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A2 City News Resident Newsletter

A2 City News is emailed to newsletter subscribers by the City of Ann Arbor. Please share comments via email or call 734.794.6110, extension 41105. The current A2 City News resident newsletter articles appear below in plain-text format. The newsletter, in its entirety, can be viewed in a printable format, similar to the original e-newsletter.

A2 City News Masthead Image

A2 City News, April 2014, Volume 8, Number 4

(Originally distributed March 28, 2014, via email to "Resident Newsletter: A2 City News" subscribers)

In this issue: AAPD dedicated traffic enforcement * Compost season resumes * Road and sidewalk projects * Ann Arbor-Saline Road improvements * Heart your Park* CodeRED * Potholes * Ann Arbor Marathon * Summer day camp * U-M spring football game * Earth Day festival * Hydrant flushing * Sustainable Ann Arbor forum * Good news * AAHC receives support for renovations * Dates to remember

FY2015 budget planning underway

City staff continues to work to finalize the City Administrator’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, which will be submitted to City Council on April 21. This is the second of a two-year budget plan, which includes approximately $460,000 identified in recurring revenues than what was previously planned. On Feb. 10, staff presented to City Council recommendations for how limited recurring revenue funds could be utilized to address community and city resource needs.

The two City Council work sessions held on Feb. 10 and March 10 are available to view online via Community Television Network’s Video on Demand (http://a2govtv.pegcentral.com/). In addition, the process and all documents provided during work sessions are available online: www.a2gov.org/government/financeadminservices/budgetguide/Pages/BudgetPublicProcess.aspx.   

Next steps in the budget process include:

  • April 21: In accordance with City Charter, the City Administrator's Recommended FY2015 Budget is submitted to City Council. City Council members can only adopt one fiscal year at a time, even though the city plans for multi-year budgets.
  • May 5: A public hearing on the FY2015 Budget and Fee Schedule will be held at the regular session of City Council.
  • May 19: In accordance with City Charter, City Council, with at least seven affirmative votes, must adopt the budget no later than its second meeting in May. If a budget is not adopted at this meeting, the City Administrator’s Recommended Budget is deemed adopted.

AAPD dedicated traffic enforcement

At their Dec. 16, 2013, meeting, Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution to increase the general fund safety services budget by $125,000 for police overtime for traffic enforcement. This funding has enabled additional enforcement and education opportunities at some of the city’s busiest intersections or where complaints are most frequently reported.

Since Jan. 9, 2014, more than 450 hours of dedicated traffic enforcement have been undertaken by the Ann Arbor Police Department. A total of 80 percent of the enforcement time focused on pedestrian-related safety concerns, such as at crosswalks or failing to yield at a red light or stop sign. The other 20 percent focused on speeding or disregarding traffic control devices.

There have been 40 separate, dedicated locations of enforcement throughout the city; 14 of these locations have been in the downtown or student areas. There have been 363 traffic stops initiated and 166 citations issued, accounting for 46 percent of the total contacts. More than half of the contacts, 197 or 54 percent, resulted in warnings or educational opportunities. To support the increased enforcement and education efforts, the city has also been using its social media platforms to emphasize safe driving, cycling and pedestrian practices.
Some of the locations for dedicated enforcement have been identified through the new AAPD traffic complaint questionnaire, https://admin.govdelivery.com/abe/bulletins/257194/www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1463514/Ann-Arbor-Traffic-Complaint-Questionnaire, which was launched online Jan. 13, 2014. Since its implementation, 47 separate responses to the questionnaire have been submitted. The traffic complaint questionnaire enables concerned citizens to provide specific details about their own traffic experiences or observations. If you have a traffic complaint or concern, AAPD welcomes the opportunity to hear from you.

