Council Asks DDA to Fund Downtown Police

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has now been encouraged through a formal resolution of the city council to consider paying for three police officers to be assigned to the downtown. The total annual cost would be about $270,000.

The council’s action came at its June 3, 2013 meeting, two weeks after the council set its FY 2014 budget – during a May 20, 2013 debate that ultimately rejected funding for three additional police officers. The proposed budget amendment, which failed on a 5-6 vote, had been brought forward by Jane Lumm (Ward 2). The amendment would have reduced the budget of the 15th District Court by $270,000.

The resolution on June 3 was brought forward by Lumm and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), who both supported the unsuccessful attempt to reduce the 15th District Court budget to fund police. The June 3 resolution came partly in response to the sentiments expressed during the FY 2014 budget debate, when some councilmembers on the prevailing side had said they’d prefer for additional police to be paid for by the DDA.

The DDA itself has designated $300,000 in its parking fund budget for the next year as “discretionary” and has previously discussed allocating that money to a “clean and safe” initiative – which could include funding police officers. However, sentiments on the DDA board have been mixed about the exact nature of the staffing the DDA would like to pay for. Some DDA board members have indicated a preference for hiring staff who would act as “ambassadors” – not police.

The DDA board meets next on June 5, 2013. For a Chronicle op-ed on this general topic, see: “Counting on the DDA to Fund Police?

Dissenting on the June 3 resolution were Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Margie Teall (Ward 4).

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]