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A2 City News Resident Newsletter

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A2 City News is emailed to newsletter subscribers by the City of Ann Arbor. Please share comments via email o​​r call 734.794.6110, extension 41105. The current A2 City News resident newslette​r articles appear below in plain-text format.

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A2 City News, Decembe​r​​ 2019​​​​​​​​​​​ (PDF), Volume 13, Number 12 (originally distributed Dec. 2, 2019, via email to "re​​​​sident newsletter: A2 City News" subscribers)​​

Final week for cu​​​rbside compost collection

It's last call for clearing your property of leaves, if you also want to also dispose of them right away. Seasonal curbside compost/yard waste collections end Friday, Dec. 13. Ann Arbor residents, commercial properties and/or their contracted landscapers and haulers may drop off leaves (only) to the Compost Center at no charge also through Dec. 13. Proof of residency is required. The Compost Center is located at 4150 Platt Road and is open weekdays 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Please note, Michigan law prohibits leaf burning in cities with populations over 7,500, which includes Ann Arbor. Go online to learn more about leaf-management options.

Quality Water Ma​​​tters

The December issue of A2H2O: Quality Water Matters (PDF) provides updates on two large water projects kicking off this winter: water meter upgrade and lead service line inventory.

Get read​y for winter (again) in A2

  • Carts should never be placed in a bike lane.
    Carts must be free of debris, including snow/ice, which may hinder service.
  • Don't place carts on top of snow banks. Clear a “shelf" so the cart can rest flat.
  • If possible, put carts out after street has been plowed.

Snow and ice man​​agement reminders

  • Residents and/or property owners are responsible for removing snow/ice from adjacent sidewalks, crosswalk ramps and bus stops. Residents/property owners will receive only one warning, per season, before incurring fines.
  • A2, be safe when clearing ice and snow, exercise caution and care, especially during extreme cold.
  • Remember, moving snow/ice from private property onto another's property, a public street, sidewalk or bridge is against the law. To report a problem sidewalk, please use the A2 Fix It app, visit a2gov.org/a2fixit or call 734.794.6942.
  • Residential property: Within 24-hours, any accumulation of snow greater than 1 inch must be cleared from adjacent sidewalks, concrete bus stops and crosswalk ramps. Any ice accumulations must be treated within 18-hours of forming with sand, salt or other substance, to prevent it from becoming slippery. The city is not responsible for clearing mailboxes of snow and/or ice.
  • Non-residential property: Any snow/ice that has accumulated by 6 a.m. must be removed from adjacent sidewalks, bus stop walks and crosswalk ramps before noon on the same day.

Free sand/salt ​for residents

The city provides up to five gallons of a sand/salt mixture, per visit, at various locations around Ann Arbor. Residents must bring their own shovel and bucket as well as load material themselves from the marked piles. Sand/salt mixture is not for contractors or landscapers. Material is available now. Locations for pick up (PDF) include: 721 North Main Street | Almendinger Park | Buhr Park | Burns Park | Huron Hills Golf Course | Leslie Park | Veterans Memorial Park.

Protect water se​​​rvice

  • For pipes located within cabinets, open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate through.
  • Insulate any spigots or pipes on the outside of your home.
  • Let your faucet drip to keep water moving through the pipes.
  • Set your thermostat to the same temperature day and night. A slightly higher energy bill is worth avoiding the expense of a broken pipe and possible flooding.
  • If you will be away from home, set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Make sure you can locate your water shut off/water isolation valve inside the home before a water pipe break occurs.
  • Never attempt to unfreeze an indoor water pipe with an open flame or flammable liquid. This work is best left to professionals.

If you experience a frozen water pipe, or water has stopped flowing into your home, and you are unable to determine the location or nature of the problem, please contact the City of Ann Arbor for help in determining whether the problem is on the city side of water service. If you experience a broken or leaking water pipe, and can't find your isolation valve, or it doesn't work, please contact the city to shut off your water using the curb valve, for a fee. If a water emergency occurs, please call the city at 734.794.6320 Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. At all other times, please call 734.994.2840. If you live in a rental property/multi-family/apartment building, please contact your property manager first.