Compost season resumes, newly expanded

The weekly curbside collection of residential compost in the City of Ann Arbor resumes Monday, March 31, with pickups on regular trash collection days. The compost program accepts grass clippings; twigs and branches; leaves; plants; garden debris; fruits, vegetables and all “plate scrapings*;” uncoated paper plates, paper cups; and napkins.

Residents must place compostables at the curb before 7 a.m. on their weekly waste collection day — and allow at least 3 feet between each cart. Compost may be discarded in a city compost cart, paper yard waste bags or brush bundles up to 6 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length.

* Composting is expanding, beginning this season, to include plate scrapings. Compost cart owners can begin placing all "plate scrapings" into their carts — including meat, bones and other leftovers. To help get plate scrapings from the kitchen to the cart, compost cart owners qualify for a free 1.9 gallon kitchen composter. Cart owners will receive a postcard in the mail with information on how to claim the new composter. This attractive unit — designed to fit on an average kitchen countertop — conveniently collects plate scrapings without having to take dishes to the cart. The unit is dishwasher safe, comes with an ergonomic handle, a vented lid, and has a locking lid designed to stay closed even if it falls from the counter.

Go online for complete details about the 2014 compost season: www.a2gov.org/compost

2014 road and sidewalk projects

Beginning this spring/summer, the city will resurface a number of streets, both major and local, reconstructing several local roads and installing new sidewalks.

Resurfacing typically consists of removing/replacing sections of damaged or settled curb, repairing/replacing drainage inlets and utility structures (manholes), replacing corner ramps (to meet current Americans with Disability Act standards) and repaving the roadway. Reconstruction involves replacing the road base, curbs and pavement. Often reconstruction projects also include upgrading the utilities such as water mains and storm water systems. Residents who live on streets slated for resurfacing or reconstruction will receive notice of the construction prior to the work beginning. Please go online to see the list of streets: www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Pages/RoadConstruction.aspx.  

Access to homes will be maintained, as will service for garbage pickup and mail delivery. Go online to stay updated on road closures and detours caused by resurfacing and construction work: www.a2gov.org/roads.  
If residents along the streets planned for resurfacing have sprinklers, invisible fence systems or special landscaping near the street at their homes, please contact the city project team, erolla@a2gov.org, so they are aware ahead of time. Replacement of curbs (where necessary) will impact the lawn extension. 
Funding for this resurfacing project is provided by the Street Reconstruction Millage (www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/project_management/Pages/StreetMillage.aspx). If you have questions, please contact Senior Project Manager Elizabeth Rolla at 734.794.6410, extension 43636 / erolla@a2gov.org.

Ann Arbor-Saline Road improvements to begin

Road construction season is upon us. Among the projects gearing up this month are the improvements to Ann Arbor-Saline Road between Oak Valley Drive and Eisenhower Parkway. This project is a cooperative effort between the City of Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw County Road Commission, Pittsfield Charter Township and the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

Proposed work includes rehabilitating/reconstructing the existing pavement and upgrading the pedestrian facilities on the east side of the road to provide a connection over I-94 between the city and township. Bike lanes are also planned for on both sides of the roadway between Lohr Road and Eisenhower Parkway.
Construction is scheduled to begin in April and continue until mid August, weather permitting. The WCRC will be administering the construction contract and managing the project. Go online for more information on this project: www.wcroads.org/node/2124. And, as city construction begins, subscribe to receive email or text alerts when road and lane closures are scheduled (www.a2gov.org/roads).  

Heart your Park

Gallup Park has been selected as a beneficiary of Macy’s “Heart Your Park” program. This program is part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” campaign, which aims to raise awareness and dollars for local parks across the country.

From March 7 to March 31, customers at Macy’s Briarwood Mall store can donate $1 or more at the register, with 100 percent of the donations benefiting Gallup Park. In addition, Macy’s will match the total customer donation across all stores, dollar for dollar, up to $250,000 in total!

