Stories indexed with the term ‘caucus’

City Council Caucus, Plus Other Questions

A little less than a week after hearing a presentation from city administrator Roger Fraser on his recommended budget for fiscal year 2010 and a plan for 2011, mayor pro tem Marcia Higgins canceled council’s regularly scheduled Sunday night caucus (April 19). No explanation was provided on the city’s website for the cancellation, which was posted on Friday. At least one citizen was alerted to the canceled meeting by reading a sign on city hall’s door at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.

Council must act to amend the recommended budget by its second meeting in May – or the administrator’s recommended budget is automatically adopted, a provision of Ann Arbor’s city charter. There are thus possibly two more caucus meetings before council makes its decision on the recommended budget, which contains a number of proposed cuts.

One of the possible functions of council’s caucus is to assemble “caucus questions” – questions from council to city staff about issues they are going to be considering. Some council members have contended that electronic mail is a far more efficient method of communication, and that caucus is not an efficient use of their time.

Recognizing  that the work that would otherwise be accomplished at caucus can achieved via electronic mail, The Chronicle asked all councilmembers and the mayor to forward their caucus questions to us, in an effort to move the more mundane and tedious work of council more squarely into public view. We report below the responses we received, plus the questions The Chronicle has identified in connection with the city’s budget – some of which have already been answered. [Full Story]

Discontent Emerges at Council Caucus

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Feb. 1, 2009): The four Ann Arbor councilmembers who convened for caucus on Sunday night heard voices of dissent from the public on the police-courts facility, plus the expression of discontent from some of their own on a range of issues – from as-yet unapproved zoning standards to fiscal policy. Based on the Sunday night caucus, possible outcomes from Monday’s council meeting could include the elimination of the new council/public meeting space from the police-courts project and the tabling of the Farmers Market renovation. [Full Story]

Council Caucus Sparsely Attended

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Jan 18, 2009): Attendance at city council’s Sunday caucus was light: Mike Anglin, who represents Ward 5, had council chambers to himself. None of his colleagues on council or any members of the public attended. Several factors may have combined to contribute to the lack of enthusiasm for caucus on that particular evening, which is not a required meeting on the part of council.

It’s unlikely that lack of interest in the subject matter on the agenda affected attendance. Council’s agenda indicates that it will receive an annual update from the AATA’s board chair David Nacht. He will likely have something to say about WALLY (the proposed north-south commuter rail), … [Full Story]

Solid Waste Committee? Anyone? Anyone?

Administrative briefing and appointments caucus (Jan. 14, 2009): A staff briefing attended by all but two of the 11 Washtenaw County commissioners on Wednesday evening went quickly, previewing a relatively light agenda for the Jan. 21 meeting – the first full board meeting to be led by the new chair, Rolland Sizemore Jr. Taking up a bit more time was a caucus immediately following the briefing, where commissioners made an initial pass at divvying up committee duties for the year. [Full Story]

Germantown: Study It or Not?

Ann Arbor City Council Caucus (Dec. 14, 2008) At its Sunday caucus, city council discussed two items on its agenda for Monday night:

  • Historic District Study Committee – a resolution to appoint a study committee to determine the suitability of establishing a historic district called Germantown, which would include roughly the area bounded on the north by William Street, on the west by Fourth Avenue, on the south by Madison Street and on the east by Division Street.
  • Graffiti Ordinance – a resolution to amend the city’s code to set forth punishments for graffiti, both for applying it and for allowing it to remain in place.

Discussion of the historic district study committee was driven by attendance at caucus of interested parties to the decision. Those parties included several residents of the neighborhood as well as a developer who has a project located inside the district of the proposed study. That project (City Place) is currently being considered by council.

William Street and Fourth Avenue looking southeast.

William Street and Fourth Avenue looking southeast. The view takes in a large part of the area for which a historic district study committee is proposed. (Image links to higher resolution file.)

[Full Story]

Meeting Watch: Pre-council Caucus (16 Nov 2008)

In a Sunday evening caucus where no members of the general public except for The Chronicle appeared, councilmembers who were present focused their attention mostly on a liquor license transfer, which is on Monday’s agenda. But Marcia Higgins, Sabra Briere, plus newly elected members of council Carsten Hohnke, Sandi Smith, and Tony Derezinski, revealed some quiz-worthy trivia in the course of their deliberations. [Full Story]

Fuller Likely Choice for Road Commission

Unless an unforeseen set of circumstances leads Jeff Irwin, chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, to change his mind, the name he will put forward next Wednesday, Oct. 15, as his recommendation to fill the open slot on the county’s road commission is Douglas Fuller. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: Pre-Council Caucus (5 Oct 2008)

Councilmembers listened to concerns from citizens related to the 601 S. Forest project, an alley off Fourth Avenue downtown, odd easement conditions put forth by the University of Michigan, the city’s long-term financial health, and ballot language limiting sale of park land. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: Pre-Council Caucus (21 Sept 2008)

Four councilmembers (Sabra Briere, Stephen Rapundalo, Mike Anglin, Marcia Higgins) heard from interested parties on four different topics: the sidewalk repair program, the 133 Hill St. site plan, the merger between Avalon Housing and Washtenaw Affordable Housing Commission, and City Place. [Full Story]

Where’s This? A2 Stuff

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Set of steps from sidewalk hatch previously leading to a basement.

These old wooden stairs likely pique the curiosity of passersby, whether they are longtime residents or first-time visitors. For one thing, they don’t lead anywhere. The Chronicle had previously corresponded via electronic mail with the owners of the steps about their history.

And two Sunday evenings ago when we spotted two people emerging from the office space in front of which the stairs are mounted – armed with schematic drawings affixed to large pieces of foam core – we figured they were headed the same direction we were: to Sunday night caucus at city council chambers in the Larcom Building.

So we took the opportunity to make face-to-face introductions, and to get the story behind the steps. [Full Story]