2020 deer managem​​ent program

On Nov. 18, City Council approved a resolution to contract with White Buffalo Inc. for sharpshooting management services for the City of Ann Arbor's 2020 deer management activities, which is the fifth year of the program. The approved lethal cull for winter 2020 will seek to address the impact of deer browsing in select areas with the removal of up to 150 deer.

White Buffalo Inc. will work under a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) amended special research permit, which allows the contracted sharpshooters to lethally remove up to 150 deer in designated City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas (PDF) as well as city-selected private parcels. The permit allows sharpshooting efforts Jan. 2-Jan. 26 on private property and public land.

View the closure map, read answers to frequently asked questions or sign up for deer management email notifications at www.a2gov.org/deermanagement. Specific questions can be emailed or call to leave a message on the deer hotline 734.794.6295, and a staff member will return the call.

Water mete​​r upgrades

The installation of upgraded water meters will begin in Ann Arbor homes and businesses in January 2020. This two-year project will replace approximately 26,500 aging meters with newer equipment that uses the latest metering technology and longer battery life. Once installed, these upgraded meters will provide more accurate readings.

What to expect:

  • The city will be sectioned into several upgrade regions.
  • A survey to gather information on potential cross connections prior to installation.
  • An examination of drinking water service line material at the time of upgrade.
  • The installation and inspection process will be completed in approximately 30–60 minutes, with interruptions to water service lasting no more than 15–20 minutes.

More information, and a video explaining the work, can be found on the project website, www.a2gov.org/meterupgrade, or call 734.794.6320.

Parks and ​​crafts with GIVE 365

A new “park"nership has been created between City of Ann Arbor Public Works Unit, the Ecology Center and GIVE 365. Join the Ecology Center at the Ann Arbor Senior Center, 1320 Baldwin Ave., to make a craft and learn about recycling and sustainability on Saturday, Dec. 7, 1–3 p.m. Participants — kids to adults — will create an ornament using shells, beads, buttons and more. This event is free!

Though walk-ins are welcome, preregistration is requested to help ensure there are enough crafting materials for everyone. Register by emailing: education@ecocenter.org. Visit the event page on the city website to learn more about this and future Parks & Crafts events.

A2 skate​​​s

The city's two ice arenas offer additional public skating opportunities during the Ann Arbor Public Schools holiday closures. All ages are welcomed. Skate rentals are available for just $3. As schedules are subject to change, please call the facility or go online before heading to the rink.

Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Arena, 2751 Packard Road | 734.794.6234 | www.a2gov.org/buhr, offers sessions noon–2 p.m. on the following days: Dec. 23-24, 26, 27*, 30-31. (*11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.). 

Veterans Memorial Indoor Ice Arena, 2150 Jackson Ave. | 734.794.6235 | www.a2gov.org/vets, offers sessions Dec. 23, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dec. 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dec. 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Dec. 28, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dec. 30, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; and Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Also, don't miss Funky Frosty Fridays, back for the season at Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Arena! Join the fun with themed ice skating events on the first Friday of each month, 7:15–8:45 p.m. through March. The Dec. 6 theme is Country Music Night, when you can kick up your heels and skate to today's country hits. The remainder of the 2020 schedule can be found on the Buhr Park facility website.

Neighborhood ice​ rinks

Once again, City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services will be creating natural outdoor ice rinks at Burns, Allmendinger and Northside parks for the 2019–2020 winter season. Crews have begun to set up the framework for the rinks and will be icing them when the weather permits. Stay tuned to the parks and recreation websiteFacebook and Twitter for updates on the official opening date.

The unsupervised rinks are free to use, but bring your own skates, as rental equipment is not offered. Staff will perform maintenance on the rinks once daily to keep the ice in good condition, weather permitting. In general the following weather conditions are desirable to establish and sustain a natural ice rink: an initial spell of cold weather, followed by weather where daytime high temperatures do not exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. Once weather conditions support starting the icing of the natural rinks, it will take 10–14 days to establish a quality 4-inch deep rink. When ice conditions allow, the rinks will be open during regular park hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Please look for signage to indicate when the rinks must close due to poor ice conditions.

