Ann Arbor Council Finally Passes Budget

At the May 31, 2011 session of its meeting that had begun two weeks before, on May 16, the Ann Arbor city council finally approved its FY 2012 budget. The budget as proposed totals roughly $78 million in general fund revenues and tapped the reserves for a bit more than $1 million.

At their May 16 meeting, councilmembers had chosen to recess the meeting until 7 p.m. on Monday, May 23, 2011 because of uncertainty about the status of a new parking agreement with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The decision to recess the meeting and continue it a week later was driven by a city charter requirement that the council adopt its budget no later than the second meeting in May, which began May 16. The meeting resumed on May 23, only to be recessed immediately again until May 31.

The city administrator’s proposed budget, which was submitted to the council in April, had included cuts in public safety positions that totaled 20 positions across the police and fire departments. In the proposed budget, that translated to the layoff of five sworn police officers and five firefighters. On May 31, Barnett Jones, head of public safety services, said that one retirement in the police department and two in the fire department would now reduce the number of layoffs to four and three in police and fire, respectively.

A proposal by Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) to use part of the city’s fund reserve balance to pay for four police positions for an additional three months failed on a 5-6 vote.

Amendments to the budget approved on May 31 included: (1) use of $85,600 in general fund reserves to add to human services funding; (2) use of $90,804 in general fund reserves to add to the parks allocation; (3) use of $7,000 in general fund reserves to cover the cost of an additional primary election (as proposed, the FY 2012 budget anticipated primaries in only two of the city’s five wards); and (4) acknowledgment of an additional $87,452 from the DDA’s parking fund to the city’s general fund resulting from the newly ratified parking contract.

The city of Ann Arbor’s total budget as proposed, including all of its funds (major street fund, parks millage, water fund, sewer fund, etc.) stands at $312,182,605 for FY 2012.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]