Budget Crunch Backdrop Drives Council

Firefighters speak out, new council committees formed

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Dec. 21, 2009) Part II: In Part I of our report, we handled two meeting topics clearly related to the looming budget shortfall: public art expenditures and parking revenue.

members of firefighters local union

Members of International Association of Firefighters Local 693 waited past midnight until their president finally was able to take his turn at public commentary during unreserved time at the end of the meeting. (Photo by the writer.)

Two rows of firefighters from the International Association of Firefighters Local 693 – layoff notices have already been sent to some of them – sat in the audience through the whole meeting, which lasted until midnight.

Like the firefighters, sitting at least in the background of nearly every item on the agenda, were the looming budget issues that the city council faces.

When they came to the foreground, the concerns about the budget managed to connect topics as seemingly disparate as Verizon antennae and parking revenues.

Even a garden-variety contract with a consultant for the greenbelt provoked some brief discussion related to the budget shortfall.

The impetus behind the council’s committee reorganization was again … the budget. What was previously one budget and labor committee was split into two committees: (i) the budget committee, and (ii) the labor committee, which is now combined with the council administration committee. That reorganization was pitched as a way to allow representation from each ward on the five-member budget committee.

Councilmembers and the city administrator also made robust use of the communications section of the agenda to provide status updates on their recent work – much of it related to efforts to identify new revenue streams and ways to cut expenses as part of the effort to meet budget goals.

In other business, the purchase of carts for single-stream recycling was authorized, plus an energy grant totaling over $1 million was accepted.

Council Committee Assignments

Without a great deal of discussion, the council adopted new committee assignments, which were needed in light of Leigh Greden’s replacement as Ward 3 representative by Stephen Kunselman, who defeated Greden in the August Democratic primary. Kunselman was unopposed in the November election.

Committee assignments had been postponed from the council’s previous meeting. The original assignments, which had been put forward by Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), had most notably replaced Mike Anglin (Ward 5) on the budget and labor committee with Christopher Taylor (Ward 3).

After Greden’s defeat in the August primary and the results of that election had been confirmed through a recount, Greden stepped down from the budget and labor committee before the conclusion of his term, as did Margie Teall (Ward 4). Though Teall did not face an election this past year and will continue on council through the year,  Mayor John Hieftje indicated that Teall was stepping down from budget and labor due to other time commitments. [Chronicle coverage: "City Council Begins Transition"]

So from Sept. 8 up to now, the council’s budget and labor committee has consisted of Mayor John Hieftje, Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), plus the replacements for Teall and Greden – Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

A partial explanation of Rapundalo’s recommendation to replace Anglin with Taylor, as he put forward on Dec. 7, might be found in an email Rapundalo wrote to Greden, Teall, and Higgins last November. In that email Rapundalo wrote about Anglin’s possible continued service on the liquor committee, which Rapundalo chairs: “I’d like to have a rational person with me if Anglin continues.”

The revised committee assignments adopted on Monday took the budget and labor committee and split it into a budget committee and a labor committee. In addition, the labor committee has also been melded with the council’s administration committee.

In the brief commentary by Hieftje, he noted that each of the city’s five wards was now represented on the budget committee. [The newly formed council administration and labor committee, however, now has representation of two of the city's wards.]

The structure adopted by council for those committees is as follows:

Budget Committee

  • Mike Anglin (Ward 5)
  • Marcia Higgins (Ward 4)
  • Christopher Taylor (Ward 3)
  • Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2)
  • Sabra Briere (Ward 1)

Council Administration and Labor Committee

  • John Hieftje (mayor)
  • Tony Derezinski (Ward 2)
  • Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2)
  • Marcia Higgins  (Ward 4)
  • Margie Teall (Ward 4)

[.pdf file of all 2010 Ann Arbor city council committee appointments]

Verizon Antennae, Greenbelt Consultants

Two items on the agenda that would otherwise have likely moved through without discussion were identified by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) for further deliberations.

Verizon Wireless at Plymouth Road

An item on the consent agenda that allowed Verizon Wireless to set up antennae on the Plymouth Road water tower site was pulled out for separate consideration at the request of Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). [Consent agenda items are considered by the council as a set, without discussing each one, or reading each title.]