Gallup Park is one of more than 550 parks nationwide that will benefit from Macy’s “Heart Your Park” this spring. In partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, the national non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of community parks, recreation and conservation, Macy’s stores across the country have each selected a local park or green space in their community to support through the program. Read more about this special program: www.a2gov.org/news/Pages/Gallup-Heart-Your-Park---03102014-.aspx.   

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Boil-water alerts, flooding and other dangers can strike with little or no warning. If you rely on a cell phone only or have recently disconnected your landline telephone, then it’s more important than ever to sign up for the city’s CodeRED notification system. Sign up today, as this could be the city’s only way to reach you in an emergency situation. You can select text, cell phone, home phone and even email notification options. This free and vital service is managed by the City of Ann Arbor office of emergency management. Don’t wait! Sign up is quick and simple.

The lowdown on potholes

City streets have been plagued by potholes, no thanks to the extreme temperatures and weather conditions from our wicked winter. Case in point: 284 pothole reports were received by the city in February 2014 alone, compared to just 46 in February 2013.

Potholes are defects caused by water entering through cracks in the street and pooling under the surface, in the street sub base. When freezing-and-thawing cycles occur, potholes are born.

A citizen-reported pothole on a city street or road will be patched within 24 weekday hours, weather and other activities permitting. To report a pothole on a City of Ann Arbor roadway, call 734.99.HOLES. If the pothole is on state trunkline (roadways with prefixes of “I,” “M” or “US route”), submit it to the Michigan Department of Transportation pothole Web page (www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_30883-69798--,00.html) or MDOT hotline at 888.296.4546.  
 
In the meantime, MDOT is suggesting some ways that motorists can avoid hitting potholes, and to minimize damage if they can't be missed.

Driving with extra caution — and not tailgating — will help drivers see potholes and provides time to react appropriately.

Potholes are sometimes difficult to spot and can also be concealed by puddles. So, when possible, avoid driving through standing water.

Properly inflated tires can help minimize damage when a pothole can't be avoided.

Slow down, then release the brakes, before hitting a pothole. This helps to reduce the speed at impact, as well as allows the vehicle suspension to better absorb the impact.

A full list of pothole tips is available on MDOT's website: www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9615_30883---,00.html

Ann Arbor Marathon is March 31

On Sunday, March 30, the Ann Arbor Marathon returns for its third year. As a result, numerous streets throughout the city will be temporarily closed. Go online to view the race course map to see which streets will be closed for the marathon; there are many: http://theannarbormarathon.com/street-closures! The marathon begins at 6:30 a.m., and streets are scheduled to reopen gradually, by 1:30 p.m., as runners complete the course.

Please plan your travels in and around the city accordingly, avoiding the race areas if possible, and be prepared for high traffic volumes and delays. Thank you in advance for your patience.
As with any public event — and even in your day-to-day routine — always be aware of your surroundings. If you see something that seems out of place or suspicious (www.dhs.gov/if-you-see-something-say-something-campaign), report it to local law enforcement. The Ann Arbor police desk phone number is 734.994.2911. Or, in the case of emergency, call 9-1-1.

Adventures await at summer day camp

The Argo River Camp journeys out each day, paddling boats down different sections of the beautiful Huron River. This unique camp for middle school kids is based out of a cabin in the woods at the Argo Canoe Livery, 1055 Longshore Drive.

When the campers aren’t out on the river, their favorite place to be is in the hammocks among the trees, before they venture out to the next activity. Argo River Camp explorations include kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, tubing the cascades, fishing, looking for and learning about river animals, geocaching and paddling to a park for disc golf games and a bonfire lunch. The best, and longest, river trip the campers venture out on is paddling from Hudson Mills to Dexter, spending the day kayaking the river and counting the turtles. Argo River Camp is limited to 12 campers each week with sessions offered throughout the summer for fun river adventures with friends.

