Stories indexed with the term ‘public hearings’

Planning Commission OKs Change to Bylaws

At its Aug. 6, 2014 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission approved revisions to its bylaws related to public hearings.

At the commission’s July 15, 2014 meeting, planning manager Wendy Rampson introduced staff recommendations for changes to the bylaws, which had also been discussed at a July 8 working session. She noted that when revisions to bylaws are being considered, the commission must provide notice at a meeting before that potential action. That public notice happened on July 15.

Planning commissioners had originally adopted similar revisions to their bylaws at a Feb. 20, 2014 meeting. Such revisions require city council approval. However, the city attorney’s office did not forward the Feb. 20 changes to the council for consideration. There was no action … [Full Story]

Board Gets Advice from County Electeds

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (June 4, 2014): The board’s meeting featured a discussion of how to allocate a budget surplus – prompted by recommendations from the five countywide “electeds.” The elected officials hope to partner with the county board as it sets priorities for the $3.9 million surplus from 2013. The county’s fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.

Kent Martinez-Kratz, Bob Tetens, Catherine McClary, Brian Mackie, Washtenaw County, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Commissioner Kent Martinez-Kratz (D-District 1); Bob Tetens, director of parks & recreation; county prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie; and county treasurer Catherine McClary. (Photos by the writer.)

The board, comprised of elected officials representing nine districts, is responsible for budget decisions. The five positions that are elected by voters countywide – the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, treasurer, clerk/register of deeds and water resources commissioner – head up county departments but must have their budgets approved by the board.

The board is developing a process that will guide budget decisions regarding how to manage budget surpluses or shortfalls, including $3.9 million surplus from 2013 and about $600,000 in higher-than-budgeted property tax revenues in 2014. The county administrator, Verna McDaniel, is recommending that the $3.9 million be kept as general fund reserves. Some county commissioners would rather spend at least a portion of the surplus.

The recommendation from the electeds is to allocate a to-be-determined percentage of any surplus to these five areas: (1) unfunded liabilities for the pension fund; (2) unfunded liabilities for the retiree health care fund; (3) the county’s housing fund, which was eliminated in 2012; (4) the delinquent tax fund reserves, specifically for internal advances on county projects to save bonding costs; and (5) the capital reserve fund or unearmarked reserve fund.

Commissioners made no decision on these recommendations, other than to thank the electeds for their input.

In other budget-related action, the board gave final approval to put a 10-year parks & recreation millage renewal on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot. Commissioners also set public hearings for two millages that are levied annually in December without voter approval – for support of indigent veterans and their families; and to fund economic development and agricultural activities. Those hearings, to solicit public input, will be held at the board’s July 9 meeting.

The board also gave final approval to set the county’s general operating millage rate at 4.5493 mills – unchanged from the current rate. This is an annual process that includes a public hearing, which was also held on June 4. One person spoke.

A final vote was also taken to create a new committee that will explore funding options for road repair. This follows the board’s rejection – at its meeting on May 21, 2014 – of a proposal to levy a countywide tax for this purpose. No committee members have been appointed yet.

The board was also briefed on work by the community corrections unit, which is part of the sheriff’s department. It provides services that include jail diversion and alternative sentencing options to the Washtenaw County Trial Court, pre-trial services, drug testing, and electronic monitoring. The use of electronic monitoring has increased dramatically, from an average number of cases between 25-30 at any given time in FY 2012-2013, to between 85-115 cases in FY 2013-14.

During public commentary, commissioners heard from David Schonberger, an Ann Arbor resident who thanked the board for passing a resolution last month to oppose oil exploration and drilling in the county. He urged them to use it as a starting point for more action. Specifically, he advocated that the board fund a robust public education campaign and establish an advisory committee to work with Scio Township and the city of Ann Arbor on this issue. [Full Story]

County Millage Hearings Set for July 9

Public hearings are set for July 9, 2014 to get input on two millages that Washtenaw county levies without voter approval: (1) for support of indigent veterans and their families; and (2) to fund economic development and agricultural activities. The action to set the hearings took place at the June 4 meeting of the county board of commissioners.

No increase is proposed for the economic development millage, levied under Act 88. The proposal is to levy 0.07 mills in December 2014, raising an estimated $1,022,276 in property tax revenues. In previous years, the resolution setting this millage has outlined how the revenues would be allocated. The largest allocations have gone to the county’s office of community & economic development, and to the … [Full Story]

Planning Commission OKs Change to Bylaws

Revisions to the bylaws of the Ann Arbor planning commission were adopted by commissioners at their Feb. 20, 2014 meeting. The changes relate to two issues: how city councilmembers interact with the commission, and public hearings. [.pdf of staff memo and proposed revisions at start of Feb. 20 meeting]

Commissioners had debated the proposed revisions at a Feb. 4, 2014 working session. Some of the same issues were raised during the Feb. 20 discussion, which was relatively brief.

