Stories indexed with the term ‘FY 2014 budget’

DDA Does Routine Budget Maintenance

Routine annual budget adjustments totaling about $2 million have been approved by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board. Action to adjust the FY 2014 budget came at the board’s final meeting of the fiscal year, on June 4, 2014.

The main part of the adjustment was a $1.6 million payment made for the First & Washington parking garage, which is part of the City Apartments project. The amount was budgeted for last year, but not paid until this year.

The rest of the adjustment was attributable to expenditures out of the housing fund – $500,000 of it to support Ann Arbor Housing Commission projects. The remaining $37,500 went to support a countywide housing needs assessment – an amount that was approved by … [Full Story]

County Holds Hearing on Proposed Budget

No one spoke at a public hearing on the proposed 2014-2017 Washtenaw County general fund budget, held at the Oct. 16, 2013 county board of commissioners meeting. The hearing took place after midnight.

County administrator Verna McDaniel and her finance staff had presented the budget on Oct. 2, 2013.

The $103,005,127 million budget for 2014 – which represents a slight decrease from the 2013 expenditures of $103,218,903 – includes putting a net total of 8.47 full-time-equivalent jobs on “hold vacant” status, as well as the net reduction of a 0.3 FTE position. The recommended budgets for the following years are $103,977,306 in 2015, $105,052,579 in 2016, and $106,590,681 in 2017. The budgets are based on an estimated 1% annual increase in … [Full Story]

County Board Weighs $103M Budget

At their Oct. 2, 2013 meeting, Washtenaw County administrator Verna McDaniel  presented a four-year general fund budget to county commissioners, for the years 2014-2017. The board discussed but ultimately postponed giving initial approval to the $103,005,127 million budget for 2014, which represents a slight decrease from the 2013 expenditures of $103,218,903.

A total of 8.47 full-time-equivalent jobs will be put on “hold vacant” status, and a 0.3 FTE position will be eliminated.

The recommended budgets for the following years are $103,977,306 in 2015, $105,052,579 in 2016, and $106,590,681 in 2017. The budgets are based on an estimated 1% annual increase in property tax revenues. [.pdf of draft budget summary]

McDaniel had previously indicated that the county would need to find $3.9 million in … [Full Story]

AAATA: Ypsilanti Township Boards Bus

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board meeting (Sept. 26, 2013): The board took two significant actions at this month’s meeting. First, board members approved AAATA’s operating budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. The board also approved a revision to its articles of incorporation, adding Ypsilanti Township as a member and expanding the board from nine to 10 members.

Ypsilanti Township is now a member of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, pending consideration by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti city councils.

Ypsilanti Township is now a member of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, pending consideration by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti city councils. (Green indicates the geographic area included by the AAATA.)

If the Ann Arbor city council does not object, this would be the second expansion of the AAATA board this year. The item is expected to be on the Ann Arbor city council’s Oct. 21 agenda.

The earlier expansion was given final approval by the AAATA board at its June 20, 2013 meeting. That’s when the city of Ypsilanti was admitted as a member of the AAATA and its board was increased from seven to nine members, one of whom is appointed by the city of Ypsilanti.

Regarding the budget, on Sept. 26 the board approved a $33.97 million expenditure budget for fiscal year 2014. The budget includes revenues that almost exactly balance those expenditures, leaving an excess of $20,500. About half of the revenue to the AAATA comes from local sources (taxes, purchase of service agreements and fares) with most of the rest funded from state and federal support. The budget will fund roughly 7 million total passenger trips for the next year, according to the AAATA.

Also at its meeting, the board approved the selection of the law firm Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels P.C. to handle AAATA’s legal work. The firm already handles legal work for the transit authority, so the board’s approval means that Pear Sperling will continue in that capacity for the next five years.

As a result of another board action at the Sept. 26 meeting, Charles Griffith will be leading the board for another year as chair. He was first chosen as chair last year by his colleagues. The pattern of chairs serving for two years is typical for the AAATA.

It was the first board meeting Jack Bernard attended as a board member since being confirmed by the Ann Arbor city council on Aug. 19, 2013. However, three other board members did not attend the AAATA meeting: Roger Kerson, Anya Dale and Gillian Ream Gainsley.

