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

Ypsilanti to explore new storm drain utility charge

Ypsilanti Department of Public Service Director Stan Kirton and Office Manager Janice Beckett give City Council a presentation on service budgets at a special meeting Tuesday. Photo by Dan DuChene

Ypsilanti Department of Public Service Director Stan Kirton and Office Manager Janice Beckett give City Council a presentation on service budgets at a special meeting Tuesday.

Fee could help offset street budget shortage, affect schools, churches

By Dan DuChene
Apr. 1, 2009    ·    1:43 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council directed staff to look into the possibility of a storm water utility charge to save costs in the street construction budget.

The direction came at a special meeting held Tuesday night to discuss budget concerns with several aspects of the city’s service expenses.

The program, if implemented, would offset expenditures in the city’s major street fund by collecting fees from property owners based on the impact rain runoff from a parcel effects storm drain usage.

City Manager Ed Koryzno said the meeting was held to inform City Council of the problems facing the city’s street construction, waste removal and motor pool funds. He said he was looking for feedback and direction from Council after presenting information and options.

He said more direct action could be taken after he presents the budget, which is required by the city charter by the end of the month.

The idea to create a storm water utility charge was one of three options presented to Council to help offset shrinking revenue from the state gasoline tax and higher operating costs.

The utility charge could be collected from all city property—including schools, churches and non-profit organizations. Koryzno said the charge would be based on the percentage of a parcel’s land that does not allow natural ground absorption, such as buildings and parking lots.

“It’s not meant to be a tax,” Koryzno said. “It’s a fee to have that storm water sewer available.”

He said 10 other communities in the state currently operate such a program. The city of Ann Arbor is included as one of those cities.

Implementing the policy would require an ordinance passed by City Council. It would not require a public vote but would require at least two public hearings, which would allow Ypsilanti residents to speak on the issue.

Though Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, agreed to allowing Koryzno to look further into the matter, he did make some cautionary comments at the meeting. He called the move “politically dangerous.”

Robb said, “You’re hitting all these churches and it’s going to be unsettling to a lot of people.”

Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, and Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, both spoke against staff pursuing the option.

‘I just don’t think it’s very feasible at this very moment,” Murdock said.

Mayor Paul Schreiber and Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, spoke in favor of exploring the option. Bodary pointed to the absence of the other two councilmembers as cause to explore the idea further.

Since 2003, the fund balance in the major street budget has decreased from more than $1.8 million to less than $400,000, as money has been taken out of the reserve to continue funding projects.

“We’re getting to the point where this can’t go on for much longer,” Koryzno said at the meeting.

The city historically provides a 20 percent match to federal grants to repair streets. This is in addition to design and engineering costs.

College Place and Mansfield, the next street slotted for repair, will cost the city an estimated $86,000 and $122,000 respectively. Other projects on the list range in cost up to $694,000 for Huron River Drive from Cornell to Grove.

The city is currently seeking federal economic stimulus funding to help with reconstructing College Place and Mansfield.

Two other options were presented to City Council to help with the budget constraints facing street repair. Staff said the city could cease all federal grant improvement projects until the budget’s fund balance is restored and a local match could be met.

“I would think that would be the least desirable option,” Murdock said. “We’ll just be falling further and further behind.”

The second option discussed moving money from the city’s general fund to cover the gap in the major street budget. Koryzno called this “six in one hand and a half-dozen in the other” as it could create a lack of cash flow in the city’s general fund.

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