Stories indexed with the term ‘water’

Fifth & Huron

No water flow tonight but this blank piece of metal on a fence gives hope that perhaps there will be explanations soon (a sign?) about the whole installation. But why is no water flowing when we’ve had record rains for weeks? [photo]

Liberty & Virginia

Sprinkler spotted running in the rain. It wasn’t the automatic kind. An hour later I passed by again and it was turned off but still visible in the yard. Puzzling since we are having record rain and floods.

Council Debates Public Transit, Sets Hearing

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Jan. 9, 2012): The council’s first meeting of the year included: a metaphor comparing AATA buses to white blood cells; a desire to “inoculate” Ann Arbor against loss of control over its local bus system; and a fair number of councilmembers needling each other.

Christopher Taylor, Jane Lumm Ann Arbor city council

Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) continued to hash through their differences after the Jan. 9, 2012 meeting was adjourned. (Photos by the writer.)

In the end, the council opted to delay voting on a four-way accord between the city of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA), the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County. The agreement among the four parties would set up a framework for, and contingencies on, the transition of the AATA to a countywide transit authority, incorporated under Michigan’s Act 196 of 1986. AATA currently operates under Act 55 of 1963.

The transition to a countywide funding base is intended to (1) ensure stability of funding for transit connections outside of the city of Ann Arbor, which has until now depended on purchase-of-service agreements; (2) provide a higher level of transit service inside the city of Ann Arbor; and (3) expand the area where transit service is provided.

The council’s vote was to delay the decision just for one meeting – until Jan. 23. The council also voted to set a public hearing for that date.

In other substantive action on the four-party agreement, the council amended it to stipulate that Ann Arbor’s transit tax would only be transferred to the new Act 196 authority if approval of a millage were to gain a majority of votes within the city of Ann Arbor.

In other business, the council gave initial approval to a revision of the Arlington Square planned unit development (PUD), located on the southeast corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Huron Parkway. The changes will allow for additional types of uses at the site – restaurants and an urgent care facility. Questions were raised about the number of existing parking spaces on the site.

The council also approved the set of fees associated with its property assessed clean energy (PACE) program, which was established last year.

In additional business, the council approved petitions to the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner for several stormwater projects, and approved a wetland mitigation plan for the Wheeler Service Center on Stone School Road. The council also authorized a pay increase for election workers who staff the polls on election day.

At the start of the meeting, councilmembers received an update on the skatepark planned for the northeast corner of Veterans Memorial Park. With most of the funding now in place, construction looks like it will start late in 2012 or the spring of 2013. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Raises Water, Sewer Rates

At its June 20, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave final approval to increases in water, sewer and stormwater rates.

In terms of revenue generated to the city, the rate increases are expected to generate 3.36% more for drinking water ($664,993), 4% more for the sanitary sewer ($829,481), and 3.35% more for stormwater ($176,915). [.pdf of complete utility rate changes as proposed]

According to the city, the rate increases are needed to maintain debt service coverage and to maintain funding for required capital improvements.

The city’s drinking water charges are based on a “unit” of 100 cubic feet – 748 gallons. Charges for residential customers are divided into tiers, based on usage. For example, the first seven units of water for residential customers have been charged at a rate of $1.23 per unit. The new residential rate for the first seven units is $1.27.

The city’s stormwater rates are based on the amount of impervious area on a parcel and are billed quarterly. For example, the lowest tier – for impervious area less than 2,187 square feet – has been $12.84 per quarter. Under the new rate structure, that increases to $13.24.

Water usage for Ann Arbor city residents is available online under the My Property tab. [You'll need your account number to access information.]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

City Council and the Values of Ann Arbor

Iraq Water Project

Laura Russello, executive director at Michigan Peaceworks, presented background on the collaboration between the nonprofit she leads and Veterans for Peace on the Iraq Water Project.

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (March 2, 2009): Whatever chance for controversy that might have been present in the Ann Arbor’s City Council meeting agenda on Monday evening was eschewed in favor of values statements. These expressions of values were reflected in many of the agenda items themselves. We’ve organized our account of the meeting in terms of values related to the following topics: water, the arts, land, energy, history, and democracy. [Full Story]

How Downtown Ann Arbor Trees Get Watered

The newly-planted trees at the surface parking lot created in place of the old YMCA building, which was demolished earlier this year, sport green bags at the base of their trunks. Most casual observers might guess the bags are used for watering. In this case, a guess based on a casual observation is … exactly right.

Tree at 5th and William St. next to the surface parking lot at the site of the old YMCA building.

Tree at 5th and William St. next to the surface parking lot at the site of the old YMCA building.

What’s not as easily guessed is that these Treegator® slow release watering … [Full Story]