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A2 City News, June 2019​​​​​​​​ (PDF), Volume 13, Number 6 (originally distributed May 31, 2019, via email to "re​​​​sident newsletter: A2 City News" subscribers)​

In this issue: ​​AAPD farewell to chief  |  June Quality Water Matters  |  Budget approved  |  Goatscaping  |  Parks mowing  |  Summer day camps  |  AAPD & AAFD events  |  Transportation input wanted  |  Mayor’s Green Fair  |  CTN seeks interns  |  Auction  |  Farmers market June events  |  Historic Preservation Awards  |  Light Up the (skate) Park  |  Good news  |  Fireworks do’s and don’ts

Police chief fare​​well

On May 24, the City of Ann Arbor bid farewell to Chief of Police Bob Pfannes. Chief Pfannes is retiring after 21 years with the AAPD, where he held several positions including patrol officer, sergeant and detective lieutenant serving as the commander of the detective section. He also served with the Detroit and Garden City police departments before coming to Ann Arbor and has been teaching at the Western Wayne Regional Police Academy for more than 25 years.

Sincere appreciation is extended to Chief Pfannes for his dedicated service to the community and keeping our city safe. For his more than two decades of service, Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution at their May 5 meeting to recognize and bestow upon him the title of chief for the period of his time as interim chief, April 2018, through the date of his retirement.

Since last December, the city has been conducting a comprehensive search for a new chief of police. The three candidates for the Ann Arbor chief of police position were in town to meet the community in May. A public reception was held May 15 at the Ann Arbor Justice Center; and public interviews with City Council occurred May 17 at Larcom City Hall. The city looks forward to introducing a new police chief in the coming weeks.

Quality Wat​​​er Matters update

Recently, there has been intense media coverage on emerging contaminants known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (commonly referred to as PFAS). In May, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services published new health-screening levels for five PFAS: PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS and PFBS. It's important to know that, even with the announcement of these new levels, the city's current PFAS management strategy (PDF) continues to meet the most restrictive public health criteria. 
The city anticipates that new information on PFAS health impacts will continue to be released and debated during the coming months. The city is committed to informing our residents of new information and guidelines as it becomes available via monthly Quality Water Matters reports and city website. Sign up for email notification about water topics at www.QualityWaterMatters.org or read the June Quality Water Matters issue (PDF).

Even though the city's PFAS levels are well below the Environmental Protection Agency's health advisory levels, the city's water treatment plant (WTP) staff continue to explore ways to improve treatment processes. This spring, the WTP completed the installation of a new type of granular activated carbon in its filters to improve water quality by reducing PFAS even further below health advisory levels. Finally, last month, WTP Manager Brian Steglitz provided testimony before the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., regarding a series of bills intended to address PFAS contamination. The invitation to give testimony underscores Ann Arbor's reputation not only in Michigan, but throughout the county, for seeking innovative solutions to address water-quality challenges and stay ahead of potential threats.

Do you have questions about Ann Arbor's water quality? Visit www.QualityWaterMatters.org, call WTP staff at 734.994.2840 or email water@a2gov.org for assistance. 

City Council approves FY2020​​ budget

On May 20, City Council approved the $465 million expenditure budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1, 2019. This is the first of a two-year budget plan for the latest anticipated revenue and includes expenditure strategies to establish an operating plan that is balanced. "Balanced" is defined as a plan that supports a sustainable delivery of services within projected revenues.

The approved 2020 budget includes funding for pedestrian safety, street reconstruction and repair, affordable housing, community mental health and climate action.

General fund recurring expenses are projected to increase by approximately $5 million or 4.9 percent, while recurring revenues are expected to increase by approximately $5.1 million or 5 percent in the next fiscal year. With $3.1 million in nonrecurring expenses and $2.3 million in nonrecurring revenue next fiscal year, the approved fiscal year 2020 budget includes using $713,386 in general fund cash reserves to balance the budget.

Highlights of the budget inc​​lude:

  • $750,000 for pedestrian safety.
  • $880,000 for climate action.
  • $880,000 for affordable housing.
  • $635,983 for additional police funding including two police officers.

The budget also includes funding to increase full-time city employees by 16, which includes an increase of two police officers.

Watch the May 20 City Cou​ncil meeting online via CTN Video on Demand or visit the Citizen Guide to Budget and Finance resource website to view budget-related documents and information about the budget process.

Goats at Gallu​p Park

Goats from Twin Willow Ranch of Milan, Michigan, will be arriving to Gallup Park June 6. No, City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation isn't opening a petting farm at the popular Gallup Park; instead the goats will be on a work assignment. Ten goats in all will be busy over the course of three weeks “goatscaping," removing brush from the park's two islands.

