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Public Hearing

An email  from 5th Ward Council Member Mike Anglin:

From: Mike Anglin <>
Date: January 15, 2012 5:48:27 PM EST
Subject: Public Hearing - Changing the AATA

Hi Jack; 

At the last Council meeting Mayor Hieftje presented a proposal that could have a detrimental effect on the bus service in Ann Arbor. The proposal calls for Ann Arbor to sign an agreement to join in the creation of a County Transit Authority. The agreement would require that Ann Arbor turn over the tax millage that supports our buses to the new County Transit Authority.

The citizens of Ann Arbor pay an annual property tax of over 2 mills for bus service in Ann Arbor. The average home owner pays about $200 annually. The total annual value of the millage is $9 to $10 million. The city collects this and then transfers it, minus a 1% collection fee, to the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA). The AATA uses these funds, state and federal matching funds, and fares to operate our present bus service.

The Mayor's proposal calls for the City of Ann Arbor to continue to collect this property tax, but in the future it would be transferred to the new County Transit Authority. At present the county does not fund any transit service. Only the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have transit millages. Ann Arbor collects far more tax revenue than Ypsilanti. Ann Arbor will have representatives on the County Transit Authority , but we will not have a majority. Most important, we will not be able to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement. We are essentially giving up control of our taxes to fund a county wide transit system.

Rider fares, even in the more densely populated city of Ann Arbor, provide less than 20% of the total AATA budget. Ann Arbor has an area of about 27 square miles. The county, excluding Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, has an area of 680 square miles. Should the taxes of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti be used to fund bus service to an area 25 times their size? How is this possible without reducing service to the core areas of the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti? The Ypsilanti council has not supported the agreement, why should Ann Arbor be first?

This transfer of our taxes was proposed by the Mayor just before the Council meeting on January 9, 2012. Jane Lumm, Steve Kunselman, and I called for a public hearing and a delay of the vote until after a public hearing on January 23, 2012.

Now it is up to you.  Jane Lumm, Steve Kunselman, and I do not support this transfer of city taxes to a county wide transit authority. But we are a minority on Council. We need you, the citizens of Ann Arbor to express your opinions to influence the Mayor and others on Council. Come to the public hearing on January 23. Tell the Mayor and Council that your property taxes should not be used to fund county wide mass transit. Tell them that you, the citizens, voted for this tax and you expect the right to vote on any transfer of the money to a county authority.

You can also email comments, and I encourage you to do so, especially if you cannot come to the public hearing. Here is a link to the city web page that has email addresses for the Mayor and Council. Use the link at the bottom of the page to send the email to all of Council and the Mayor.  

Please share this email with other concerned citizens If we do not act now, Ann Arbor taxes may be used to subsidize transit in county to the detriment of our city bus service. More detailed information about the proposed County Transit Authority is available on Vivienne Armentrout's Blog, . Thank you.

Mike Anglin