Intent on Street/Sidewalk Tax Use OK’d

At its Oct. 17, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a resolution of intent for the use of proceeds from a street/sidewalk repair millage that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The council had considered the resolution of intent at its Oct. 3 meeting and before that at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Voters will be asked to approve two separate proposals: (1) a 5-year renewal of a 2.0 mill tax to support street repair projects; and (2) a 0.125 mill tax to pay for sidewalk repair.

The resolution of intent specifies that the street repair millage will pay for the following activities: resurfacing or reconstruction of existing paved city streets and bridges, including on-street bicycle lanes and street intersections; construction of pedestrian refuge islands; reconstruction and construction of accessible street crossings and corner ramps; and preventive pavement maintenance (PPM) measures, including pavement crack sealing. [.pdf of unamended Oct 3, 2011 version of resolution of intent]

At the Oct. 3 meeting, councilmembers had questions about the need to have any resolution of intent, as well as the status of millage revenue use inside the geographic area of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. At the Oct. 17 meeting, Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) offered an amendment specifying that the millage amount levied inside the DDA district would be provided for the DDA to undertake the necessary repairs inside the district.

The resolution of intent had originally stipulated that sidewalk repairs inside the Ann Arbor DDA district would not be funded by the sidewalk repair millage, except when the sidewalks are adjacent to single- and two-family houses. A recent meeting of the DDA’s operations committee revealed a measure of discontent on the DDA’s part about the intended restriction inside the DDA district and the lack of communication from the city of Ann Arbor to the DDA about that issue.

Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) have stated in the course of their re-election campaigns that they only reluctantly support the sidewalk repair millage. Rapundalo has characterized the sidewalk millage as simply offering voters a choice. Though not up for re-election this year, mayor John Hieftje stated at the DDA’s Oct. 5 board meeting that he did not think councilmembers are out in the community saying that the city absolutely needs the sidewalk millage or that it’s essential. Like Rapundalo, the mayor characterizes the sidewalk millage as offering residents a choice of having the city take over the responsibility for sidewalk repair.

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]