Kunselman noted that the agreement between the city and Verizon called for Verizon to pay an annual fee of around $35,000 to erect its antennae at the site. The amount increases at a rate of 4% a year. After getting confirmation that the money would go to the general fund, he asked whether the money could help with the closure of the budget hole that Sandi Smith (Ward 1) had been working to bridge.

The specific issue Smith has been working on concerns $380,000 the city calculated it could generate for the current fiscal year through installation of parking meters in residential areas outside downtown. [See Chronicle coverage of Part I of this same meeting: "Most Aspects of Parking Deal Approved"]

In responding to Kunselman, city administrator Roger Fraser explained that there was no effort on the city staff’s part to relate that additional revenue from the Verizon deal to any one budget item – the council could do that if it wished, he said.

Smith then ventured an on-the-fly amendment to the resolution that would have earmarked the revenue to “offset” any shortfall in the parking meter revenue. Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) objected to the amendment, partly on the philosophical grounds that it was not good public policy to “nickel and dime on the fly without examining the whole budget structure.”

Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) took issue with the relative vagueness of the term “offset,” saying that it was possible to think conceptually of the additional funds as offsetting a specific shortfall, but that it was not clear what the amendment was meant to actually do.

Any remaining enthusiasm on Kunselman and Smith’s part, for further exploration of the amendment earmarking the additional revenue from Verizon, was diminished when Fraser pointed out the effective date of the Verizon agreement: July 1, 2010. The shortfall Smith is trying to address is for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2010.

Outcome: Smith withdrew her amendment and the council unanimously approved the Verizon deal.

Greenbelt Consultant

The greenbelt advisory commission uses the services of a consultant, The Conservation Fund, to help make decisions about the use of money collected through the city’s greenbelt millage. In response to a request for proposals sent to 10 land conservation firms, The Conservation Fund was the only one to respond – it is the current consultant for the city on greenbelt management.

In 2007 council approved a three-year contract for the Conservation Fund at $209,879 for the first year, $222,175 in year two and $233,460 for year three.

The agenda item considered on Monday night called for a one-year contract for $119,565 and for possible renewals at $113,661 for a second year and $106,797 for the second year.

Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) announced that he’d be voting against the contract. Saying it was a time to cut back, he said that city staff could evaluate land acquisition and that instead of paying The Conservation Fund, the money could flow into the city departments with the staff doing the analysis – the planning department or the chief financial officer’s department.

In responding to Kunselman, Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) and Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) – who serves on the greenbelt advisory commission – both stressed two points: (i) greenbelt millage money could not be used for other general fund purposes, and (ii) city staff did not have the specific skill set for land preservation and acquisition.

What Kunselman appeared to be proposing – and which he confirmed for The Chronicle after the meeting – was not that greenbelt millage monies could be saved and re-purposed for general fund uses. Rather, he was suggesting that if city staff performed analysis on behalf of the greenbelt, then that city staff effort could be invoiced against the millage money.

Outcome: The council approved the contract with The Conservation Fund, with dissent from Kunselman.


We begin with some background before summarizing remarks made during public commentary.

Background on Firefighter Layoffs

The city of Ann Arbor does budget planning in two-year cycles, but formally adopts a budget one year at a time. The current fiscal year, FY 2010, is the first year of a two-year cycle. So the plan for FY 2011 has not yet been formally adopted. Formal adoption of the FY 2011 budget will happen in May 2010.

The FY 2011 plan, presented to the city council in January 2009, included the layoff of 14 firefighters. But when the FY 2010 budget was adopted, city administrator Roger Fraser warned that possible additional mid-year cuts might be required – such as accelerating the layoff of firefighters by six months. At the Dec. 5 city council budget retreat, Fraser told council that the firefighter layoffs would be implemented the following week, unless he received different direction from the council. The council did not give any alternate instructions, and the 30-day notice of layoff was sent on Dec. 9, 2009.

Based on the closed session that the city council undertook at its Dec. 21 meeting, there may exist some outside chance that layoffs might yet be forestalled.

Public Commentary from Firefighters: What Do They Do?

Matt Schroeder, president of the firefighters Local 693 union, had signed up for a reserved slot for public commentary at the start of the meeting, but was bumped out of the first 10 slots, and thus had to wait until the end of the meeting.

