Stories indexed with the term ‘Leah Gunn’

Krapohl Forms Campaign Committee

Graydon Krapohl has filed paperwork to form a campaign committee to run for a seat representing Ward 4 on the Ann Arbor city council. According to information posted the Washtenaw County elections website, the committee was formed on Jan. 9, 2014. As of Jan. 15, Krapohl, a Democrat, has not yet pulled petitions with the Ann Arbor city clerk’s office.

Graydon Krapohl, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Park advisory commissioner Graydon Krapohl at the May 21, 2013 meeting of the commission.

Krapohl currently serves on the city’s park advisory commission, and was elected as vice chair of that group on Sept. 17, 2013. He was nominated to the position by mayor John Hieftje and confirmed by the city council in late 2012. He is adjunct faculty with the U. S. Army War College and is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Krapohl’s campaign filing lists Leah Gunn as treasurer. Gunn, a former Washtenaw County commissioner and former Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board member,  is also treasurer for Christopher Taylor’s mayoral campaign. Taylor currently is a Ward 3 councilmember and serves on the park advisory commission with Krapohl.

Gunn has served in the past as campaign treasurer for Ward 4 councilmember Margie Teall, whose term ends this year. Teall has not publicly indicated whether she intends to seek re-election.

Updated at 8:29 p.m. Jan. 15, 2014: Teall spoke with The Chronicle after the Ann Arbor Housing Commission meeting, a group for which Teall serves as the city council liaison. Teall said she’s not planning to run for re-election this year. Teall was first elected in 2002, and after mayor John Hieftje, is currently the longest continuously serving member on the city council. With Teall’s departure from the council in November this year that distinction will belong jointly to Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who were both first elected in 2007. 

In other Ann Arbor wards, Democrat Kirk Westphal pulled petitions on Jan. 15 to run for a Ward 2 city council seat – which will be open as a result of Sally Petersen’s mayoral candidacy. And Democrat Julie Grand pulled petitions on Jan. 14 to run for the city council seat that will be left open in Ward 3 as a result of Taylor’s mayoral candidacy.

Incumbent Democrats Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) also have taken out petitions to seek re-election. The only other person shown in city clerk records to have taken out petitions for local office is Eric Sturgis for the Ward 1 council seat. But an asterisk recorded next to his name includes a note that says Sturgis has indicated to the clerk’s office that he does not intend to file signatures to become a candidate. Sturgis contested the Ward 1 Democratic primary in 2012, which was won by Kailasapathy. [Full Story]

DDA OKs Capital Projects, Art Fair Trolley

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority monthly board meeting and annual meeting (July 3, 2013): In its voting business, the DDA board allocated a total of $550,000 for capital projects – either planning for future work or actual current projects.

Sandi Smith was elected by her colleagues a chair of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board at its July 3, 2013 annual meeting. Here she's showing off the DDAs new website with her tablet.

Sandi Smith was elected by her colleagues as chair of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board at its July 3, 2013 annual meeting. Here she’s showing the DDA’s new website on her tablet. (Photos by the writer.)

The board also approved a $59,200 grant to support the formation of a business improvement zone in the South University area. A “trolley” for the upcoming art fairs also received $10,000 worth of support, in action taken by the board.

The capital projects included $50,000 for repair of sidewalk-related amenities that aren’t covered by the city’s sidewalk millage. In addition, the board allocated $200,000 for a streetscape framework planning project. Board action also included $300,000 for the replacement of light poles on Main Street.

The light pole replacement is one source of current friction between the city and the DDA – as the expectation of the city had been that the entire $516,000 project would be paid for by the DDA. But the result of wrangling over the DDA’s FY 2014 budget – given approval by the council on May 20 – was a transfer of $300,000 from the DDA’s TIF fund to the DDA’s housing fund. So the DDA’s position is that it can’t fund the entire light pole replacement project, because of that transfer to the housing fund.

The light pole question is related to the general issue of DDA finances and the revenue it receives through tax increment finance (TIF) capture of taxes – from entities that levy those taxes in the DDA district. Elected as chair at the annual meeting – which immediately followed the board’s monthly meeting – Sandi Smith will face the resolution of the TIF revenue issue as one of her first challenges.

The outstanding issue concerns the way that the DDA administers Chapter 7 of the city code of Ann Arbor – which regulates the DDA’s TIF capture. This spring the Ann Arbor city council gave initial approval to a revision to Chapter 7. The council’s action, if given final approval, would prevent the DDA from giving the code an interpretation that doesn’t recognize a cap on TIF revenue that is expressed in Chapter 7. The amendment to the ordinance would return several hundred thousand dollars a year to other taxing authorities from which the DDA captures taxes. Those entities include the Ann Arbor District Library, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor.

The council has postponed final action on the matter until Sept. 3, 2013. Between now and then, the council’s expectation is that a joint DDA-council committee will meet and make recommendations on the Chapter 7 issue.

At its July 1 meeting, the city council appointed four members to its committee: Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Sally Petersen (Ward 2). And at the July 3 monthly meeting, outgoing DDA board chair Leah Gunn appointed the DDA’s committee: Bob Guenzel, Roger Hewitt, Joan Lowenstein and Sandi Smith.

Another point of recent budgetary friction between the city and the DDA was raised briefly at the July 3 board meeting. In a formal resolution, the city council had encouraged the DDA to allocate money to fund downtown beat patrol police officers. For its part, the DDA has for a few years already been mulling the question of some kind of additional security – either in the form of ambassadors, community standards officers or police officers. At the July 3 meeting, DDA board members indicated they would continue to mull that range of options, but seemed disinclined to commit to funding police officers.

The board also heard a range of routine reports on July 3, including the monthly parking revenue report. The DDA manages the city’s public parking system under a contract with the city of Ann Arbor. In the future, it was announced, the report will be delivered only on a quarterly basis. Also related to parking policy, a tentative pilot project was announced that could change the basic approach the DDA takes to selling monthly parking permits. The idea would be to assign permit eligibility only to property owners in a defined geographic area. The number of permits would depend on the number of square feet of property – independent of uses such as office, residential, retail, etc. Currently, the DDA uses a first-come-first-served system for individuals, with a waiting list.

The DDA’s monthly meeting marked a transition on the board, as two board members were bid farewell. Newcombe Clark served one four-year term. He’s making an employment-related move to Chicago. Leah Gunn concluded nearly 22 years of service on the board. She finished out her time on the board as chair. [Full Story]

Sandi Smith Takes DDA Baton from Gunn

Sandi Smith has been elected chair of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. The board took the action at its annual meeting, which followed its regular monthly board meeting on July 3, 2013. Smith’s election as chair followed the board’s custom of electing its vice chair to the position of chair for the next year.

Other board officers elected included John Mouat as vice chair, Keith Orr as secretary, and Roger Hewitt as treasurer.

One of Smith’s first challenges leading the board will be to resolve an outstanding issue over the way the DDA administers Chapter 7 of the city code of Ann Arbor – which regulates the DDA’s tax increment finance … [Full Story]

Gunn Won’t Run For Re-Election

In a comment left on The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s website on an article about the recent redistricting of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, Leah Gunn has announced that she does not plan to run for re-election in 2012 in the new District 8, formed out of that redistricting process. She instead intends to support fellow Democrat Yousef Rabhi.

The new redistricting plan approved earlier this month reduces the number of districts for the county board from 11 to 9. Ann Arbor will have three districts under the new plan, rather than the four districts currently in place, and the Ann Arbor residences of both Gunn and Rabhi will be located in the same new district. Gunn … [Full Story]