Hockey play and sticks and pucks will not be permitted during the following times: 9–11 a.m., 1–2 p.m. and 4–5 p.m. This schedule will be in place to ensure all have the opportunity to enjoy the rinks.

Public swimming in​​​doors

Mack Indoor Pool (715 Brooks St. | 734.794.6237 | www.a2gov.org/mack) offers public swimming weekly. Rates: Adults – $5; youth (17 and under) and seniors (55+): $4; ages 3 and under are free with a paid adult swimmer. This includes lap swimming during the following schedule:

  • Monday–Thursday, noon–6:30 p.m. and 8–9 p.m. (two lanes available from 4–6:30 p.m. for lap swim).
  • Friday, noon–6:30 p.m. (two lanes available from 4–6:30 p.m. for lap swim).
  • Friday, 8–9 p.m., women's only swim; participants and staff are all female.
  • Saturday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. (lap swim only, three lanes available) and 2–6:30 p.m. (three lanes available for lap swim).
  • Sunday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (lap swim only: three lanes available) and 2–6:30 p.m. (three lanes available for lap swim).

Please also note extended hours: Dec. 23, 26–28; Jan. 1-3, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–noon (four lanes available for lap swim); and reduced hours: Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, the pool is open 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (four lanes available for lap swim). Mack Pool is closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Christmas tree free ​​drop-off sites

This holiday season, it is important to remember there is not curbside collection of discarded Christmas trees. Instead, the City of Ann Arbor provides four free drop-off locations for undecorated Christmas trees Friday, Dec. 13–Thursday, Jan. 31, 2020 (the pre-holiday dates are for those who may be leaving town). 

Four park locations are available during normal park hours, 6 a.m.–10 p.m. The collected trees will be chipped on a regular basis at the park sites. The park locations are:

  1. Southeast Area Park located on Ellsworth at Platt. Trees may be left at the dirt lot north of the basketball courts.
  2. West Park parking lot off Chapin near West Huron Street.
  3. Gallup boat launch parking lot, entrance on the southeast side of Geddes Road, East of Huron Parkway.
  4. Olson Park parking lot, 1515 Dhu Varren Road, near Pontiac Trail.

All tree stands, nails, ornaments, tinsel and plastic bags must be removed from the trees and properly discarded. Because the collected evergreens are chipped into mulch or composted, any metal, glass or plastic ornaments left on the tree can ruin the processing equipment, harm the operators, and spoil the landscaping mulch. Since wreaths and evergreen roping are generally made with wire or plastic backing, these items should be placed inside trash carts.

All drop-off locations will be closed after Jan. 31, 2020. After this time, Christmas trees must be cut, bundled and saved until the city's compost collection service resumes in April.

Winte​​​r taxes due

(*Updated 12/09/19 due to full-day closures of customer service center Dec. 24 and Dec. 31) Winter property taxes are due in December. Taxes may be paid online, by mail, at the City of Ann Arbor Customer Service Center (located on the first floor of Larcom City Hall at 301 E. Huron St.) or at several local banks. Ann Arbor State Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor and TCF Bank will accept full tax payments in December only. 

*The customer service center regular business hours are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, however it will be closed for business Tuesdays, Dec. 24 and 31, 2019, and Wednesdays​, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Property tax payments over the counter will be accepted without penalty on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.  One of the following services may also be used to make payments:

  • Online tax payments must be submitted by Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, to avoid penalty.
  • Drop box payments will be accepted without penalty through Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Drop boxes are located 1) on the north side of East Ann Street just east of North Fifth Avenue, and 2) inside the north vestibule of Larcom City Hall.​

Go to the city's treasury web page for more information, including how property taxes are calculated. 

Shelter from the​​​ cold

The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development and the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County are again providing emergency winter warming centers for those experiencing homelessness during severe, cold temperatures. Any individuals seeking emergency shelter from the cold can find a safe and warm place to sleep each night at the Delonis Center (312 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48103) and at partnering religious congregations throughout Washtenaw County.

