Parks Group Recommends Tax Renewal

A 1.1 mill renewal of the Ann Arbor park maintenance and capital improvements millage will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, if the city council follows a unanimous recommendation of the Ann Arbor park advisory group. PAC voted at its June 19, 2012 meeting to recommend that the council put the millage renewal on the ballot.

The current 1.1 mill tax expires this year. A renewal would run from 2013-2018 and raise about $4.9 million next year. The recommended allocation of revenues is 70% for park maintenance activities, and 30% for park capital improvement projects. Of that allocation, up to 10% can be shifted between the two categories as needed.

Examples of park maintenance activities include “forestry and horticulture, natural area preservation, park operations, recreation facilities, and targets of opportunity,” according to a staff memo. Capital improvement projects would cover parks, forestry and horticulture, historic preservation, neighborhood parks and urban plazas, park operations, pathways, trails, boardwalks, greenways and watersheds, and recreation facilities.

PAC was first briefed about the millage renewal at its March 22, 2012 meeting. At the time, PAC chair Julie Grand – who served on a working group to strategize about the renewal – said concerns about the economic climate were a major reason why an increase wasn’t being recommended. City parks staff and PAC members subsequently held several public forums about the renewal that were sparsely attended.

The proposed ballot language reads as follows: “Shall the city renew the existing park maintenance and capital improvements millage for 2013 through 2018, which will raise in the first year of the levy an estimated revenue of $4,900,000 for park maintenance and park capital improvements?”

This brief was filed from the second-floor city council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron, where PAC meets. A more detailed report will follow: [link]