Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Dec. 21, 2009) Part II: In Part I of our report, we handled two meeting topics clearly related to the looming budget shortfall: public art expenditures and parking revenue.
Two rows of firefighters from the International Association of Firefighters Local 693 – layoff notices have already been sent to some of them – sat in the audience through the whole meeting, which lasted until midnight.
Like the firefighters, sitting at least in the background of nearly every item on the agenda, were the looming budget issues that the city council faces.
When they came to the foreground, the concerns about the budget managed to connect topics as seemingly disparate as Verizon antennae and parking revenues.
Even a garden-variety contract with a consultant for the greenbelt provoked some brief discussion related to the budget shortfall.
The impetus behind the council’s committee reorganization was again … the budget. What was previously one budget and labor committee was split into two committees: (i) the budget committee, and (ii) the labor committee, which is now combined with the council administration committee. That reorganization was pitched as a way to allow representation from each ward on the five-member budget committee.
Councilmembers and the city administrator also made robust use of the communications section of the agenda to provide status updates on their recent work – much of it related to efforts to identify new revenue streams and ways to cut expenses as part of the effort to meet budget goals.
In other business, the purchase of carts for single-stream recycling was authorized, plus an energy grant totaling over $1 million was accepted.