Rounding the corner, headed to city hall to collect absent voter preliminary totals, I was able to confirm the brakes on my bicycle are in good repair as I did not run over the guy who was just crossing the street – Michael Ford, CEO of the AAATA. He was headed to the /aut/ bar for the post-millage election results gathering. I updated him on early results.
Two separate proposals about Ann Arbor’s Percent for Art program were tabled by the city council at its Nov. 19, 2012 meeting. One proposal would have terminated the program, while the other would have narrowed the range of eligible projects.
The council also postponed a resolution added to the agenda during the meeting to appoint a task force of five councilmembers to study the issue and to suspend the expenditure of funds – with several exceptions – currently allocated for public art. The resolution on the task force and temporary suspension, which was brought forward by Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), was postponed until Dec. 3. The timeframe for a recommendation on how to move ahead with either revision or termination of the Percent …
Renewal of the park maintenance and capital improvements millage was overwhelmingly approved by Ann Arbor voters on Nov. 6, with 34,959 voters (68.44%) casting yes votes compared with 16,123 (31.56%) voting against it.
The millage was approved by a majority of voters in every precinct in the city, with the strongest support coming from Ward 1, Precinct 3, where 82.3% of voters supported the parks tax. Weakest support for the parks tax citywide came in Ward 2, Precinct 2 where 53.6% of voters said yes.
The current 1.1 mill tax expires this year. The renewal runs from 2013-2018 and will raise about $4.9 million next year. The recommended allocation of revenues is 70% for park maintenance activities, and 30% for park capital improvement projects. Of …
The Ann Arbor city council voted last Thursday to reject placing a question on the Nov. 6 ballot concerning the city’s contractual powers with respect to city parkland. The charter already requires that the sale of city parkland be subjected to a citywide referendum. That requirement stems from a 2008 voter-approved charter amendment.
The ballot question rejected by councilmembers last week would have asked voters if they wanted certain kinds of long-term leases on city parkland to require the same voter approval. Much of the debate this time around centered on what voters meant when they approved the charter amendment in 2008.
Next week, at its Aug. 20 meeting, the council will weigh whether to place a different question on the Nov. 6 ballot – asking voters if they’d like to tax themselves an average of around $10 a year to pay for public art. [For details, including the ballot language and charter amendment, see: "Ballot Questions: Parks, Public Art Funding"]
If the council pursues this specific proposal for a public art millage, then we will face another challenge in discerning voter intent – a challenge even greater than the one posed by the parks charter amendment. But it’s a challenge that can be easily met – by asking voters to vote on two separate questions, instead of just one.