Past Issues‎ > ‎Streets‎ > ‎

Ballot

Observations from our favorite forensic accountant:

The August 4 City Council agenda includes ballot questions for the streets millage and an additional sidewalk millage.

1.  The streets millage is for 2 mils, not the rolled back Headlee millage rate.  Attorney General Opinions prohibit the city from advertising this millage as a renewal because, if passed, the millage rate will actually increase.

2.  The sidewalk millage is a separate ballot question but the millage will be combined with the streets millage.  That means the city can dip into the much larger streets millage pot for anything it can call a sidewalk.  The city has shown it can be pretty creative .

3.  According to page 4 of the proposed FY12 budget on the city website, if the sidewalk millage passes, the city is considering moving the administration costs of the sidewalk program out of the Metro Expansion fund to the Street Repair & Resurfacing millage.  The Metro Expansion Fund is a small bucket but in FY12 it got stretched by having to absorb $212,000 of parks general fund costs.  Step 2 would be to shift costs from Metro Expansion to the streets millage fund.  Following the money has taught me that the bucket shuffles are often done across several years.  Bottom line is you won't get sidewalks, you'll get administration costs.

4. The streets millage ordinance is also being amended to make it clear it can be used for bridges, even though the streets millage has been use to pay for bridges, including the Broadway bridge.  It made me wonder if one of the excuses for delaying the start of the Stadium Bridge will be that the ordinance had to be clarified to include bridges.  I'll bet the city wouldn't have a problem if they needed to spend money on a bridge to service the UM Fuller Park parking structure.
The November ballot will include two millage requests. One will renew the street repair millage. When originally passed, that millage was 2.0 mills but has diminished slightly under the requirements of the Headlee amendment. The ballot proposal would restore the millage to its full amount. The second ballot question relates to the City's desire to have a sidewalk repair millage, in addition to the street millage.

The following are the two ballot question resolutions passed by Council on August 4, 2011:

Street Millage

Whereas, The Street Reconstruction Millage has been the principal funding source for the resurfacing and reconstruction of the City's streets and bridges; and
 
Whereas, The last Street Reconstruction Millage was approved by the voters in November 2006 for five years beginning in 2007 and ending in 2011;
 
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council proposes that the City Charter be amended by modifying Section 8:20 to read as follows:
 
Funds for Street and Bridge Resurfacing and Reconstruction
 
SECTION 8.20. In addition to any other amount which the City is authorized to raise by general tax upon the real and personal property by this Charter or any other provision of law, the City shall, in 2007 2012through 2011 2016, annually levy a tax of up to 2 mills on all taxable real and personal property situated within the City for the purpose of providing funds for the reconstruction or resurfacing of streets and bridges.
 
RESOLVED, That November 8, 2011 is designated as the day for holding an election on the proposed Charter amendment;
 
RESOLVED, That the Clerk shall transmit a copy of the proposed amendment to the Attorney General and the Governor of Michigan and shall perform all other acts required by law for holding the election;
 
RESOLVED, That the proposed Charter amendment shall appear on the ballot in the following form:
 
PROPOSAL 1
ANN ARBOR CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT
TAX FOR STREET AND BRIDGE RESURFACING AND RECONSTRUCTION
 
Shall the Charter be amended to authorize a tax up to 2 mills for street and bridge reconstruction for 2012 through 2016 to replace the previously authorized tax up to 2 mills for street reconstruction for 2007 through 2011, which will raise in the first year of levy the estimated revenue of $9,091,000?

¨      Yes            ¨      No
 
RESOLVED, That the proposed Charter amendment and proposed ballot question shall be published in full not fewer than two times in the Washtenaw County Legal News; and
 
RESOLVED, That if the amendment is adopted, it shall take effect on January 1, 2012.

Sidewalk Millage

Whereas, In 2011 the City Council approved a resolution in support of the Complete Street philosophy for a safe and balanced transportation system;
 
Whereas, As of today the sidewalk repairs are the complete responsibility of the property owners, which at times may create hardship for some due to unexpected expenses;
 
Whereas, Sidewalk repairs benefit the public that uses the sidewalks and not just the adjacent property owners and occupants;
 
Whereas, In June 2011 staff completed a public engagement process designed to determine public sentiment regarding the potential to expand the proposed 2012 Street and Bridge Resurfacing and Reconstruction Millage to include a new City-managed sidewalk repair program with an increase to the 2012 Street and Bridge Resurfacing and Reconstruction Millage from 2.0 mills to 2.125 mills;
 
Whereas, From the collected survey data there is a public interest in a new City-managed sidewalk repair program; and
 
Whereas, Because voters ought to be afforded the opportunity to vote separately on the two issues of streets and sidewalks, City Council is presented with two resolutions for new millages to consider at their August 4, 2011 meeting,
 
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council proposes that the City Charter be amended by modifying section 8:20 to read as follows, conditioned on the amendment to section 8.20 to authorize a levy in 2012 through 2016 of a tax up to 2 mills for street and bridge reconstruction being approved:
 
Funds for Street and Bridge Resurfacing and Reconstruction, and for Sidewalk Repairs
 
SECTION 8.20. In addition to any other amount which the City is authorized to raise by general tax upon the real and personal property by this Charter or any other provision of law, the City shall, in 2012 through 2016, annually levy a tax of up to 2.125 mills on all taxable real and personal property situated within the City for the purpose of providing funds for the reconstruction and resurfacing of streets and bridges, and for repair of sidewalks.
 
RESOLVED, That November 8, 2011 is designated as the day for holding an election on the proposed Charter amendment;
 
RESOLVED, That the City Clerk shall transmit a copy of the proposed amendment to the Attorney General and the Governor of Michigan and shall perform all other acts required by law for holding the election;
 
RESOLVED, That the proposed Charter amendment shall appear on the ballot in the following form:
 
PROPOSAL 2
ANN ARBOR CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT
TAX FOR STREET AND BRIDGE RESURFACING AND RECONSTRUCTION
AND FOR SIDEWALK REPAIRS
 
(NOTE: ADOPTION OF PROPOSAL 2 IS CONDITIONED UPON
ADOPTION AT THIS ELECTION OF PROPOSAL 1)
 
Shall the Charter be amended to authorize a tax increase of up to 0.125 mills for 2012 through 2016 in addition to the street and bridge resurfacing and reconstruction millage of 2 mills, which 0.125 mills will raise in the first year of levy the estimated additional revenue of $563,000, to provide a total of up to 2.125 mills for sidewalk repair, street and bridge reconstruction and resurfacing?
 
      Yes                  No
 
RESOLVED, That the proposed Charter amendment and proposed ballot question shall be published in full not fewer than two times in the Washtenaw County Legal News;
 
RESOLVED, That if the amendment is adopted, it shall take effect on January 1, 2012; and
 
RESOLVED, That the proposed City managed sidewalk trip hazard repair program include the sidewalks adjacent to all properties on the city's tax roll, but excluding those properties within the DDA district that are not single- and two-family because those properties can benefit from the tax dollars deducted from the proceeds of the new millage and given to the DDA; and
 
RESOLVED, That if the charter amendment is adopted, the City Attorney and relevant staff shall bring to the Council, on or before December 1, 2011, an ordinance to amend the City Code language relative to the obligation of a property owner to repair the adjacent sidewalk to conform with the City's decision to undertake the sidewalk repair program for the duration of this millage.
Comments