At last Thursday night’s work session, city council members reached a consensus on a city income tax proposal. Their consensus was this: They did not want city staff to place on their Monday agenda an item that, if passed, would have put a city income tax question on November’s ballot.
So based on the agenda posted on the city of Ann Arbor website, and in light of the Sunday night caucus discussion among council members, it appeared there would not be any really substantive issues before that body at its Monday night meeting.
Yet council ended up voting on three substantive items – all introduced late in the day on Monday. One was a reconsideration of a historic district study committee resolution passed at the council’s previous meeting – it amounts to a wording change. But it’s a wording change that has a material affect on what projects homeowners in the district can undertake on their properties during the study period. The original resolution at the previous council meeting had also been introduced late in the day, with no public discussion beforehand surrounding the resolution.
A second item introduced late Monday concerned a new transit center on Fuller Road. It entailed the authorization of around $200,000 – about half of that from the city’s economic development fund, which was originally established to pay for parking spaces that Google had demanded as a part of its decision to locate offices in downtown Ann Arbor.
And finally – even though councilmembers had decided at their work session they didn’t want to contemplate putting an income tax before the voters – they decided to put something else before the voters: a charter amendment that would give council the authority to decide how certain notifications are published.
The amendment would change current requirements that certain items are printed in a newspaper, instead allowing for a broader range of options, including online publications.
How could an online enthusiast like me, the editor of an online publication, be against this move? Easy.