Ann Arbor city council meeting (Jan. 9, 2012): The council’s first meeting of the year included: a metaphor comparing AATA buses to white blood cells; a desire to “inoculate” Ann Arbor against loss of control over its local bus system; and a fair number of councilmembers needling each other.
Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) continued to hash through their differences after the Jan. 9, 2012 meeting was adjourned. (Photos by the writer.)
In the end, the council opted to delay voting on a four-way accord between the city of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA), the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County. The agreement among the four parties would set up a framework for, and contingencies on, the transition of the AATA to a countywide transit authority, incorporated under Michigan’s Act 196 of 1986. AATA currently operates under Act 55 of 1963.
The transition to a countywide funding base is intended to (1) ensure stability of funding for transit connections outside of the city of Ann Arbor, which has until now depended on purchase-of-service agreements; (2) provide a higher level of transit service inside the city of Ann Arbor; and (3) expand the area where transit service is provided.
The council’s vote was to delay the decision just for one meeting – until Jan. 23. The council also voted to set a public hearing for that date.
In other substantive action on the four-party agreement, the council amended it to stipulate that Ann Arbor’s transit tax would only be transferred to the new Act 196 authority if approval of a millage were to gain a majority of votes within the city of Ann Arbor.
In other business, the council gave initial approval to a revision of the Arlington Square planned unit development (PUD), located on the southeast corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Huron Parkway. The changes will allow for additional types of uses at the site – restaurants and an urgent care facility. Questions were raised about the number of existing parking spaces on the site.
The council also approved the set of fees associated with its property assessed clean energy (PACE) program, which was established last year.
In additional business, the council approved petitions to the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner for several stormwater projects, and approved a wetland mitigation plan for the Wheeler Service Center on Stone School Road. The council also authorized a pay increase for election workers who staff the polls on election day.
At the start of the meeting, councilmembers received an update on the skatepark planned for the northeast corner of Veterans Memorial Park. With most of the funding now in place, construction looks like it will start late in 2012 or the spring of 2013. [Full Story]