The electricians have started to arrive for their annual training event in Ann Arbor. Expect several thousand by Sunday followed by the plumbers & pipefitters. They bring millions of dollars to Ann Arbor during a slow period. Welcome back! [photo]
Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (April 18, 2012): Most of the recent county board meeting was devoted to what’s become an annual ritual: Delivery of the county equalization report.
The report includes a calculation of taxable value for all jurisdictions in the county, which determines tax revenues for those entities that rely on taxpayer funding, including cities and townships, public schools, libraries and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, among others.
It was the 41st report that Raman Patel, the county’s equalization director, has completed – and he delivered some positive news. The county’s general fund budget was approved with a projection of $59.734 million in tax revenues. But actual revenues, based on 2012 taxable value, are now estimated at $62.395 million – for an excess in 2012 general fund revenues of $2.66 million.
Despite reporting better-than-expected taxable value, Patel cautioned that if the potential repeal of the state’s personal property tax is passed – being considered by legislators in a set of bills introduced last week – it could result in a loss of more than $5 million in annual revenues for the county government alone, and more than $40 million for all taxing jurisdictions in Washtenaw County.
Although most of the meeting focused on Patel’s presentation, other business covered a variety of issues. Commissioners discussed the next steps in an effort to deal with mandated animal control services in the county. A work group has met that includes representatives from the county, the Human Society of Huron Valley, and other municipalities that have animal control ordinances, such as the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township. Some commissioners highlighted the need to develop a policy to guide the work group, which will give recommendations about the cost of animal control services.
Related to the March 15 tornado that touched down in the Dexter area, board chair Conan Smith reported that he had declared a state of emergency earlier this month and sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder requesting reimbursement to local municipalities for costs incurred as a result of the devastation. Local governments itemized about $1 million in costs, but the total – primarily in damages to residences – is estimated at over $9 million. [.pdf of Smith's letter to Snyder] [.pdf summarizing tornado-related expenses]
During the meeting, the board also passed a proclamation recognizing the National Training Institute, put on by the National Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee – a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). The training institute is held in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan and this year runs from July 25-Aug. 3, bringing more than 3,000 people to town. Commissioner Rob Turner, an electrical contractor, is a member of both the IBEW and NECA.
Among the other action items at the April 18 meeting, commissioners (1) set a public hearing for May 2 to get public input on an annual plan for the Washtenaw Urban County, which gets federal funding for projects in low-income neighborhoods; (2) authorized the issuance of up to $6 million in notes at the request of the Washtenaw County road commission, for work in Ypsilanti Township; and (3) approved the hiring of Nimish Ganatra as assistant prosecuting attorney over the dissent of Wes Prater, who objected to paying a salary above the midpoint range.
With about 2,000 people coming to town for a week-long electricians training institute starting Aug. 1, the logistical prep for this event is fairly intense.
To watch just a small piece of that advance work, The Chronicle swung by the University of Michigan Indoor Track Building on Friday, where dozens of people were setting up for a massive two-day trade show that kicks off the training program.
This is the 20th year for the National Training Institute, put on by the National Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee – you’ll see signs around town referring to both NTI and NJATC. But it’s the first time that the group has held its event in Ann Arbor, bringing an estimated economic impact of $5 million during one of the slowest times of the year for local businesses.
We encountered a bit of economic impact on the trade show floor as well.