One revision clarifies the limitations on a city councilmember’s interaction with the commission. The revised section states:
Section 9. A member of the City Council shall not be heard before the Commission during the Councilmember’s term in office.
Other revisions affect speaking turns at … [Full Story]

County Board Sets 2nd Budget Hearing

A second public hearing to get input on the 2014-2017 budget for Washtenaw County was scheduled by the county board of commissioners at its Nov. 6, 2013 meeting. The hearing will be held on Nov. 20, and follows a previous hearing on Oct. 16, 2013. No one spoke at that hearing, which was held after midnight as part of a meeting that lasted over six hours.

County administrator Verna McDaniel and her finance staff had presented the budget on Oct. 2, 2013. The board gave initial approval to the budget on Nov. 6, with some amendments, on a 7-2 vote over the dissent of Dan Smith (R-District 2) and Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6).

The $103,005,127 million budget for 2014 – … [Full Story]

County Board Sets 4 Public Hearings

Washtenaw County commissioners set four public hearings for Oct. 16 to get input on items they’ll be considering at upcoming meetings. The action took place at the county board’s Oct. 2, 2013 session.

Three of the hearings that will take place on Oct. 16 relate to:

  • An increase to the Act 88 millage from 0.06 mills to 0.07 mills. The millage would be levied in December 2013 and would raise an estimated $972,635.
  • The proposed 2014-2017 budget, which was presented by county administrator Verna McDaniel on Oct. 2. The board is required to approve the $103 million general fund budget for 2014 by the end of this year. [.pdf of draft 2014-2017 budget]
  • A proposed ordinance that would allow the county to issue … [Full Story]

Public Hearings Set for County Millages

At its Aug. 3, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners scheduled three public hearings for its Sept. 7 meeting – including two related to countywide millages.

The hearings are intended to get feedback from the public on these three items: (1) a millage levied under the Veterans Relief Fund Act; (2) a millage collected under Public Act 88 to be used for economic development purposes; and (3) the use of funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

The veterans relief millage would not exceed 1/40th of a mill, to be levied in December 2011 for use during the calendar year 2012. It’s estimated to bring in $344,486 and would be used to provide services for … [Full Story]

County Board Sets Three Public Hearings

At its April 20, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners set three public hearings for meetings in May. Two public hearings, scheduled for May 18, relate to brownfield plans that are being proposed for developments in the county: (1) Packard Square, a complex off of Packard Street on the site of the former Georgetown Mall, and (2) the LaFontaine Chevrolet redevelopment at 7120 Dexter-Ann Arbor Road in Dexter.

The Packard Square site plan, approved by the Ann Arbor planning commission in March, calls for 230 apartments and 23,790-square-feet of retail space in a single building. The project will entail an estimated investment of $48 million and projected to create 45 new jobs. The brownfield plan would allow the developers to use tax increment financing to pay for environmental due diligence, contaminant removal, demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, site preparation activities and new public infrastructure development.

LaFontaine Chevrolet is redeveloping its site into a new LEED-certified Chevrolet dealership – an estimated $5.3 million investment that will include contamination removal, demolition, asbestos and lead abatement. The project is estimated to retain 74 jobs and add 50-100 jobs. The brownfield plan would allow the owner to use tax increment financing for contaminant removal and other environmental response activities, demolition, and lead and asbestos abatement.

The county board also set a public hearing for its May 4 meeting to allow commentary on the county’s 2011-12 annual action plan for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plan – for the period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 – lays out how the county plans to use federal funds from community development block grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program grants, and Emergency Services Grants. The grants are administered through the joint city of Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County office of community development, and overseen by the Urban County executive committee, a consortium of 11 local governments.

This brief was filed from the boardroom in the Washtenaw County administration building, 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Caucus: Heritage Row, Public Notice, Grass

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday night caucus (June 6, 2010): The council’s Sunday night caucus continued to draw little interest from the council itself, with only Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1) attending.

The meeting, which is scheduled for the Sunday evening before Monday council meetings, is described on the city’s website as an opportunity “to discuss and gather information on issues that are or will be coming before them for consideration.”


Developer Alex de Parry hams it up with councilmembers Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1) before the Sunday caucus got started. (Photo by the writer.)

Yesterday evening, what was on the minds of residents Ethel Potts, Tom Whitaker, Scott Munzel and Alex de Parry was an issue coming to the council for consideration today, Monday, June 7 – the Heritage Row project proposed for South Fifth Avenue, south of William Street. De Parry is the developer for that project and Munzel is legal counsel.

Kathy Griswold gave a report out from a recent meeting on the city’s urban forestry plan, which she had attended from the perspective of sight lines for traffic at intersections – vegetation can interfere with visibility.

During the discussion about vegetation on lawn extensions, John Floyd, who’s running for the Ward 5 seat currently occupied by Carsten Hohnke, arrived at the meeting. And Floyd was able to settle a point of good-natured disagreement on the status of corn as a grass. [Full Story]