After its Monday, July 15, 2013 session, the Ann Arbor city council will depart from the more familiar rhythm of meeting every two weeks – by pausing 24 days before its next meeting on Aug. 8.
Door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber.
The longer-than-usual break stems from the regular meeting schedule, which actually calls for a meeting on the first and third Monday of the month, not every two weeks. The traditional shift from Monday to Thursday to accommodate the Tuesday, Aug. 6 Democratic primary will add three more days to the break.
Two councilmembers have primary challenges this year – incumbent Stephen Kunselman is competing with Julie Grand for the Democratic nomination in Ward 3; and incumbent Marcia Higgins is competing with Jack Eaton for the Ward 4 nomination.
At its last meeting before the Aug. 6 election, the council’s agenda is relatively full. Dominant themes cutting across several agenda items are concrete and water.
In the category of concrete, the council will be asked to approve $15,000 for the design of a section of sidewalk along Barton Drive. The council approved similar design budgets for a sidewalk on Newport Road at its Jan. 22, 2013 meeting and for a sidewalk on Scio Church Road on Nov. 19, 2012. The interest in having sidewalks was supported by petitions submitted by adjoining property owners.
The council will also be asked to accept some easements and the dedication of right-of-way near the intersection of Platt Road and Washtenaw Avenue – in connection with the Arbor Hills Crossing development, where construction is well underway. A sidewalk is to be built along Platt Road as part of the intersection work.
Sidewalks also appear in connection with an agenda item that would approve a $212,784 engineering services contract with CDM Smith Michigan. The contract covers design for a street reconstruction project in the Springwater subdivision, located southeast of Buhr Park, south of Packard Road. The work is scheduled for FY 2014-16, and includes the construction of new sidewalks.
The council will also be asked to approve a $965,990 contract with MacKenzie Co. for street reconstruction between South University Avenue and Hill Street on Forest Avenue. The scope of the project includes the reconstruction of sidewalk.
Adding to the concrete on the agenda is the $1,031,592 construction contract with Krull Construction to build a concrete skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park. Among the features of the skatepark will be pools and bowls.
Although they won’t be skate-able, bowls show up in another agenda item that asks the council to approve $216,000 for renovations of 13 restrooms in the old city hall building. The bathrooms are 50 years old.
In the category of water, the council will be asked to approve a $33,743 annual contract with the Huron River Watershed Council to assist in compliance with the city’s stormwater permit from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality. HRWC’s work includes public education efforts, water quality monitoring and reporting assistance.
Stormwater is also on the agenda in the form of a Stone School Road reconstruction project. Of the $4 million project total, $1.2 million of it involves stormwater work on the county drain north of Ellsworth Road between Varsity Drive and Stone School Road. The council will be asked to approve a petition to the office of the county water resources commissioner for a loan under the state’s revolving fund (SRF) program. If approved by the state, the loan repayment would come from the city’s stormwater fund.
A loan that’s already been secured through the SRF will pay for another item on the agenda – a $509,125 contract with Margolis Companies Inc. for the purchase and planting of trees, as well as stump removal along city streets. The stormwater fund is used for this work because of the positive impact trees have on stormwater runoff.
Water also shows up in a consent agenda item that asks the council to approve a $43,788 annual contract with the Ecology Center to give tours of the city’s materials recovery facility (MRF). The cost of the contract is split 60%-40% between the solid waste fund and the drinking water fund. The drinking water funding is related to a Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources requirement that the city engage in source water protection educational efforts.
Leftover business from the council’s July 1, 2013 meeting includes changes to the council’s rules and the approval of the State Street corridor plan. Rules changes include reductions in speaking times for public commentary as well as for councilmembers.
Details of other meeting agenda items are available on the city’s Legistar system. Readers can also follow the live meeting proceedings on Channel 16, streamed online by Community Television Network.
The Chronicle will be filing live updates from city council chambers during the meeting, published in this article “below the fold.” The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. [Full Story]