[The council makes 10 3-minute slots available at the start of the meeting that must be reserved with the city clerk in advance. It's a first-come, first-served basis, with the provision that remarks on agenda items are given priority over those who wish to address a topic not on the council's agenda. Speakers have a second opportunity to speak at the conclusion of the meeting, where no reservation is required and the topic is unconstrained.]

Schroeder was followed at the podium by firefighter Craig Ferris.

Schroeder said that the Local 693 had attempted to negotiate in good faith and that they recognized the budget constraints that the city faced. He said that the union had offered a one-time cost reduction that should have been sufficient to forestall layoffs, but that the city contended they had not identified enough savings.

Schroeder and several other firefighters attended the Dec. 5 city council budget retreat. Schroeder said that he’d been disappointed to hear talk at that retreat to the effect of “don’t let the union get the upper hand.”

Ferris dealt mainly with the question of what the firefighters’ responsibility was – at the Dec. 5 budget retreat, they’d heard councilmembers ask city staff how many “actual fire calls” they went on and the answer had been around 250. In his remarks to the council, Ferris focused on the material that he’d compiled into a report that laid out the several thousand other calls besides fire suppression that the firefighters handled [.txt file of "What We Do"]. Among those were over 3,300 medical emergency calls, plus over 1,000 calls in the category of either a “false alarm” or “good intent.”

City Employees: Benefits, Meeting

City staff as a group came up twice during the council’s meeting.

Tweak to Benefits

The council approved a change to the city’s pension ordinance affecting non-union employees. What is currently a 5% post-tax contribution to the pension fund was changed to a pre-tax contribution. It will not change the amount of money contributed to the pension fund, but will reduce the amount of income tax now paid by employees.

The change was brought forward by the city’s head of human resources, Robyn Wilkerson, who’s now been with the city a little over a year.

All-Employee Meeting

City administrator Roger Fraser announced during his communications to the city council that on Jan. 12, 2010 there would be a two-hour all-employee meeting to discuss the budget environment that the city is facing.

Environment: Recycling and Energy

Two items related to the environment appeared on the agenda.

Single Stream Recycling Carts

Though it received no discussion, the council authorized purchase of 33,000 recycling carts for $1,428,620. Tom McMurtrie, the city’s solid waste coordinator, was on hand in case of any questions, but there were none. The council had heard details of the plan at a work session, and authorized the modification to the materials recovery center for single-stream processing at a previous meeting. [Chronicle coverage: "Council OKs Recycling, Transit, Shelter" and "Work Session: Trains, Trash, Taxes"]

Energy Grant: Special Financing District

The council voted to accept an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1,243,400. Andrew Brix, the city’s energy coordinator, explained to council that the money will be used by the city in a variety of ways: (i) Phase II of the LED streetlight replacement, which would replace all streetlights outside of downtown with LED lights, (ii) some small renewable energy demonstration sites for photovoltaic panels, solar hot water, and windmills, and (iii) a community program to assist homeowners in making energy improvements. [Chronicle coverage: "Special District Might Fund Energy Program"]

This third use would require passage of some enabling legislation by the state legislature – a bill is in the works in Lansing.

Other Public Commentary


Pedestrian Crosswalk Issues

Kathy Griswold addressed the council at the conclusion of its meeting during general public commentary.

King Elementary School crossing

King Elementary School crossing's current location next to the driveway entrance to the school. (Photo by the writer.)

She reiterated her frustration about getting some action on the mid-block pedestrian crossing near King Elementary School. [Griswold has previously conveyed her concerns to the council through the fall of 2009 on several occasions – at Sunday caucus meetings and regular council meetings.]

Griswold reminded council that the request to move the crosswalk – from mid-block to the intersection where cars are already required to stop – had been requested by the PTO president and supported by the school principal and signed off on by city staff.

Griswold reported that the city had responded to a request she’d made under the Freedom of Information Act with a message from city administrator, Roger Fraser, to a city engineer. In that message, Griswold said, Fraser asks the engineer to talk to him before scheduling a meeting with all the various stakeholders.

Missing Sidewalk to Four-Way Stop

The proposed crosswalk location is at the intersection with the stop sign. The school is behind the photographer. The asphalt path at the left is on the school-side of the street. It's between the end of the asphalt path and the intersection that a sidewalk would need to be constructed. (Photo by the writer.)