Those who did attend received several updates on various projects, including construction on the new Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor, AAATA’s new website, and activity related to the southeast Michigan regional transit authority (RTA). The next board meeting of the nascent four-county authority – which includes the city of Detroit and the counties of Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb – will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library. [Full Story]

AAATA FY 2014 Budget OK’d: $33.97M

A $33.97 million expenditure budget for fiscal year 2014 has been approved by the board of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. The budget for FY 2014, which starts on Oct. 1, includes revenues that almost exactly balance those expenditures, leaving an excess of $20,500. The approval came at the board’s Sept. 26, 2013 meeting.

The FY 2014 budget restores a three-month operating reserve. The board previously had authorized dipping below that level after the state of Michigan’s allocation for operating support last year was less than expected. During the past year, however, the state legislature made an additional appropriation increasing the percentage of operating expenses subsidized by the state from 27.11% to 30.65%.

According to CEO Michael Ford’s monthly written report … [Full Story]

Transit Group Adopts New Name, Work Plan

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board meeting (Aug. 15, 2013): The board’s two main voting items at Thursday’s regular monthly meeting were in some sense ceremonial – but still reflected substantial policy decisions.

Gillian Ream, Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority Board

Gillian Ream is the city of Ypsilanti’s representative on the newly expanded Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board. (Photos by the writer.)

The board gave public notice through a formal resolution that the organization would start using the new name specified in its newly-amended articles of incorporation: “Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.”

Eli Cooper, who also serves as the city of Ann Arbor’s transportation program manager, was among the board members at the meeting who noted the substance underlying the addition of the word “area” to the organization’s name.

That substance is a recently approved revision to the articles of incorporation of the AATA, which added the city of Ypsilanti as a member to the authority. The AATA board had given final approval for that change at its June 20, 2013 meeting, after the city councils of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti had already approved the change. The revision to the articles to include Ypsilanti as a member is intended to provide a way to generate additional funding for transportation. The AAATA could, with voter approval, levy a uniform property tax on the entire geographic area of its membership – something the AATA did not do.

The cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti now levy their own millages, which are transmitted to the AAATA. However, Ypsilanti is currently at its 20-mill state constitutional limit. A millage levied by the AAATA would not count against that 20-mill cap. While there had been an outside chance that a millage request could be placed on the ballot as soon as November 2013, it now appears likely for May 2014.

Board discussion reflected the fact that the new acronym for the organization is a challenge to pronounce letter-by-letter. Suggestions had been made to adopt a convention of calling the AAATA “A3TA” or “Triple-A-TA” – but the board’s resolution indicated only that “TheRide” will continue as the organization’s mark.

Gillian Ream is the city of Ypsilanti’s new appointee to the expanded board of the AAATA. The Aug. 15 meeting was the second one she’d attended – but her first as a voting member.

The draft FY 2014 budget, for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, already reflects the membership of the city of Ypsilanti – as the proceeds from Ypsilanti’s transit millage are recognized under “local property tax revenue” instead of “purchase of service agreements.” That draft currently shows about $33.3 million in both revenues and expenditures.

The FY 2014 work plan – which that budget is supposed to support – was the second ceremonial but still substantive item on the board’s agenda. In addition to maintaining a range of basic transportation services, the work plan includes a number of other initiatives. Among them are projects that have been widely discussed for a longer time – like increased services in the “urban core,” the east-west commuter rail, north-south commuter rail (WALLY) and a high-capacity connector between northeast Ann Arbor through the University of Michigan campus and farther south to the Briarwood Mall area. Projects included in the work plan that have not received as much publicity include traffic signal prioritization (in favor of public transit vehicles) and a unified fare media (payment) strategy.

Sue Gott noted during the meeting that the work plan had been under development for five months. The plan was met with general enthusiasm by board members, with Susan Baskett reflecting the board’s sentiment: “I just love this document!” It was adopted on a unanimous vote.

The other voting item on the agenda was authorization to use three different printers for small-scale print jobs over the next five years. The only wrinkle to approval of that item came in connection to adjusting the sequence of resolutions, so that the resolution formally adopting the AAATA’s new name preceded the printing contracts.

