitted by the city administrator is automatically adopted.

The park advisory commission will hold a public hearing next Tuesday, April 21, on the recommendations related to parks, before voting on its recommendation.

The plan (not the budget per se) for FY 2011 will be adopted at the same time the FY 2010 budget is adopted. In that second year of the two-year plan, 14 firefighters, or the equivalent of one truck company, would make up the majority of the 22 eliminated positions. For this next year, 27 of the 34  positions proposed for elimination would come from law enforcement.

Fraser said that the intent was to avoid a scenario where demotions from lieutenant to sergeant and sergeant to patrol officer would take place, a situation where the newest, most enthusiastic recruits would be shed from the department. [The newest recruits are also the least highly compensated.] Instead, he said, the plan was to spend $4.8 million from the general fund reserve on an early-out retirement program. The reserve fund expenditure would bring the reserve down to 12%, putting it at the lower end of the recommended 12-15% range. Fraser said that 16-18 command officers might participate in the program, and that earlier in the day, the plan had received the support of the Ann Arbor Police Officer’s Association.

The materials provided to councilmembers on the mix of law enforcement positions to be eliminated were: 8 community standards, 6 command, 10 patrol, 1 dispatch, 2 clerical. However, Tom Crawford, chief financial officer for the city, said that the exact mix of those positions would depend on participation in the early-out program.

Fraser said that the reductions were possible because Barnett Jones, chief of safety services, had undertaken a restructuring of the police department to reduce the size of sergeant and lieutenant ranks to focus resources on patrol, with specialty patrols for housing and downtown areas covered by regular patrol officers. The reduction in community standards officers (who write parking tickets, among other things), would be facilitated by patrol officers supporting ticket enforcement.

Not discussed at the council working session was the potential dovetailing of reduced ticket enforcement resources on the city’s side, with the possible purchase of parking meter enforcement rights in the downtown area by the DDA – an idea that was floated at the last DDA board meeting by Rene Greff. Greff chairs the DDA board’s ad hoc committee formed to begin conversations about the parking agreement between the city and the DDA.

Councilmembers sought clarity on some of the more visible proposals for cuts, which would come in 2011, like the closing of the senior center and of Mack pool for the summer. Leigh Greden (Ward 3) and Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) were concerned about whether adequate planning had been done to provide for transitioning to other areas for people who use those services. Jayne Miller, director of community services, said that for the senior center such transitioning would be provided – including on an individual basis. For the pool, there needed to be communication with the Ann Arbor Public Schools system, said Miller, to offer the possibility that the pool might stay open with the schools shouldering a commensurate part of the cost.

Fraser followed up Miller’s point on the school system, saying that in the coming week he hoped to finally reach a written agreement on how to jointly operate recreational ball fields with the schools. He indicated that the city had been working hard over the last five years to achieve an equitable and mutually beneficial arrangement, not just for the ball fields. Fraser said that overtures to the schools by the city in other areas had not yet yielded results.

In response to a query by Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), Fraser discussed another area of cost-saving that has not yet yielded dramatic results: regional cooperation. Higgins asked about the overall strategy of collaboration with other government entities in light of some of the proposed cuts for 2011, which she described as “rather unpalatable.” Fraser drew an analogy of government entities to neighbors who live next door, who just choose to live differently – even when it makes sense to collaborate. Two examples of progress offered by Fraser in that category were the city-county data center consolidation and agreements with surrounding townships and the city of Ypsilanti for firefighting response along the corridor between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Sandi Smith wanted to know what happened to the discussion of increasing revenues that council had had during its budget retreat in January. Otherwise put, where does the city stand with respect to the request for a city income tax study? Fraser said that the state of Michigan was providing income levels for the city of Ann Arbor, and that employers were providing data for  employees who work in Ann Arbor, but who live outside the city limits. By the end of April, Fraser said, the work should be completed by Plante & Moran, the firm tapped to do the study.

Based on some of the specific items identified for cuts, even relatively small savings opportunities were identified in the proposed budget. For example, city clerk Jackie Beaudry, whose office would permanently lose a now-vacant .60 full-time position, identified the publication of council’s agenda in the local newspaper as a move that could save $15,000 a year. Beaudry said after the work session that council would need to change its rules in order to realize the savings. In relevant part, the council rules read:

The approved agenda for all meetings of Council, including Work Sessions, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City no later than the Sunday prior to each meeting, except those meetings called less than six days prior to a meeting.

The slides from the presentation at the work session are available here in .pdf format. A binder with the detail of the proposed budget will be available on the second floor of the Larcom Building and at the public library. For members of the public who would like own a copy, the cost for reproduction (which includes charts in color) is $26.36.

The April 14 town hall meeting on the budget, which will be held at CTN studios at 2805 S. Industrial, starts at 7 p.m.

Below we’ve reproduced the budget numbers, followed by some highlights identified by city staff in each year.

