Stories indexed with the term ‘street repair millage’

General Election 2011: Results Roundup

Voters in Ann Arbor elections held on Nov. 8 confirmed the city’s general preference for incumbent candidates, both on the city council and on the school board. Out of a field of six, voters gave the two incumbents on the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of trustees – Andy Thomas and Simone Lightfoot – each a four-year term.


Map A: Breakdown by precinct of the vote in Ward 2, with white shading to indicate Jane Lumm's weakest precinct (2-2 with 33%) and black her strongest precinct (2-5 with 71%). Shades of gray show relative strength of Lumm's support. Incumbent Stephen Rapundalo managed a majority in 2-9 and 2-2, but in 2-2 only three people voted. (Image links to dynamic Google Map.)

And the preference for Democrats, which the city of Ann Arbor has shown in recent years, was generally also confirmed in Tuesday’s city council results. Four of five Democratic incumbents were given another two-year term on the 11-member body. Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) all easily kept their seats.

The lone Democratic incumbent who lost was Stephen Rapundalo. He was defeated on Tuesday by Jane Lumm, who served previously on the city council as a Republican, but who ran against Rapundalo as an independent. Rapundalo himself is a former Republican, but served three terms on the council as a Democrat.

Ann Arbor voters also said yes to all three proposals on Tuesday’s ballot. They approved a renewal of the 2.0 mill street repair tax, the addition of a .0125 mill sidewalk repair tax, and a change to the composition of the city’s retirement board of trustees.

Sylvan Township voters were in a less agreeable mood, voting to reject a 4.75 mill tax that would have been used to reimburse Washtenaw County for some bond payments on which Sylvan will likely default in 2012. The county will likely file a lawsuit to recover the money through a property assessment.

In The Chronicle’s travels to polling stations throughout election day, turnout was described by precinct workers as light to moderate. It ranged from a low of less than 1% in three predominantly university student precincts, to a high of 26.6% in Precinct 5 of Ward 2 – the ward with the most hotly contested race. Countywide, turnout was 11.24%, according to the county clerk’s office. However, several election workers noted that percentages are hard to gauge, given that many voters are still registered even if they’ve left the area – as is the case with many voters who register as college students.

Complete results are available on the Washtenaw County clerk’s election results website. [Full Story]

Council Moves on Future of Fifth Avenue

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Oct. 17, 2011): At its meeting last Monday, the Ann Arbor city council acted on two different residential development projects for the block of Fifth Avenue just south of William Street. Both projects are owned by the same developer.

Margie Teall Jeff Helminski

Margie Teall (Ward 4) with Heritage Row and City Place developer Jeff Helminski. (Photos by the writer.)

At the time of their votes – on the matter-of-right City Place and the planned unit development Heritage Row – councilmembers knew that one set of actions would become moot. Only one of the projects, located on the same site, would be built. A few days after the meeting, news emerged that Heritage Row is now off the table and that City Place will move forward, with construction planned to start sometime this fall.

That meant that the council’s action last Monday, to give initial approval to the Heritage Row project, will ultimately have no effect. Developer Jeff Helminski requested that the item be pulled from the council’s Oct. 24 meeting – a meeting that had been added to the council’s calendar specifically to take a second and final vote on the Heritage Row project.

At their Oct. 17 meeting, the council took two actions on the already-approved City Place project – one to allow flexible application of the city’s new landscape ordinance, and a second to approve additional windows on the upper stories and to change the siding. That added to an Oct. 3 decision by the council to allow greater flexibility in the sequencing of City Place construction.

Also on Monday, the council confirmed two appointments to the city’s zoning board of appeals. The ZBA is a body that has purview to hear any challenges to city decisions about the correct application of city ordinances and the appropriateness of administrative decisions, including those associated with matter-of-right projects like City Place.

In other real estate development news out of Monday’s meeting, the council approved changes to the elevations for City Apartments, a residential project at First and Washington scheduled to start construction yet this season. The council is expected to authorize the sale of the city-owned parcel at its Nov. 10 meeting.

The council approved the annexation into the city of a township parcel where Biercamp Artisan Sausage & Jerky has set up shop. A tax abatement for Arbor Networks, a computer network security firm, was also approved by the council.

Another significant item on the council’s agenda was the appropriation of $25,000 from the city’s general fund reserve to keep the warming center open this year, which is operated by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County in the Delonis Center on Huron Street.

The council also approved a resolution of intent on the use of sidewalk and street millage funds, which voters will be asked to approve at the polls on Nov. 8. The resolution was amended to clarify how funding will work for sidewalk repair adjacent to commercial properties inside the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority district. [Full Story]