Ann Arbor City Council Meeting, Part I (May 4, 2009): Despite assurances from Mayor John Hieftje that he’d be surprised if Mack pool and Leslie Science Center weren’t funded, city council heard from several advocates of those facilities Monday night, along with supporters of Project Grow and the senior center.
Audible through the expressions of support for programs facing cuts was also a call for the council to focus attention on bigger ticket items. One of those bigger ticket items was a mediator-mandated agreement with the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association union, which council was constrained by state law to approve – an agreement that will cost the city about $650,000 more than it had anticipated. Another was approval of the early retirement option for police officers as a part of the employees retirement system, which the city is offering instead of mandatory layoffs.
Still another big ticket item surfaced in the form of the approval of an application for funding of the East Stadium bridge reconstruction – though it’s likely to be paid by federal tax dollars. The bridge fit into the general theme of transportation at the meeting, which showed up in the form of an agenda item authorizing a study for a north-south intra-city connector (which was postponed), as well as a lengthy discussion on the Ann Arbor transportation plan update, which was ultimately adopted, despite some sentiment for postponing it. [These items are reported in detail in Part II of our meeting coverage here.]
In other business, council approved two agreements with the public schools for operation of recreation facilities, gave initial approval to a revamped liquor licensing code for the city, and approved an amendment to the partnership agreement between the city and the Leslie Science and Nature Center. [This last accounts for the last word in the headline.]