Stories indexed with the term ‘parking fine revenues’

Extra City Revenue Based on Optimism

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (May 16, 2010): On Monday night, the city council will deliberate on several amendments to the proposed city administrator’s budget that, if approved, would significantly alter the assumed revenue picture for that proposed budget. [Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Budget Deliberations Preview"]

Ann Arbor city council caucus

From left to right: mayor John Hieftje, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). Briere looked up various facts in the FY 2011 budget book during the course of the caucus. (Photo by the writer.)

The city council’s regular Sunday night caucus, which again enjoyed only sparse attendance – from four out of eleven councilmembers – gave a glimpse into how part of the city council is thinking of the possible changes in revenue items. One of those changes to revenue items is certain – the DDA agreed at its May 3 meeting to pay the city $2 million to help cover general expenses at the city.

Two other revenue changes are based on projections, not payments – an additional $625,000 in parking fine revenues, plus almost $1 million in statutory state shared revenues. The additional state shared revenue is an amount that the city administrator assumed for his budget would not be forthcoming from the state.

During the Sunday caucus, mayor John Hieftje attributed the difference in outlook on state shared revenues to a difference in political perspective. He said that Roger Fraser, the city administrator, is “not as plugged in” to the political considerations in Lansing as he and the rest of the city council are.

Questions were raised among residents about the certainty of the extra $625,000 in parking fine revenues. Those questions were raised in the context of the DDA’s interest – as expressed in the term sheet produced recently by a “working group” of city councilmembers and DDA board members – in moving towards a parking enforcement system managed by the DDA and designed to reduce the number of parking tickets.

The revenue items are key to budget amendments that would result in eliminating five firefighter positions – instead of the 20 firefighters and 15 police officers that the city administrator’s budget calls for.

At the caucus, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) gave some insight into an amendment he’ll be bringing forward to reduce the tax administration fee from 1% to .81%. When the fee was increased from .81% to 1% in 2007 for the FY 2008 budget, explained Kunselman, it had not come as a request in the administrator’s budget. The increase, he concluded, had not been made in order cover costs of administering the property tax – they were already covered.

Councilmembers at caucus had no information on the possibility of moving maintenance costs for Argo Dam out of the city’s water fund. Indications from city official on multiple occasions through the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010 were that those maintenance costs would be moved from the water fund to the parks fund. [Full Story]