Ypsilanti Citizen News ]]>

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 eyes 11 layoffs in public safety

City Manager Ed Koryzno, Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker and Administrative Services Director April McGrath present police layoffs to City Council, part of a $1.4 million package of cuts. Photo by Dan DuChene

City Manager Ed Koryzno, Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker and Administrative Services Director April McGrath present police layoffs to City Council, part of a $1.4 million package of cuts.
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Overtime costs and service impact questioned about $1.4 million in cuts

By Dan DuChene
Jan. 12, 2010    ·    2:19 p.m.

In an effort to cut $1.4 million from its budget, City Council discussed a proposal to layoff police officers and fire fighters while reducing administrative pay.

City Manager Ed Koryzno made the presentation to City Council Monday night during a budget workshop held at City Hall. His plan is to have all layoff and salary reductions effective by March 1.

Aside from already transferring the city’s dispatchers to Washtenaw County, for an estimated savings of $158,000, Koryzno plans to layoff five police officers, six firefighters and reducing administrator pay by 5 percent through closing City Hall 13 days out of the year.

Koryzno cited shrinking revenue from decreases in taxable values in the city and increasing expenditures as the main causes for needing the cuts. Without reductions in expenditures, he estimates the city’s general fund balance will begin shrinking every year starting this year and eventually end up $2.9 million in the red by 2015. If the cuts are made, he expects the balance to decrease steadily starting next year, but still keep $500,000 by 2015.

He expects the city to begin deficit spending in 2012.

Nearly 70 percent of the proposed cuts are out of what Koryzno called “public safety” departments. An anticipated $520,000 is planned to come out of the Ypsilanti Police Department and the Ypsilanti Fire Department is expected to shed $441,000 in costs. All of the savings are expected to come from personnel costs.

The plan for YPD includes eliminating the lieutenant position formerly held by new chief Amy Walker. It also calls to have an additional officer assigned to the LAWNET, a regional narcotics policing agency operated in Washtenaw and Livingston counties.

This plan would result in one less officer on the road at night and additional responsibilities for command officers and civilian employees.

“Core services can still be done,” Walker said at the meeting. “Emergency calls will be answered.”
However, she said lower priority calls, such as larceny from a motor vehicle and vandalism would have to wait if officers are already responding to other more serious emergencies. He also said the plan could have an impact on overtime costs and force the department to rely on neighboring agencies more.

The plan for YFD, which would lose a third of its current staff, is to reduce its current three platoon model to a two platoon model for the first time since 1976, according to YFD Chief Jon Ichesco.

It would leave four staff on each shift, but force the department to rely on aid from other agencies to meet the requirements for internally fighting a fire.

Ichesco said without two firefighters in a building and two out of a building, with a command officer by the truck, the department is required to only extinguish fires from the outside.

In addition, some councilmembers and firefighters believe the reductions at YFD would result in high fixed overtime costs, as much as $200,000.

At the meeting, firefighter Ken Hobbs said, “There is no way to maintain current service levels and lose a third of our staff.”

Several councilmembers said they wanted to know more information on the plan’s real effect on overtime costs.

Aside from the lack of clarity on scheduling issues, the city will also have to wait for collective bargaining to make any structural changes to YFD, as the three platoon system and current staffing levels per shift are all included in the employees’ contract.

Koryzno is hoping to save $280,000 through cuts at City Hall. Through closing the building 13 additional days throughout the year, he hopes to save $73,000 in what would equate to a 5 percent pay reduction for non-union employees.

Two part-time positions in the finance department would also be eliminated for a $60,000 savings.

The only non-personnel cuts are proposed for City Hall, those include completely cutting all utility payments to recreational buildings, such as the Rutherford Pool and the Parkridge Community Center. Koryzno expects to save $35,000 through this measure.

“I would ask staff to find $35,000 from somewhere else,” Mayor Paul Schreiber said.

He said cutting the only remaining funding to recreational buildings from the city and forcing volunteers to find even more dollars to keep the facilities running would send a bad message. Councilmembers Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, and Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, agreed with Schreiber.

Finally, Koryzno’s plan also calls on the Downtown Development Authority to contribute an estimated $35,000 to help offset costs he said the city currently spends in services, such as street cleaning, hanging banners and other services.

All non-personnel cuts are planned to take place when the fiscal year starts in July.

Expect more stories about these budget cuts from the Citizen, as news develops and details are explored.

The Rocket

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