AAATA Dogs Fire Hydrant Issue

A fire hydrant at the south end of the property on South Industrial Highway – where the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority’s headquarters is located – might finally be moved. The AAATA board has authorized a $109,000 contract with Blaze Contracting to relocate the hydrant, in a resolution approved at a special meeting held on July 23, 2013.

The previous authorization to award a contract with RBV Contracting was rescinded. That had been approved by the board at a meeting a year ago, on July 16, 2012. The board’s July 23, 2013 resolution includes an amount of $35,000 to cover city of Ann Arbor permits, physical testing and additional oversight – to be provided by Spence Brothers (AAATA’s construction manager).

The reason the fire hydrant has not already been moved by RVC Contracting is described in minutes of the AAATA’s planning and development committee meeting, held on July 9, 2013. The minutes state that the lag is “due to delays in obtaining an easement agreement and a change in the scope of the project before a contract was ever awarded for the work.”

The city of Ann Arbor is requiring that the hydrant be moved – as part of the AAATA’s bus garage expansion project. In its new location, the hydrant will connect to the adjacent property, owned by the University of Michigan, creating a continuous loop for the fire hydrant system.

Minutes of the AAATA’s planning and development committee, which reviewed the fire hydrant contract, indicate that board member Sue Gott abstained from the vote because the issue involved negotiations with the University of Michigan, which is her employer. She also abstained from the vote at the July 23 board meeting.

The board did not have a regular meeting scheduled for the month of July – so in order to take action on the fire hydrant contract, it was necessary to call a special meeting. There was also an outside chance that the special meeting could have been used to vote on placing a new transportation millage on the November 2013 ballot. [For background see: "AATA Adds Ypsilanti, Expands Potential"] However, the board did not contemplate that action at its July 23 meeting – as CEO Michael Ford indicated during his report to the board that a November 2013 millage was probably not realistic. Instead, he said, a May 2014 request of voters could be considered.

This brief was filed from the AAATA headquarters at 2700 S. Industrial Highway, where the board held its special meeting. A more complete report will follow: [link]