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

Township reacts to citizens' concerns about safety

Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Extended curfew, more police funding approved in Ypsilanti Township

By Mark Tower
May. 6, 2010    ·    4:39 p.m.

After attending two community forums hosted by the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office regarding public safety, Ypsilanti Township Trustees approved a few changes at a meeting of the board Wednesday that they hope will foster better security for township residents.

Some of the biggest complaints residents made at the forums, Police Services Coordinator Mike Radzik said, included fear and intimidation caused by youths loitering in groups, vicious animals, vacant houses and home invasions.

To combat these issues, trustees took two actions Wednesday by unanimous votes.

The curfew for anyone under the age of 18 in the township, which previously was in place from 11 p.m to 5:30 a.m., will now be extended an hour, starting instead at 10 p.m.

Trustees also amended their budget, approving an expenditure of $100,000 to pay for additional overtime hours for WCSO deputies and to contract with the WCSO for Lincoln Consolidated Schools' police liaison officer, who will work on priority issues in the township during the summer, when school is not in session.

The $100,000 approved by the board will come out of the township's prior year fund balance.

The curfew extension, Radzik said, is mostly about giving law enforcement a reason to stop anyone under the age of 18 in violation of the curfew, who may also be involved in other criminal activity.

“It is an effective tool for law enforcement to use,” he said. “Police can use this to intervene when someone is going to or coming back from committing a crime, because they are on the street after curfew hours.”

Of the additional $100,000 trustees agreed to pay the Sheriff's office this year, $66,695 will go to pay for special “proactive” overtime policing in the township, and Radzik said those deputies would focus on issues listed as priorities by the township.

Most of these priorities, he said, would come out of community input at the WCSO community forums and neighborhood watch meetings and would include curbing youth loitering and possible suspicion of gang activity, handling complaints regarding vicious dogs, slowing home invasions and dealing with property crimes.

The remaining $33,305 of the funding appropriation will pay for Lincoln's school liaison officer, who will also work on special projects during the summer as prioritized by the township board, Radzik said.

After a 2-mill police services tax proposal failed in 2009, Ypsilanti Township lost seven of the then-38 deputies assigned to the township. Radzik said they had originally forecasted that without the millage they would need to eliminate 10 of the deputies, but by eliminating things like proactive overtime they only needed to cut seven.

“This would be what I consider a much-needed enhancement,” he said.

Township Attorney Doug Winters told trustees Wednesday that after talking with other law enforcement agencies in the community, it sounds like the summer of 2010 has the potential to be a “very bloody summer.” The extension of the curfew and additional money for law enforcement, Winters said, are good ways to be preemptive and proactive in fighting this possible increase in crime.

Trustee Stan Eldridge asked how the board could be sure the money they are spending on this special overtime is actually spent dealing with the problems citizens see in the township.

Radzik said approval for any overtime from that fund would need to first come from him, acting on behalf of the board of trustees, who he asked to direct him in setting law enforcement priorities. The WCSO, he said, could also provide trustees with daily or weekly logs of deputies' activities to confirm their money being spent on overtime is being spent well.

The WCSO has agreed, Radzik said, to limit the vacation time to 10 days for the school liaison officer during the period he is contracted by township. He said these officers usually take most of their vacation time when school is out for the summer, which will not be true in this case.

A separate contract will be drafted between the township and the Sheriff's office for the additional deputy and the “proactive” overtime fund, and Radzik said he expected to have it for consideration at the board's next meeting.

Related articles:
Sheriff hosts community forum in Ypsilanti Township
Ypsilanti voters reject tax increases

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