  • Argo River Camp Launch for completed fifth/sixth grades: June 23–27, Aug. 4–8.
  • Argo River Camp for completed sixth/seventh/eighth grades: June 16–20, July 14–18, July 21–25, July 28–Aug. 1, Aug. 18–22.
  • Argo River Camp just for girls completed sixth/seventh/eighth grades: June 30–July 3 (no camp July 4) $180, resident; $225, nonresident.
  • Argo River Camp Pro for completed seventh/eighth grades: July 7–11, Aug. 11–15.
  • Rates: $225 residents; $275 nonresidents.
  • Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Extended Camp: 4–5:30 p.m.; $50 residents; $60 nonresidents.
  • To learn more about Argo River Camp, go online (www.dhs.gov/if-you-see-something-say-something-campaign) or call 734.794.6240.

In addition to Argo, the city offers several other summer day camps (www.a2gov.org/camps): Buhr Park, Fuller Park Pool, Gallup Canoe Livery, Huron Hills Golf Course and Leslie Science & Nature Center. Depending on the site you select, activities can include swimming, canoeing, golf, science, crafts and much more. Register online (https://online.activecommunities.com/annarbor/Start/Start.asp) or pick up a brochure at any parks facility to sign up via walk in, mail or fax.

U-M spring football game

The University of Michigan Mott Spring Football Scrimmage is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Michigan Stadium. Parking and vendor operations will be similar to a football Saturday game day in Ann Arbor, with special event no-parking restrictions in effect. In addition, signage will be displayed in the U-M Stadium area to promote the events-parking hotline number — 734.794.6444 — for residents and visitors with questions. Information about the event itself can be found on the U-M website: www.mgoblue.com/

Earth Day Festival

The Ann Arbor area annual Earth Day Festival takes place Sunday, April 27, noon–4 p.m. at Leslie Science & Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road. This FREE, family-friendly event features 40 local environmental, non-profit and government organizations; live animal demonstrations; hands-on activities; guided hikes; face painting; live entertainment; green building and commuting technologies; energy topics; water awareness; sustainable agriculture; Recycle Ann Arbor’s Recycled Runway Competition; and more. Join the fun and wear a costume to represent plants and animals for the All Species Parade. Go online for details: www.lesliesnc.org/a2earthday.

Spring fire hydrant flushing program to resume

The city’s water utilities division conducts seasonal fire hydrant inspection and system maintenance each year. The 2014 hydrant work is scheduled to begin in April, weather permitting. Hydrant-flushing schedules will be posted throughout the process on the city’s “news” Web page (www.a2gov.org/news); and more information is available on the city’s hydrant-flushing website: www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/water_treatment/Pages/hydrantflush.aspx.  

Why is it helpful to know when hydrant flushing is happening in your neighborhood? On occasion during the hydrant-flushing process, the water in area homes may have an orange or rusty appearance. The discolored water does not pose a health or safety risk, but the water can cause stains to laundry. If water appears discolored, please run the cold water for several minutes to clear your lines. You should also flush your toilets once or twice. The water should run clear within a few minutes. The iron sediment in the water main being disturbed by the hydrant flushing causes the discoloration.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the hydrant-flushing process, go online (www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/water_treatment/Pages/hydrantflush.aspx) or contact the City of Ann Arbor field services unit at 734.794.6350.

Don’t miss the final 2014 Sustainability Forum

Since 2012, the City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor District Library have presented the Sustainable Ann Arbor series, leading discussions centered on Ann Arbor’s sustainability framework. The 2014 series kicked off in January, and the next forum, April 9, is the finale for this year.

Local food is the focus of the April 9 forum. Discussion points will include the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, our local food economy and tips on how to support and participate in Ann Arbor’s local food system. Go online for details, www.a2gov.org/sustainability/Pages/SustainableAnnArborForum.aspx, and be sure to join the conversation, 7–8:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave.

Good news

Ann Arbor is ranked fourth on the list of America's best college towns. The study, conducted by U.S. News, looked at the top 100 colleges and universities and then examined the towns they are in. Rankings were then based on criteria such as the cities’ amenities, quality of life, crime, tax rates, etc.

