Among Appointments, Collins OK’d for DDA

As one of several nominations confirmed by the Ann Arbor city council at its July 15, 2013 meeting, Russ Collins was approved for a third four-year term on the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The council’s vote was unanimous. Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater, began his service on the DDA board in 2005.

The council also confirmed Jane Immonen, John Bassett, and Patrick Ion to the Elizabeth Dean Trust Fund committee. Sue Perry was nominated by mayor John Hieftje at the July 15 meeting to serve on that committee too. The vote on her confirmation will come at the council’s next meeting. The responsibility of the committee is to make recommendations on the use of the Dean Trust Fund money for special projects involving trees. The committee was established in 1975 to oversee the use of the investment earnings from a nearly $2 million bequest made to the city by Elizabeth Dean. According to a Nov. 10, 1974 Ann Arbor News article, the bequest was made in the early 1960s to “repair, maintain and replace trees on city property.” The principal amount remains intact.

Also confirmed at the council’s July 15 meeting were Geoffrey Mayers and Kevin Busch to the housing board of appeals, and Heather Lewis to the zoning board of appeals.

The council also confirmed the appointment of Jean Cares to the city’s greenbelt advisory commission (GAC). That group is responsible for making recommendations for land acquisition using proceeds of the city’s open space and parkland preservation millage. Several seats on the commission have specific qualifications attached to them, including one for someone “who is an agricultural landowner or operates an agricultural business.” That’s the seat Cares will fill, as owner of the Dexter Mill. Tom Bloomer, a Webster Township farmer, previously held that position but was term-limited.

Also at the council’s July 15 meeting, John Ramsburgh’s name was brought forward to serve on the greenbelt advisory commission. The fact that he’d be nominated was announced by Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) at the last meeting of GAC on July 11, 2013. Taylor serves as the city council representative to GAC. Unlike most appointments, the nominations for GAC are made by the council, not the mayor. The nomination is typically handled by placing the appointment on the agenda for one meeting, postponing the vote (which serves to give notice of the nomination), and then voting on the appointment at the next meeting of the council. That’s how Ramsburgh’s nomination was handled on July 15.

Ramsburgh is a development officer with the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science & the Arts. He also is the son of Ellen Ramsburgh, a long-time member of the Ann Arbor historic district commission, and its former chair. He is filling a position previously held by Dan Ezekiel, who was also term limited.

Also at the council’s July 15 meeting, Richard Beedon was nominated for re-appointment to the board of the local development finance authority (LDFA). Terms on the LDFA are four years, so Beedon’s term extends to within one year of the end of the LDFA’s planned 15-year life in FY 2018.

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]