Upcoming City Council Info: New City Administrator, etc.

Posted on: July 3rd, 2011 by Erica Ackerman No Comments

The City Administrator

The City Council appointed a search committee to create some protocols for selecting a new City Administrator.  The committee recommended hiring an outside firm — to guarantee a national applicant pool and the confidentiality of all applicants.  The committee also recommended that the City’s Human Resources staff work with this firm (AFFION) to make certain that Ann Arbor’s specific needs are met.  On July 5, members of the committee will see, for the first time, the applications of interested and qualified candidates.  The committee will recommend finalists for interviews.
These interviews will take place on July 13.  There will be a reception — open to the public — for the finalists on Tuesday July 12 from 5:30 to 7:30.  This reception will be held in the lobby of the new Courts/Police addition to City Hall.
On Wednesday, July 13 the candidates will participate in interviews.  The interviews will be open to the public, and will be held between 8 am and noon in the City Council chambers.  I hope you will consider coming to one or both events, and then telling me what you think of the candidates.  Our last City Administrator helped shape the way the staff responded to Council and community priorities.   He worked for the City for over 9 years.  Stable relationships with City Administrators are common in Ann Arbor; other communities have not always been able to retain someone long-term in this position.  The person hired by the Council to be the administrator will be very important, although not necessarily very visible.  Your input can help guide me and other members of Council to select the best candidate.

Council meeting on July 5th

The Agenda for the Council meeting on July 5th will be pretty light.  I’ve highlighted what I think might be important below.  There are two other items on the agenda that may or may not be interesting. 

Council member Anglin wants to reconsider the vote on whether to rebuild — and move — a sanitary sewer line.  The City Council voted on June 20th to approve funding to replace a sanitary sewer line that runs under the Fuller site. This sewer, however, is a major trunk line that services the northwest and westerly parts of the city, and extends directly to the wastewater treatment plant. While rebuilding the line may not be an emergency, the new line will handle more waste, and won’t need to be replaced for many years. The current line is over 30 years old.

Another item is a resolution — that I’m offering — to officially adopt a policy of non-disclosure of information related to medical marijuana zoning and licensing.  Although I am confident this information is already protected, I like the idea of ‘belt and suspenders’ when it comes to guaranteeing privacy.  This resolution would make the City’s policy clear.

On the Agenda

Ordinances, First Reading

An ordinance to reapportion the wards for the November, 2011 election.

The City must redistrict after every census.  Although there have been only minor changes in population (Ann Arbor lost 90 residents over the last decade), there have been some shifts in where people live.
The First Ward gained more residents compared with the other wards.  The proposed redistricting moves parts of the First Ward to each of the other wards. 

One issue is that this change would take place between the primary (the First Ward doesn’t have a primary this year) and the general election in November.  Some folks who watch this type of change very closely have recommended that the ward boundaries remain unchanged through the November election.  To find out more about the new boundaries (everyone affected lives near downtown) click here.  I may offer an alternative boundary map; here’s a link to that option.


A resolution to approve a contract to build a rain garden at Kingsley and First.

Many of us have noticed the house at the corner of Kingsley and First – boarded up windows, significant signs of neglect and all.  The good news is that the City is in the process of purchasing that property.  When the purchase is complete, the house will be demolished.
Why demolish a house?  This property is in the flood plain, and cannot be renovated or rebuilt. 

But there’s a bright side to the story.  Nearly all of us have been confronted with deep water at the intersection of Kingsley and First – this is one of the first areas to flood when we have heavy rains.  So, after removing the house, the City will install a rain garden.  This rain garden will actually store a major portion of any rainfall, and will help relieve some of the flooding problems.

This corner can also be part of the Allen Creek greenway.

The cost? $25,440 from the Stormwater capital projects budget.

A resolution to approve a contract to determine the Level of Service (LOS) for water distribution.

The purpose of this work is to determine what the sustainable level of service (LOS) for the City of Ann Arbor water distribution system should be and to also quantify the associated level of reinvestment in the system.  Fundamentally, this will help the City during its capital planning by providing what level of investment the City should be making in the replacement/rehabilitation of our water distribution system and what water mains should be replaced first.
The cost? $208,984 from the Water System capital projects budget.

I was initially skeptical about this project (the Council postponed it from the May 16, 2011 meeting).  Reading the staff memo with an explanation about the project – especially in light of the increase in our water bills that Council also approved – helped me understand why this project might be a good idea.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Here’s a link to a staff memo on the LOS proposal.

Resolution to approve a contract to build a permeable alley in Burns Park.

Permeable pavements, when properly maintained, help reduce storm water runoff.  The City has been installing them where the engineers believe such pavements will be most valuable – due to drainage and whether the soil will move the water along or hold it.  This is a new project.

The cost?  This contract is for $121,139, but the project budget as a whole is estimated to be $200,000.  The project is being funded by the Stormwater capital budget. That in turn will be repaid as a loan to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) and will include 50% loan forgiveness.

Here’s a link to this item on the agenda.  From this link, you’ll be able to see a map that includes the alley.

Three resolutions that give an easement to the City – from UM property

Two of these easements are for the north and south areas of 3600 Varsity Drive; the other is for an area that runs from Murfin Drive to Broadway.  All three easements are for utilities.

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