Also during the meeting, the board heard a range of public commentary. Among the points made by the public was the fact that despite discussions about possible changes to Route #11 in Ypsilanti, Route #11 will remain unchanged this fall. Also during public commentary, the passing of longtime disability activist Lena Ricks was noted. Ricks had served on the AAATA’s local advisory council. [Full Story]

AAATA Board OKs FY 2014 Work Plan

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority’s work plan for the coming fiscal year has been approved by the AAATA board. It’s organized under five broad categories: (1) transportation services; (2) research and development initiatives; (3) programs, partnerships, and external relations; (4) capital projects; and (5) management responsibilities and initiatives. [.pdf of AAATA work plan]

The AAATA’s fiscal year starts in October. So staff are working to finalize an FY 2014 budget to support that work plan. That budget will be presented to the board at its Sept. 26, 2013 meeting.

The budget picture for the coming year will be eased somewhat compared to last year, when the AAATA had to scramble to reduce its planned budget based on roughly $800,000 less … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Corrects Millage Rate

A .0031 error in the specification of the rate of the FY 2014 tax levy for the city’s park maintenance and capital improvements millage was corrected in action taken by the Ann Arbor city council at its June 17, 2013 meeting. The FY 2014 fiscal year begins on July 1.

The millage rate that was listed in the FY 2014 budget resolution – approved by the council at its May 20, 2013 meeting – was 1.0969 mills. The park maintenance and capital improvements millage should have been listed as 1.10 mills. The corresponding correction from the total millage rate was from 16.4470 to 16.4501 mills. Measured in dollars, the correction is estimated to bring in an additional $14,460 in revenue.

This … [Full Story]

DDA OKs Council-Approved FY 2014 Budget

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board has re-adopted its FY 2014 budget, after it was approved, with changes, by the city council on May 20, 2013. The DDA board action came on June 5, 2013.

The decision came over dissent from two board members – John Mouat and Sandi Smith, who perceived the city council’s changes to the budget as arbitrary. They criticized the process – which is set forth by the state’s enabling legislation for downtown development authorities.

During the council’s debate on the city’s budget, of which the DDA is a component unit, councilmembers had argued about how to handle the additional tax increment finance (TIF) revenue that will be captured by the DDA this year. In the … [Full Story]

Details on FY 2014 Budget Debate

Ann Arbor city council meeting Part 1: Budget debate (May 20, 2013): The council’s meeting did not conclude until nearly 2 a.m. after a 7 p.m. scheduled start. This portion of The Chronicle’s meeting report focuses mostly on the council’s fiscal year 2014 budget deliberations, which started at about 9 p.m. and ended around 1:30 a.m.

From left: Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). Budget deliberations pushed the meeting until nearly 2 a.m.

From left: Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). Budget deliberations pushed the meeting until nearly 2 a.m.

The council considered several amendments to the FY 2014 budget. But the total impact on the general fund of all the successful amendments was not significant, leaving mostly intact the “status quo” budget that had been proposed by city administrator Steve Powers a month earlier. That was a budget with $82.9 million in general fund expenditures. [.pdf of one-page summary of possible amendments] [.pdf of longer detail on FY 2014 budget amendments]

Most of the successful amendments were voted through with relatively little debate, and involved amounts of $100,000 or less. For example, the Washtenaw Health Initiative received an additional $10,000 allocation, and the Miller Manor senior meals program received a $4,500 boost. Allocations to human services nonprofits were increased by $46,899. And the general fund balance was tapped to conduct a $75,000 study of sidewalk gaps so that projects could be prioritized.

The affordable housing trust fund received an infusion of $100,000 from the general fund reserve. The council also approved an amendment prohibiting the spending of $326,464 that was set aside in the FY 2014 budget for public art, in anticipation of a final affirmative vote on a change to the public art ordinance. A vote on amending that ordinance is likely to take place on June 3, before the fiscal year begins on July 1.

The “parks fairness” amendment, which came after deliberations on all other amendments, was a straightforward calculation in accordance with a city policy. The policy requires that any increase in general fund spending be matched by a parallel increase for parks. The council approved that $22,977 amendment with scant remark.

Just three issues took about 80% of the council’s roughly 4.5-hour budget deliberations: (1) the budget of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, (2)  the possible reduction of the 15th District Court budget in order to pay for three additional police officers, and (3) the proposed restoration of loose leaf collection in the fall.