Recommended Expenditure Budget
Fiscal Year Budget
                                Adopted     Recommended       Projected
                                   2009            2010            2011
General Fund Expenditures
Police                     $ 27,195,233    $ 26,057,095    $ 27,188,966
Fire                         13,928,987      14,176,119      13,516,759
AATA                          9,741,489       9,636,345       9,135,256
Parks Forestry & Operations   4,225,101       4,132,898       4,063,921
Parks & Recreation            3,844,838       3,718,788       3,511,483
Finance                       4,143,302       3,956,114       4,016,264
Courts                        4,507,684       4,226,107       4,357,693
Planning & Development        2,104,163       2,611,699       2,592,084
Community Development         2,076,980       2,428,699       1,950,666
Public Services               2,179,171       2,105,899       2,017,628
Fleet & Facilities            1,287,695       1,316,428       1,599,240
Attorney                      2,082,710       2,041,949       1,988,580
City Clerk                      924,882         885,960       1,039,966
City Administrator              639,695         634,034         607,334
Mayor & Council                 343,502         348,917         350,740
Transfers/Other              10,332,730       6,887,892       5,664,680
  Total GF Expenditures**  $ 89,214,660    $ 84,816,026    $ 83,250,520

General Fund Revenues
Taxes                      $ 52,076,573    $ 51,492,881    $ 48,993,217
State-shared Revenue         10,756,613      10,827,062      10,827,062
Charges for Services          5,866,021       7,333,170       7,704,717
Fines & Forfeitures           6,182,365       5,131,420       4,861,882
Other                        14,333,088      10,413,505      10,481,630
  Total GF Revenues        $ 89,214,660    $ 85,198,038    $ 82,868,508

Net Surplus/(Deficit)      $          0    $    382,012    $   (382,012) 

Undesignated Fund Balance  $ 13,515,463    $ 13,897,475    $ 13,515,463 

     ** Adopted Budget subsequently amended to $90,791,514


FY 2010 Ann Arbor City Budget Highlights

General Fund 2010


  • Reduction in size of sergeant and lieutenant ranks to focus resources on patrol
  • Specialty patrols (ie. housing, downtown, etc.) would be covered by regular patrol
  • Community standards reduced with existing patrol supporting ticket enforcement
  • Add a 3rd School Resource Officer / Reduce 1 Canine / Reduce vehicle fleet by 14
  • FTE positions reduced by 27 (8 community standards, 6 command, 10 patrol, 1 dispatch, 2 clerical)


  • Reduce non-FTE expenditures and overtime


  • Mack pool will close down for the summer (only)
  • Eliminate funding for Civic Band ($7k), Project Grow ($7k), & 1 GIS employee
  • Reduce hours at Vets Park Fitness Center ($9k) & expand teen camp pilot
  • Leslie Science Center becomes fully financially independent of the city ($31k)
  • Rental Housing Inspection Fees – 3% increase


  • Eliminate publication of council agenda in newspaper ($15k)
  • Reduce projected cost of employee compensation and benefits
  • Energy savings / Reduced maintenance for LEDs ($29k)
  • Service drive parking meter revenue, net of set-up costs ($380k)
  • 4% Safety Services Fee from water utility ($787k)
  • Loading zone permit fees & S. Industrial football parking revenue ($12k)
  • Reduce 4.6 FTEs – 1 in Treasury (vacant), 2 in Courts (vacant), 1 in HR, and 0.6 in Clerks (vacant)

Non-general Fund 2010

Act 51 Funds/Weight & Gas Tax (Funds Right-of-Way Maintenance Activities)

  • Anticipated revenue decrease [3% major roads, 5% local roads] ($345k)
  • Extend street sweeping cycle from 5 to 8 weeks ($148k)
  • Traffic calming reduction [50% or 1 program per yr.] ($28k)
  • Extend gravel road grading cycle from 6 to 8 weeks ($40k)
  • Reduction in overtime costs for snow removal ($65k)

Utility Funds (Water, Sanitary Sewer, Storm Water)

  • 3.6% increase in water revenue requirements
  • 1.6% increase in storm water revenue requirement
  • 3.1% increase in sanitary sewer revenue requirements
  • 4% Safety Service Fee to General Fund
  • Planting of 600 trees for storm water benefit ($300k)

Other (Constraints of Diminished Tax Revenue)

  • Reduction in Parks Maintenance & Capital Improvements Millage revenue by $65k
  • Reduction in Greenbelt Millage revenue by $26k
  • Reduction in Solid Waste Millage revenue by $135k

FY 2011 Ann Arbor City Budget Highlights

General Fund 2011


  • Reduce 14 FTEs in Fire ($1.1 mil.) – equivalent to 1 truck company


  • Reduce Human Services allocations by $260k
  • Eliminate Historic District contract ($24k)
  • Close or turn over Mack pool to AAPS ($59k)
  • Eliminate 30 hours per week of seasonal assistant facility supervisor ($12k)
  • Close senior center ($141k)
  • Reduce 2.5 FTEs (1 in Parks & Rec., 1 Support Specialist in Planning Development, & 0.5 Planner)
  • Rental Housing Inspection Fees – 3% increase


  • Eliminate contracted services for Park Ops. ($31k)
  • Include 8 months of utility charges for Court/PD building ($184k)
  • Reduce projected cost of employee compensation and benefits
  • Increase revenue or reduce 1 FTE in FASA (financial services)
  • Revenue: Service Dr. Parking Meter/Net of Maintenance Costs ($460k)
  • Revenue: Energy Savings/Maintenance from LED Installations ($12,323)
  • Expenditures: Energy Savings/Maintenance from LED Installations ($69,600)

Non-General Fund FY 2011

Utility Funds/Water, Sanitary Sewer, Storm Water


  • 3.49% increase in Water Revenue Requirements (Operation & Maintenance Budgets held constant to accommodate capital requirements)
  • 1.75% increase in Storm Water Revenue Requirement (Bonding for Capital Improvements)
  • 3% increase in Sanitary Sewer Revenue Requirements (Operation & Maintenance Budgets held constant to accommodate capital requirements)


  • 4% Safety Service Fee ($813,750)


  • Reduce 3 FTEs in Construction Code Fund – 2 development services inspectors (1 vacant) & 1 support specialist
  • Reduction in Parks Maintenance & Capital Improvements Millage revenue by $270k
  • Reduction in Greenbelt Millage revenue by $117k
  • Reduction in Solid Waste millage revenue by $607k
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