Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

City Council to discuss local bus millage

Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Public hearing set during consideration next week

By Dan DuChene
May. 12, 2010    ·    4:10 a.m.


Ypsilanti City Council will be holding a public hearing next week when it considers asking voters to approve dedicating property tax dollars toward busing.

Set for City Council's regular meeting on May 18, the public hearing will coincide with a discussion on specifics of a plan to put a 0.9 mill Headlee override proposal on the ballot in August.

When City Council agreed to an arrangement with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority in Sept. 2009 to fund bus service in Ypsilanti until 2011, it also said it would put forth the ballot proposal if discussions of a county-wide transportation millage did not come to fruition.

“I don't see [the AATA] going forward with [the county-wide millage] for several years,” Councilmember Pete Murdock, D-Ward 3, said at a City Council budget session Tuesday. “I think it's incumbent on us to do what we said we'd do.”

The Headlee roll back of 1978 requires municipalities to roll back millages when the community's total tax base is increasing faster than the rate of inflation. City Manager Ed Koryzno said the maximum millage rate the city can now collect is 19.1, down from the 20 mills the city would be able to capture without the requirement. The 0.9 mill increase would restore the maximum capture to the permissible amount without the Headlee roll back and generate an estimated $281,000.

The same proposal would create a charter amendment to require the revenue from the Headlee override to only be used for public transportation in the city.

City Attorney John Barr issued two opinions related to the discussion after last week's City Council meeting, where the discussion was first initiated by Murdock. Barr said the law did not require City Council to hold a public hearing before proposing a charter amendment, but could if it wanted to. He also said the two proposals for the Headlee override and the charter amendment could be combined in one question for voters to decide.

In order to appear in the August election, ballot language would need to be submitted to the county by May 25. Both Koryzno and Murdock said City Council would discuss the matter after the public hearing and hash out the details of the proposal on May 18. Those details could include a sunset clause, a provision to make the millage increase null if a county-wide funding mechanism is adopted or other provisions along with setting the rate increase and which election to put forth the proposal.

Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, said he liked the idea of putting it on the August ballot so the proposal is kept separate from other proposals likely to be included in the November election. He said it would allow residents to review the proposal thoroughly.

Mayor Paul Schreiber raised concerns with making the override void if a county-wide proposal for public transportation were adopted. He said he would like to narrow the language to busing as not to set up the proposal for nullification if a plan for light rail across the region was implemented.

Schreiber also said the city may want to have its own dedicated funding source for busing regardless of county-wide revenue stream for busing is passed. He said urban areas often require more support for public transit, thus may require additional funding.

Both Bodary and Murdock agreed that the language could be specified to busing to avoid unintended consequences, but disagreed with not including language to make the override null if a county-wide revenue model was adopted.

“It may swing some votes our way,” Bodary said of the idea to nullify the tax increase if the county-wide millage is ever implemented.

With annual AATA costs estimated at more than $300,000, Koryzno said the difference between the revenue generated by an override and the busing cost could be made up out of the city's budget.

Related article:
Ypsi bus service could be maintained

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