[By way of background, putting the crosswalk at the intersection would put children on the school-side of the street at a location where there is no sidewalk leading the rest of the way to the school. So the construction of a sidewalk for that stretch – about 100 feet by The Chronicle's guesstimate, based on visual inspection – is part and parcel of moving the crosswalk.]

Griswold contended that it boiled down to the fact that one of the stakeholders – the property owner on the adjoining property where the sidewalk would need to be constructed – did not want to shovel the snow off the sidewalk. [In Ann Arbor, property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks free of snow and ice, as well as replacing cracked slabs.]

Griswold’s remarks to the council comes during a period of recent heightened publicity about specific pedestrian safety issues in the city [Chronicle coverage of "7th & Washington" and  [YouTube video].


Henry Herskovitz spoke to the council during general public commentary time at the end of the meeting. He began by thanking the council for allowing him to speak and wished them a merry Christmas. He reminded them that last year during Hanukkah, Israel had launched a military operation “Cast Lead” that had resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Palestinians.

The name of the operation, Herskovitz said, stemmed in part from an allusion to the dreidel, which is a spinning top used in a game traditionally played during Hanukkah. A dreidel is traditionally made of cast lead. [The dreidel is a four-sided top and can land with any of the four faces facing up – the Hebrew letter on each face dictates what happens in the game.]

The timing of Israel’s military action and its name had led some to call it the Hanukkah Massacre, Herskovitz said. He then read aloud some of the subheadings from a report on the action compiled by Richard Goldstone for the United Nations – they included “indiscriminate attacks by Israeli soldiers,” and “certain weapons,” which Herskovitz described in greater detail as white phosphorus, flechettes, and DIME (dense inert metal explosives) weapons.

He concluded by suggesting that at Christmas we should reflect on why our government supports the Israeli government.

Updates from Councilmembers and Administration


Task Forces: Mack Pool and Senior Center

Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) gave an update from the Dec. 10 meeting of the Mack pool task force, which was formed to explore possibilities of reducing expenses and increasing revenues to a level where the pool could remain open. It’s slated for closure as part of the FY 2011 budget plan. [Chronicle coverage of the meeting Hohnke described: "More Options for Mack Pool." The task force for the Ann Arbor Senior Center, which is also slated to close, met recently too: Chronicle coverage: "Task Force Tries to Save Senior Center"]

Parks Parking

Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) gave his colleagues a heads up that the park advisory commission, on which he serves as a representative from the city council, would be sending along a resolution to the council on football Saturday parking. Their recommendation, which might generate around $30,000 per year to contribute to the budget, would allow football Saturday parking in two city parks: Allmendinger and Frisinger. [Chronicle coverage: "Parking in the Parks, Art on the River"]

Library Lot Proposals

Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) gave an update on the review of development proposals for the top of the underground parking garage on Fifth Avenue. Key points were that two of the proposals had been dropped, with in-person interviews for the remaining four scheduled for Jan. 18. An RFQ would be issued around the first of the year to identify a consultant to help with the analysis. [Chronicle coverage: "Two Library Lot Proposals Eliminated"]

Mike Anglin (Ward 5) weighed in, saying that he thought that dropping the two proposals from consideration now was a disservice, because the public had been led to believe that they would have adequate opportunity, as owners of the land, to comment on the proposals. He described how the space might be configured to allow graduations to take place or to allow the mayor to address thousands of people. He questioned whether a hotel was even viable, given current hotel occupancy rates.

Rapundalo responded to what he called misperceptions about the process. He noted that one of the key criteria was the financial benefit to the city of Ann Arbor, and that the two dropped proposals would likely cost the city in maintenance and possibly also in construction.

A second misperception, Rapundalo said, was the assumption that a hotel of some kind would be built on the lot.  He rejected that assumption, saying it was quite possible that none of the current proposals would be accepted.

A third point, Rapundalo said, was the idea that the public would have no opportunity to comment on the proposals. On Jan. 18, when the in-person interviews were scheduled, there was would be a robust public participation component, both in the formal question-and-answer session as well as at an open house, he said.

During public commentary, Alan Haber, who had helped conceive and submit one of the two dropped proposals for the Library Lot, said that he wanted to correct the minutes of the Downtown Development Authority’s Nov. 4 meeting, which he characterized as highly inaccurate. He said that he had risen to speak about the partnership model for the operation of the space, and he had not advocated for a small building as the DDA meeting minutes had stated. He said he’d supported a large community center as a gathering place. He said that the review committee, which had dropped the two proposals for open space, did not hear that the benefits of such space are immeasurable and priceless. He called upon the council to use their imaginations to see the larger public benefit.