AAHC receives support for renovations

In late 2012, Ann Arbor Housing Commission submitted an application and was approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for participation in the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program. The RAD program provides for the transition of its public housing portfolio to the Section 8 Project-based Voucher Program. AAHC has selected this course as a means to raise funds to renovate and/or replace aged units to ensure that these low-income units will be retained in the community. Some of the units can be rehabilitated, and other units will be demolished and reconstructed based on their condition. The sites that will be demolished offer an opportunity to add additional units, add ADA and accessible units and to build more energy-efficient units.

Meetings have been taking place with tenants who will need to temporarily relocate during the project; and AAHC is going beyond the requirements of the Uniform Relocation Act to help make the process as easy as possible. Major rehabilitation is planned for 251 of 355 AAHC units at Miller, Baker, Green-Baxter, Hikone and Maple Meadows. Phase two will include 28 more units, located on Oakwood, Main, Pennsylvania, South Seventh and Platt. The improvements include plumbing and electrical updates, drainage improvements, elevator replacements, energy efficient fixtures and lighting, insulation, siding, roofing, additional security systems, flooring, cabinets and painting, among other upgrades.

To mitigate the project cost increases and maintain the viability of the projects, AAHC has been working with its codeveloper to raise additional private-equity funds and to reduce construction costs through value engineering. By finding an investor who was willing to pay more for the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a large part of the overall funding gaps in the projects have been significantly reduced. 
While the scopes of the projects have been refined to address the constraint of resources, the current plans will still ensure the long-term viability of the units and will improve the living environment for tenants. Go online for more information on the AAHC: www.a2gov.org/services/OtherServices/Housing/Pages/default.aspx.

Dates to remember

Among the many public meetings/events taking place in April, including those featured in articles this month, here are some of the highlights. Go online for a complete list: www.a2gov.org/calendar

  • The last day to register to vote in the May 6 Special Election is Monday, April 7. Registrations are accepted at all Secretary of State offices and the Ann Arbor city clerk’s office (open 8 a.m.–5 p.m., located on the second floor of Larcom City Hall). Mailed registrations with a postmark by the deadline are also accepted. Call 734.794.6140 or go online for details: www.a2gov.org/elections.
  • On Good Friday, April 18, city municipal offices will close at noon. There is no interruption in trash/recycling/compost collection.
  • Gallup Canoe Livery is scheduled to open for the season on Saturday, April 19. 
  • Feel like rolling up your sleeves and lending a hand? The fourth annual Give 365 Earth Day Volunteer Extravaganza is Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20. 
  • Watch the feature film, Frozen, with your family as you float. The next Mack Indoor Pool Dive-in Movie night is Saturday, April 26.
  • Celebrate the environment at the Earth Day Festival Sunday, April 27. Free live entertainment, hands-on activities, guided hikes, a parade and much more is in store! 

2014 A2 City News Issues Archive

April 2014, Volume 8, No. 4 (PDF)

March 2014, Volume 8, No. 3 (PDF)

February 2014, Volume 8, No. 2 (PDF)

January 2014, Volume 8, No. 1 (PDF)

Special Accomodations

If you know a city resident who requires this newsletter in an alternative format, please email the city communications office or call 734.794.6110, extension 41105.

Persons with disabilities are encouraged to participate in public meetings. Accommodations, including sign language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk’s office at 734.794.6140 or by written request via email to cityclerk@a2gov.org, or mailed or delivered to the City Clerk’s office, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Requests need to be received at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

City Mission Statement

The City of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all through the intelligent use of our resources while valuing an open environment that fosters fair, sensitive and respectful treatment of all employees and the community we serve.

City Council

Go to the city’s website for contact information for council members or to determine your ward; or contact the City Clerk’s office, second floor of Larcom City Hall, at 734.794.6140.

City Administration



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