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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 begins search for new Ypsi police chief

Interim chief of police Paul DeRidder explained the day-to-day operations of the Ypsilanti Police Department at Thursday evening's meeting. Photo by Christine Laughren

Interim chief of police Paul DeRidder explained the day-to-day operations of the Ypsilanti Police Department at Thursday evening's meeting.

Outsourcing nixed at beginning of strategic budget sessions

By Christine Laughren
Jul. 10, 2009    ·    2:43 a.m.

The City of Ypsilanti will begin its search for a new chief of police after members of city council raised issue with outsourcing police services at Thursday’s special meeting.

The special strategic budget session surrounded discussion of the Ypsilanti Police Department, which has the largest budget allotment in the City’s general fund. Many on council agreed outsourcing police services would not be in the best interest of the city.

“Bringing in a whole new crew of people to this city would be traumatic and a problem for years to come,” said Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2.

Council briefly considered outsourcing services as it looks to reduce the city’s general fund budget. However, the idea of dissolving YPD never caught on at Thursday’s meeting.

The city will also be looking to reduce budgets to fire and administrative services as well as the Department of Public Works. Special meetings are scheduled to be held through the end of October to discuss budget shortfalls.

The police services discussion came after council was presented with budget deficits faced by the city in the coming years due to declining taxable value and state shared revenue.

City Manager Ed Koryzno presented council with a best-case, middle and worst-case scenario for decline in taxable value, property tax revenue and state share revenue over the next five years.

The best-case scenario, according to Koryzno, is taxable value on city property would decline at a slower rate than projected, with a 4 percent decline in 2011, a 2 percent decline in 2012 and 2013, no decline in 2014 and a 1 percent decline in 2015.

By comparison, the middle of the road scenario projects a 4.5 percent decline in 2011, a 3.6 percent decline in 2012, a 2.5 percent decline in 2013 and a little more than half a percent in 2014 and 2015.

The city’s worst-case scenario predicts an 8 percent in 2011, 10 percent in 2012, 7 percent in 2013, 3 percent in 2014 and 3 percent in 2015.

Koryzno said the city assessor contacted the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County to make the estimates. However, he said “it’s anybody’s guess” as to what the numbers would actually be.

“On the property value situation my gut feeling is leaning toward the worst-case (scenario) or something more toward the middle because I haven’t seen anything indicating we are getting turnaround on property sales or values,” Councilmember Pete Murdock, Ward 3, said.

Murdock went on to say he would estimate decline in state shared revenue should be gauged at more of a best-case or mid-range level. Many on council agreed with Murdock and gave directive to Koryzno to go with the worst-case prediction in taxable value and the middle-range prediction, with a state shared revenue decrease of about 12 percent.

“Worst-case scenario predictions have gotten us where we are which is, I think, as good of a condition we could possibly be in given the conditions that we’re in,” Councilmember William Nickles, Ward 2, said.

Nickels said the numbers are adjustable and the city would be able to gauge the changes in revenue as the fiscal year progressed.

Council gave directive to city staff to pursue a “shopping list” of items or services that could potentially be trimmed from the budget along with line-item costs of services YPD provides.

Giving an estimate after Thursday’s meeting Koryzno said, depending on how the numbers crunch, budget shortfalls could range from half a million to $1.1 million.

Koryzno also said Thursday’s meeting was just the beginning of many conversations the city will have as it looks to reduce its general fund budget.

The next special strategic budget session is scheduled for Aug. 11, in which the city will be discussing fire services.

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