Transportation: WATS, Washtenaw Avenue

Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) reported that the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, which is responsible for transportation planning in the county, was celebrating its 35th anniversary. For 29 of those years, the organization had been led served by Terri Blackmore, he said. [Blackmore began her work with WATS in 1979, first as research coordinator, then as deputy director, before being named executive director in 2001.] Hohnke serves as the city council liaison to WATS.

Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) reported that as part of the Ann Arbor Region Success Initiative, progress was being made on re-thinking what Washtenaw Avenue might look like. Topics being addressed by the working group include setbacks, parking, non-motorized infrastructure, transportation nodes and coordination of traffic signals.   The corridor crossed through four communities, he said: Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Township, Pittsfield Township, and Ypsilanti. Leading the effort, he said, was Anya Dale, who’s a planner with Washtenaw County.

City Hall Elevators

When The Chronicle arrived at the Larcom building for the council meeting, we waited for a few minutes at the elevator before concluding that it was not in working order. As we reached that conclusion, city administrator Roger Fraser entered the building. He explained that this was a perhaps once-weekly occurrence.

During his communications to the council, Fraser reported that to address the problem, the one non-working elevator had been shut down – the two work in synch, and when one is on, but out of order, the other one will stop moving, too. He could not commit to the elevator working when people left the meeting, but said that it would be “more likely.”

Budget Meetings: Staff Meeting, Council Workshop

City administrator Roger Fraser announced during his communications to the city council that on Jan. 12, 2010 there would be a two-hour all-employee meeting to discuss the budget environment that the city is facing.

He told the council that there would be a budget workshop for them beginning at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25. The meeting is open to the public.

Stadium Bridges, Trees, Water Mains

City administrator Roger Fraser said that he’d met Friday with state Rep. Rebekah Warren, U.S. Congressman John Dingell and representatives of the Michigan Department of Transportation on the question of funding for the replacement of the East Stadium bridges. The local alternative, if none of the usual sources of funding materialize, said Fraser, was money from the street repair millage – it would take about two years’ worth of that millage, he said. They’d received conflicting information about the timing of any announcement about the city’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application.

Fraser reported that the city had had a goal of planting 1,000 trees in the current fiscal year and that by halfway through the year, they’d planted 700 trees.

He also said that a water main leak had occurred in the area of Washtenaw Avenue, Huron River Drive Street, and Palmer. He said there currently did not appear to be a danger of flooding that would stop traffic and that the city was addressing the situation.

Argo Dam

Fraser reported that data had come back from piezometers that had been installed on the headrace embankment near Argo Dam and that the readings indicated there was no immediate threat of collapse. Mayor John Hieftje chimed in to say that it validated the position of the city that perhaps the toe drains did not need to be worked on – the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has admonished the city to address maintenance problems with the toe drains for several years. [Chronicle coverage: "City-MDEQ Agree: Argo Headrace Shut"]

Snow Removal: Pittsfield Village

Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) reported that the city had struck a deal to subcontract out snow removal with the Pittsfield Village Condominium Association. In that area, Taylor said, the city had a hard time doing snow removal well – due to the winding streets and the lack of lawn extensions.

Taylor said that Melissa Brown of the association, former Ward 3 councilmember Leigh Greden and Sue McCormick, who’s the city’s public services area administrator, had worked to come up with the arrangement.  The association would be able to use a snow removal provider that could use smaller vehicles to navigate the tighter quarters, and street snow removal could be coordinated with sidewalk snow clearing.

Present: Stephen Rapundalo, Mike Anglin, Margie Teall, Sandi Smith, Tony Derezinski, Stephen Kunselman, John Hieftje, Christopher Taylor, Carsten Hohnke.

Absent: Sabra Briere, Marcia Higgins.

Next council meeting: Monday, Jan. 4, 2009 at 7 p.m. in council chambers, 2nd floor of the Guy C. Larcom, Jr. Municipal Building, 100 N. Fifth Ave. [confirm date]


  1. By Cosmonican
    December 27, 2009 at 8:49 am | permalink

    Is “rational person” code for “carpetbagger”?