The islands are normally accessible via foot bridge; but during the three-week goat initiative, June 6–June 27, the islands, and bridges, will be closed.

Goatscaping is an eco-friendly form of brush control, as goats like to eat invasive plants, including poison ivy (to which goats are not allergic as some humans are). This pilot project is part of an ongoing effort to clear the overgrowth and invasive shrubbery as park staff work toward a long-term maintenance plan.

The goat initiative has an interactive component as well, for those curious about this work. GIVE 365 will be hosting three Goat Talk and Walk tours in conjunction with volunteer work days. How to participate in a tour, for more information about this initiative, including goat photos and their bios, and more is available at www.a2gov.org/goats-at-gallup.

Mowin​​​g in the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation system

Ann Arbor parks system is comprised of 159 parks covering more than 2,100 acres. Parks maintenance staff is responsible for the care and upkeep of the parks, which includes mowing. Currently, parks are mowed every 14 days. This schedule can be greatly impacted by the weather.

The recent span of rainy conditions, coupled with occasionally warm, sunny days, have been good for tree, wildflower and grass growth but certainly not for mowing. Additionally, some parks have low-lying areas that have been too rain-soaked to mow. Mowing equipment also has the potential to get stuck or be damaged if we're not mindful of the areas we care for.

When the weather does permit mowing, city staff often work longer days (into the evenings) and on weekends to catch up. Understanding these areas may appear unkempt, the city wants you to know work is underway to get the parks mowed as swiftly as possible and back on the regular schedule.

Please use the A2 Fix It app or A2 Fix It on the city website to report any concerns or maintenance issues, or call the parks customer service office at 734.794.6230. The city thanks you for your patience.

School's almost out (​​now what?)

With the school year coming to a close, families across the community are searching for fun, safe and meaningful ways for kids to spend their days. How about summer day camp with Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation? City of Ann Arbor day camps offer a positive environment where campers of all ages and interests can gain confidence and learn new skills while enjoying fun-filled days outside exploring the city's beautiful parks.

These day camps still have limited spots available, and take place at the following park sites:

Register online for a day camp, pick up a brochure at any parks facility or stop by the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Customer Service Office at 2781 Packard Road inside the barn at Cobblestone Farm.

Upcoming e​​​​vents with Ann Arbor police and fire

Two special events are taking place in June with the Ann Arbor Police and Fire departments. Save these dates!

On Saturday, June 8, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., all are invited to join Ann Arbor police and fire on Fifth Avenue, between Ann and Huron streets, for the Public Safety Open House (PDF). A live fire demonstration is scheduled for noon. Free.

On Sunday, June 9, at 3 p.m., the puck will drop between the Ann Arbor Police Department and the Ann Arbor Fire Department for the Battle of the Badges Charity Hockey Game (PDF). The battle takes place at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, 2121 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor. Admission is $10 per person. There will be a 50/50 raffle, and t-shirts will be on sale for $20 each. Proceeds benefit the Ann Arbor Firefighters Charities.

In addition to special events like these, the AAPD's and AAFD's focus on outreach is year round. The departments participate with Safety Town; police and fire station tours and ride-alongs; Ready Ann Arbor, which is modeled after the Department of Homeland Security's Ready campaign; Citizens' Police, Fire and Court Academy Program, as well as parades, assemblies and presentations with schools and businesses; and neighborhood block parties. Visit police and fire online for more information.  

Wanted: Transportation plan feedba​​ck

As part of the city's Comprehensive Transportation Plan update, the community is invited to participate in two events this June to share their thoughts and priorities for moving the city forward, together, toward vision zero.

Public Ope​n House

Thursday, June 13
5–7 p.m.
Larcom City Hall Lobby, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor
Materials will be available for review and feedback. Staff will also be on hand to answer questions.

Pop-up ​Meeting - Mayor's Green Fair

Friday, June 14
6–9 p.m.
Main Street, Downtown Ann Arbor
Activities will engage the community for feedback during the event and at the transportation table.

For more information, visit the Ann Arbor Moving Together Towards Vision Zero web page.

19th An​​nual Mayor's Green Fair

Downtown Ann Arbor will again be bustling in celebration of the environment and sustainability at the 19th annual Mayor's Green Fair Friday, June 14, 6–9 p.m. This free event takes place along Main Street between Huron and William streets and showcases the community's environmental leadership and innovation. With “Envisioning a Sustainable Ann Arbor" as this year's theme, all are welcome to attend and share thoughts on what a sustainable Ann Arbor means to you.