Of the most time-consuming items, the change to the DDA’s budget was ultimately approved – after escalating political rhetoric led to a kind of compromise that had almost unanimous support. The DDA compromise budget amendment called for a $300,000 transfer from the DDA’s TIF (tax increment finance) fund to the DDA’s housing fund, and a recommendation to spend $300,000 of TIF money on the replacement of Main Street light poles. Only Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) dissented.

The lone dissenting vote on the budget as a whole was Jane Lumm (Ward 2), who issued a verbal spanking of her colleagues and the city administrator – for proposing and approving a budget she did not feel reflected a priority on public safety. Countering Lumm was Taylor, who pointed out that roughly half of the general fund expenditures are related to public safety. [Full Story]

May 20, 2013 Ann Arbor Council: In Progress

The main event of the May 20, 2013 Ann Arbor city council meeting will be the council’s approval of the FY 2014 budget. The city’s fiscal year starts July 1. Under terms of the city charter, the council is required to amend and approve the city administrator’s proposed budget by its second meeting in May – which this year falls on May 20. The Chronicle will be filing live updates from city council chambers during the meeting, published “below the fold.”

Door to Ann Arbor city council chambers

Door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber.

If the council fails to act, then the city administrator’s budget, which Steve Powers presented formally to the council on April 15, 2013, would automatically be adopted. It’s been described as essentially a “status quo” budget, with no major changes to personnel levels or basic approaches to service delivery. The council has held work sessions on various aspects of the budget starting in February.

For the general fund, the status quo budget translates to $82,893,312 in total expenditures, which will require tapping the general fund balance for $260,514. That would leave the general fund with $13.8 million in reserves or 17% of operating expenses.

But it’s possible that the council will undertake amendments to that budget. Among the amendments that might be proposed are some that would change the budget of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Other amendments that might be put forward provide funding for an increase in the number of police officers. One strategy for increasing funding for police officers is to take money out of the 15th District Court budget. Another strategy that could be brought forward for funding police officers is to re-allocate the salary for retiring assistant city attorney Bob West.

Affordable housing and human services funding will likely be the topic of some amendments. It’s possible to change the budget later in the year, after the May 20 meeting, but that would require an eight-vote majority. Amendments to the main budget resolution of the year – this year on the May 20 agenda – require only a six-vote majority. [Full Story]

May 22: AAPS Public Hearing on Budget

The Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education has approved a resolution calling for a public hearing on the fiscal year 2013-14 annual budget for AAPS. By law a public hearing must be held before adopting a school district budget.

The public hearing will be held on May 22, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library downtown branch during the regular board of education meeting. Anyone who wants to be heard will be given a chance to speak on the proposed budget and the property tax millage rate.

At the public hearing, the trustees will have a first briefing of a proposed millage resolution.

This brief was filed from the board room of the Ann Arbor District Library in downtown … [Full Story]

Smaller Deficit to Inform AAPS Budget Talks

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education regular meeting  (April 10, 2013): Editor’s note: Since this board meeting took place, the board of trustees has held a study session – on April 17. And several community meetings on the budget have taken place. The Chronicle anticipates being able to provide coverage of those events as well.

 Wines Elementary 5th grade chorus

Wines Elementary 5th grade chorus performed during the board’s April 10, 2013 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

At the meeting, the board of trustees was presented with a revenue projection report that now forecasts just a $8.67 million deficit for the 2013-14 school year, compared to the previously-projected $17-20 million shortfall.

The trustees were pleased that the numbers were “less bad” than was initially projected, but they acknowledged that the remaining $8.67 million was still a daunting amount to cut. Concessions totaling $3.4 million have already been made by the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA).

The board heard extensive public commentary on several possible budget cuts.

The board also finalized policy changes that had been brought forward by president Deb Mexicotte. The policy changes include placing time limits on board meetings, imposing time limits for item discussions, and changing the board’s committee structure.

After some discussion, the trustees settled on their previous standing committee structure of a planning committee and a performance committee. They also voted to add a governance and an executive committee.

Additionally, the trustees approved a purchase request for software licenses in the amount of $232,486. They also heard a first briefing of the spring grant awards. [Full Story]