The presentation of the city administrator’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, which starts July 1, 2014, is the main event of the Ann Arbor city council’s April 21 meeting. As the second council meeting of April, it’s the occasion specified in the city charter for that presentation.
At its April 21 meeting, however, the council won’t be voting on next year’s budget. Under the city charter, the council will need to adopt the budget by the time of its second regular meeting in May, which falls on May 19 this year. The Chronicle has covered the FY 2015 budget preview in a separate article.
Related to this year’s budget is an agenda item for April 21 that will transfer $600,000 from the affordable housing trust fund to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission. The city administrator had been directed by the council to prepare the budget amendment at its March 3, 2014 meeting. The action was contingent on the final closing of the sale of the former Y lot – net proceeds of which were roughly $1.4 million and were deposited into the affordable housing trust fund. The $600,000 will support AAHC’s efforts to make major capital improvements to its public housing properties.
The AAHC is featured in two other resolutions related to its plan of capital improvements, which include projects at North Maple Estates, North Maple Duplexes, Lower Platt, Broadway, and White/State/Henry apartments. One resolution approves a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for those AAHC properties. A second resolution approves a 50% waiver of the site plan, zoning and street vacation fees for the North Maple Estates and Lower Platt projects.
Also on the April 21 agenda based on previous action by the council, at its April 7, 2014 meeting, is the second and final reading of a local ordinance that would regulate smoking in certain outdoor places. Those places include locations near entrances of buildings and potentially in parts of city parks at the discretion of the city administrator. A public hearing will precede the council’s vote on the outdoor smoking regulations.
Measured by the number of items on the agenda, sidewalks are a significant highlight. Sidewalk gaps on Scio Church Road and Newport Road have two resolutions each – related to the special assessments that will be imposed on property owners adjoining the stretches where sidewalks will be constructed. One resolution directs the city assessor to prepare a special assessment roll of properties to be assessed. The other resolution sets a public hearing on the special assessment – for May 5, 2014 at the council’s regular meeting on that date.
The council will also be asked to approve $177,100 of city funds for the construction of the Scio Church sidewalk and for an additional sidewalk on Barton Drive. The Barton Drive sidewalk will also be special assessed – with the associated resolutions to be presented to the council at a future meeting.
Related to sidewalks as part of the city’s non-motorized infrastructure will be a possible attachment to the council’s agenda from the city administrator that outlines his plan to “to fund, effect, and otherwise implement actionable near-term recommendations of the 2013 Update to the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan.” The council gave direction to the city administrator at its Dec. 16, 2013 meeting to provide the report – as one of a series of updates.
Rounding out the council’s April 21 agenda are some land use items. The council will be asked to approve the site plan for an overhaul of a Shell station and a new drive-thru restaurant at the northeast corner of the East Eisenhower Parkway and South State Street. Another site plan the council will be asked to approve is for the expansion of an office building at 278-280 Collingwood on Ann Arbor’s west side. A third site plan on the April 21 agenda is for an expansion to the Concordia University gym, which also includes reconfiguring nearby parking lots and stormwater management features on the 187-acre site at 4090 Geddes Road, just west of US-23 and north of the Huron River.
Also on the April 21 agenda are appointments to the environmental commission for David Stead, Kirk Westphal, and Susan Hutton. Appointments to this commission are different from most appointments to boards and commissions, in that the mayor does not nominate them. The appointments are under control of the council as a body.
The April 21 agenda also includes the authorization for some street closings for upcoming events: NTI Block Party (July 30, 2014), Rolling Sculpture Car Show (July 11, 2014), and Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park (June 9 through July 9, 2014).
This article includes a more detailed preview of many of these agenda items. More details on other agenda items are available on the city’s online Legistar system. The meeting proceedings can be followed Monday evening live on Channel 16, streamed online by Community Television Network starting at 7 p.m.