Here's more on what there will be to see, discover and do:

  • Environmental nonprofit organizations, government agencies and participating businesses that support environmental and sustainability practices.
  • Hands-on activities and live birds of prey demonstrations.
  • Live music, performed by The Vicissitudes.
  • Exhibitors that will show off innovative energy-saving designs and actions, including displays of alternative
    fuel vehicles, green building materials, solar energy installations, renewable energy installations and more!
  • Green transportation exhibits, sponsored by the getDowntown Program, showcasing a variety of ordinary and innovative sustainable transportation choices — featuring e-bikes and cargo bikes, information about the William Street bikeway, and autonomous vehicles.
  • Environmental nonprofit organizations, government agencies and participating businesses that have earned the Hands-on activities for all ages hosted by "Environmental Excellence" partners and/or "Community Partners for Clean Streams" as designation by Washtenaw County.
  • Live birds of prey demonstrations.
  • Live music performed by Paul's Big Radio.
  • Exhibitors will highlight innovative energy-saving designs and actions, including displays of alternative fuel vehicles, demonstrations of green building materials, solar energy installations, renewable energy installations and more.
  • Green transportation exhibits sponsored by the getDowntown Program highlighting opportunities available for cleaner trips — ranging from VanRide vanpools for long-distance commuting to cargo bikes for local shopping trips.
  • Bike parking available throughout downtown, or plan to take a bus using TheRide.org

Vendors and exhibitors will showcase products and initiatives highlighting Ann Arbor's 16 sustainability goals, including sustainable energy, energy conservation, healthy ecosystems and sustainable transportation.

Check out this promotion produced by CTN to catch a glimpse of what Green Fair is all about. For more information on Green Fair, visit www.a2gov.org/greenfair

ISO:​​ students for CTN internships

CTN of Ann Arbor is seeking students ages 17+ who are interested in learning about community access TV to become multi-media interns. Duties can include:

  • Assist with online outreach and promotion using Facebook and Twitter.
  • Creating channel bulletin board messages.
  • Data entry and organization of program library.
  • Editing PSAs, promos and programs.
  • Production assistance with camera operation for studio and remote shoots.

This is an unpaid internship that will provide valuable work experience. Interns will be actively involved in the daily operations at CTN. Credit or non-credit internships can be done during fall, spring and summer. A minimum of 15 hours per week is required.

To apply please submit your resume and or demo reel to ctn@a2gov.org.

Ve​​​hicle and equipment auction

The City of Ann Arbor sells used city vehicles and equipment through an annual auction with auction house Braun & Helmer. The sale is held each year on the first Wednesday of June. The 2019 auction is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5 at 4 p.m. Go online for details

June at t​​​he farmers market

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market (AAFM) is turning 100 years old this year, and great events are planned for the community to join the celebration all season long. Market Kids, Come Play! programs take place several days throughout June. The programs engage youth in meaningful art projects, led by local organizations like Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the Leslie Science & Nature Center and MAKE Art Studio.

The monthly Food Truck Rally is planned for 5–8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, June 5. More than a dozen food trucks will be serving up locally sourced, homemade, ready-to-eat foods. Food trucks include: Cosa Sabrosa, Hero Or Villain Van, Jamerican Grill, Wood Fired Up, TruckShuka Detroit, Simply Spanish, Naughty Boy's Rolled Ice Cream, Petey's Donuts, Impasto Detroit, The Salt & Sugar Co., Brother Truckers, Nosh Pit Detroit, Delectabowl Food Truck & Catering, MI Drinks, Shimmy Shack, Bearclaw Coffee Company and Bløm Meadworks mead tent. Live music, face painting, henna, kids games and tons of fun will also be included at the rally.

Another June highlight, local Chef Nikolas Bordt of Fustini's will be onsite for a cooking demonstration featuring seasonal ingredients from market vendors 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Wednesday, June 19. Stop by for a free tasting!

To keep up with all events and offerings at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, visit the webpage at www.a2gov.org/market or follow on Facebook and Instagram @A2Market.

Annual Historic Preservation Awards Cere​​​mony is June 3

The Ann Arbor Historic District Commission will conduct its 35th​ annual Historic Preservation Awards during the City Council meeting Monday, June 3, 7 p.m. at Larcom City Hall, second floor Council chambers. Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor will present recipients with their awards and extend appreciation for their contributions to the beautification of Ann Arbor.

There are 15 awards this year, for each of the following honors: Centennial, Special, Rehabilitation, Adaptive Reuse, Special Merit and Memoriam; plus nine Preservation Awards. Award-winning properties range in age from a circa 1850s retail building, to midcentury modern and include residential, institutional and commercial buildings.

Go online for details, including descriptions of the celebrated properties.