  2. By suswhit
    December 27, 2009 at 10:35 am | permalink

    In that email Rapundalo wrote about Anglin’s possible continued service on the liquor committee, which Rapundalo chairs: “I’d like to have a rational person with me if Anglin continues.”

    Niiiiice. Apparently the Peter Lorre look-a-like has found himself a a new sinister role to play. (rubs hand menacingly on chin)

    What exactly makes these people think that they can or should “script” the work of council? The arrogance is truly outstanding.

  3. By Cosmonican
    December 27, 2009 at 11:57 am | permalink

    On second thought, perhaps “rational person” means ‘closeted Republican…with hand caught firmly in cookie jar’.

  4. December 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm | permalink

    Is it possible to have a link to the email being quoted? Context is useful.

  5. By Dave Askins
    December 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm | permalink

    Re: [4] Context can be provided in a variety of ways. Here I chose to provide it through description without supplementing that description with an original source document. One reason for that choice was efficiency — the city provided the email exchange as a printed paper copy in response to a request under the FOIA. Another reason is that I thought the context already provided was adequate to understand the quote from Rapundalo. To make explicit what’s implicit in that description, it came as a part of a email discussion about the annual re-organization of council committees from last year, and Rapundalo was responding to the idea that Anglin would continue to serve with Rapundalo on the liquor committee.

  6. December 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm | permalink

    OK, I was curious about the line or two that preceded it. Sometimes a query can lead a person to say something snarky.

    Actually, I’m tired of the nastiness from those council emails being repeated. I think that their (CM) actions on issues are more alarming than their personal nastiness to one another. Rapundalo is after all the one who pushed to eliminate open space options on the library lot proposals and who opened the budget retreat by speaking of amputating parts of the city corpus.

  7. By Dave Askins
    December 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm | permalink

    Re: [6] “Rapundalo is after all the one who pushed to eliminate open space options on the library lot proposals and who opened the budget retreat by speaking of amputating parts of the city corpus.”

    Bear in mind that there are several other people on that RFP committee that Rapundalo is chairing, none of whom I’d consider to be fragile flowers. And the committee showed a clear consensus view on the elimination of the two open space proposals.

    As for Rapundalo’s reference to the need to “amputate,” I give him credit for being brutally frank in describing the harsh realities we face. But I take Vivienne’s criticism of those remarks not to be a critique of his failure to mince words, but rather the choice it reflects in a world where you either amputate or continue to treat with antibiotics. With the amputation scenario, energy becomes focused on which limbs (people, programs) to cut. But with the “treat with antibiotics scenario” it’s just not clear to me what the range of possible prescriptions even looks like.

  8. December 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm | permalink

    Yes, the RFP committee did have consensus but councilmember Rapundalo made comments even in the prior meeting that made his stance clear. I don’t believe that I am being unfair in characterizing his position.

    As to the “amputate” statement, it was made as a sort of humorous aside, but I thought it an accurate statement of his views. I noted that he was quick to exempt the Economic Development fund from any cuts when councilmember Kunselman suggested that the Google parking and the rest of that special set-aside fund might be used to stem the bleeding (to continue our medical analogy).

  9. By Jerry
    December 27, 2009 at 7:00 pm | permalink

    Let’s see, Fraser said the 14 firefighters cost the city an estimated $1.4 Millon per year. He wants to lay them off 6 months early and states it will save $396,000. Isn’t half of 1.4 millon $700,000? Is Fraser using Enron accounting?

    And let’s not forget that we’re ‘cutting’ back. But we’ll close 2 fire stations and lay off firefighters, and in the same breath spend $1.4 millon on new garbage cans. This city is a joke. Kunsleman is the only one in touch with reality, but is surrounded by ignorance.

  10. By Judith Foy
    December 30, 2009 at 8:26 am | permalink

    “On Jan. 18, when the in-person interviews were scheduled, there was a robust public participation component, both in the formal question-and-answer session as well as at an open house, he said.”

    Dave – I’m confused on tense here; isn’t the 1/18 meeting scheduled for next month…& how when did all this robustness occur?

  11. By Dave Askins
    December 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm | permalink

    Re: [10] and the past and future of robust public participation. Judy, I believe an attempted subjunctive may have been muddled somewhere in revisions or redactions. Yes, Jan. 18 awaits us in the future, and I’ve swapped out “was” with “would be.”