Ann Arbor Skatepark gets ready to Light U​​p the Park

All are invited on Sunday, June 23, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. as the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, in partnership with City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation and GIVE 365, host a free event, Light Up The Park, celebrating the five-year anniversary of the skatepark's grand opening.

Light Up The Park will feature guest athletes, food to purchase, music, skateboarding competitions and a vendor area. Light Up The Park kicks off of the Friends' Campaign to help fund much-needed lighting for the skatepark. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark Founder Trevor Staples at trevor@a2skatepark.org or calling 734.223.9837.

The Ann Arbor Skatepark is located in Veterans Memorial Park, 2150 Jackson Ave.

Go online for more event information, and be sure to join the fun!

Good ​​news

On April 10, communities from around Michigan gathered in Lansing for the 2018 Tree City USA Awards event. Ann Arbor received Tree City USA recertification from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The city was also awarded a Growth Award for going above and beyond the Tree City USA standards, by implementing a routine street-tree pruning schedule and significantly increased tree maintenance budget. The Tree City USA Growth Award is awarded to recognize higher levels of tree care by participating Tree City USA communities. The Growth Award highlights innovative programs and projects as well as increased commitment of resources for urban forestry. This marks the city's 38th year as a Tree City USA and fourth time the city has been honored with a Growth Award.

Sna​​​p, crackle … STOP?

Warm summer nights and fireworks seem to go hand in hand. But did you know there are laws dictating when, where and what kind of fireworks are legal to use (PDF)? Get the fireworks 411 before your celebration.

While the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act broadens the selection of fireworks available for home/amateur use statewide, it is important to know there are still usage parameters per City of Ann Arbor ordinance (Section 9:266 of Chapter 115 Weapons and Explosives of Title IX). 

Fireworks usage is permitted only during certain timeframes and only around national holidays. The timeframe guidelines for the Independence Day holiday are:

  • Use is prohibited prior to July 3 and after July 5.
  • Use is only permitted from 8 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on July 3, 4 and 5 with the following restrictions:
  1. Use is always prohibited on public property, including not only parks but also school property, as well as church/place of worship property and the property of another person unless the person using the fireworks has the expressed permission of the property owner.
  2. Use is always prohibited for persons under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  3. If the region is experiencing a dry spell, find out whether additional fireworks precautions or even restrictions are in place.

Please be mindful of sensitivities of other residents, pets and neighbors as well. Veterans and military-support organizations emphasize that fireworks can be particularly troublesome for military and veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you choose to use fireworks, please adhere to the ordinance, but please also use common courtesies, such as:

  • Informing neighbors in advance of your fireworks plans.
  • Limiting the frequency of your use during those acceptable usage hours.
  • Cleaning up all debris resulting from your fireworks use (see disposal tip below).

While the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals, for consumers who choose to use fireworks on their own, please note the following safety guidelines from Ann Arbor police and fire departments:

  • Keep a source of water available nearby. A connected hose is best, but a fire extinguisher or bucket of water will work, too.
  • Wet down an ignition area at least 30 feet in diameter for ground fireworks. That way if sparks do hit the ground, the chance of a spark igniting a fire will be minimal.
  • Light fireworks on a paved surface such as concrete or asphalt. If a hard surface is not available, select a dirt area without grass or vegetation. Keep fireworks away from any wooded or grassy areas.
  • Keep an eye out for smoldering fires in the grass or shrubs for 30 minutes after the display is completed. If in doubt, call 911.
  • After a fireworks display, never pick up fireworks right away that may be left over, as they may still be active. Fully soak used/dud fireworks in water, and dispose of in the trash, not in recycling.
  • The risk of fireworks injury is more than twice as high for children ages 10–14 as for the general population. Children should never participate in setting off fireworks, and they should remain a safe distance way from where fireworks are being set off.
  • Sparklers may seem harmless, but the tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. That is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
  • A person is legally responsible for any fire started or damage caused by fireworks they ignite.

Additional safety guidelines are available on the National Fire Protection Agency website.

Noted previously in this article, but bears repeating … Please remember that it is illegal to use fireworks at city parks! This is not only to keep our parks safe for all to enjoy, but also to help keep them free from the debris that fireworks create (and careless revelers often leave behind).​

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Special ​​​Accomodati​​​​ons

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.

All persons 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; via email to: cityclerk@a2gov.org; or by written request addressed and mailed or delivered to: City Clerk's Office  |  301 E. Huron St.  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48104 

Requests made with less than two business days notice may not be able to be accommodated.

City ​​​Missi​​on ​​

The city's ​mi​​ssion is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.​​ 

​Ann Arbor has 119,000 residents, spans 28.82 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, follow us on Twitter or become a city fan on Facebook

​City Co​​un​cil

​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.

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