Shelter will be available following the Delonis Center's daily 5 p.m. dinners, which are open to the public. Individuals and families seeking shelter or experiencing a housing crisis should contact Housing Access for Washtenaw County (HAWC) to be referred to the Delonis Center or other appropriate resources. HAWC can be reached at 734.961.1999. If it is after 5 p.m., individuals can go directly to the Delonis Center to receive assistance. This nightly winter shelter will be open until March 31, 2020, pending spring weather conditions.

Daytime shelter accommodations are also available at the Delonis Center and local congregations at varying times, generally 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Dec. 2–March 27. Details on locations and dates can be found on the SAWC information sheet or by calling the Delonis Center at 734.662.2829.

Winter shelter is operated by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC), and financially supported by Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor and SAWC itself.

Housing + affordability: Co​mmunity discussions

The city is beginning a public engagement process to assist in developing a shared understanding and language about affordable housing, and its relationship to jobs, development, growth and planning, by creating a framework for discussing or evaluating these issues. Specifically, issues will be discussed in the context of redevelopment of two key publicly owned sites in downtown Ann Arbor, as part of a larger context of housing and affordability in our city: vacant city-owned lots at 350 S. Fifth Ave. and 415 W. Washington St.

What is affordable housing? Where should it be located? Why is it needed? How should it be developed? Discussions surrounding these questions will take place at a series of open-house style community meetings:

  • Thursday Dec. 5 at the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, 150 S. 5th Ave., suite 301, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 6 at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, third floor freespace, noon–4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Ann Arbor YMCA, Michigan room, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 8 at Cirq, 210 S. 1st St., noon–4 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 9 at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, third floor freespace, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Learn more on the city website.

Warrant Reso​​​lution Day

Outstanding warrants and fear of incarceration can often prevent individuals from seeking or securing employment as well as seeking assistance for themselves — and for their children and families — such as shelter and food. Now, individuals will soon have the opportunity for same-day resolution of their 15th District Court misdemeanor warrants, access to supportive services and more. The Ann Arbor 15th District Court Warrant Resolution Day is set for Monday, Dec. 16, noon–8 p.m., providing a network of assistance, all in one place, to facilitate the warrant resolution process. Multiple agencies will come together for the event, taking place in the Ann Arbor Justice Center located at 301 E. Huron St.

Warrant Resolution Day is intended to aid individuals in exiting the criminal justice system and reducing their risk of recidivism, as well as helping individuals get access to the support they need. The event will be structured so that an individual can meet with a public defender, prosecutor and judge. A probation agent will also be present to assist with probation warrants. Though child care will not be provided, the atmosphere will be family friendly to help ensure this opportunity is accessible to those without someone to watch their child(ren) while they attend this event.

Warrant Resolution Day is primarily geared toward those with misdemeanor, non-assaultive warrants, however, others interested in learning about record expungement of a criminal conviction are also encouraged to attend. Resources will be available and individuals will be able to speak with representatives from the local bar association.

Questions about attending the event can be directed to the 15th District Court at 734.794.6750 or to the event organizer, Senior Assistant City Attorney Arianne Slay, at 734.794.6176 | aslay@a2gov.org.

Ann Arbor Citi​​zens Academy

Do you want to know more about your city — planning efforts, budget, elections, sustainability, public safety and more? Apply to attend the 2020 Ann Arbor Citizens Academy! Weekly classes are on Wednesday evenings, Jan. 22–March 18. Applications are being accepted until 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec 14. Visit the city website to learn more and to apply. 

Ann Arbor F​​armers Market celebrates the season

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market (AAFM, 315 Detroit St. | www.a2gov.org/market) is giving shoppers plenty to look forward to this holiday season. In addition, market vendors will be offering customer appreciation specials in December at the Wednesday markets, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 

Friday, Dec. 6 — KindleFest, 4–10 p.m. The KindleFest Market features artisans, farmers and retailers with holiday wares plus traditional food, mulled wine and beer. There will be pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer, fire pits to keep warm and for s'more roasting, caroling, strolling musicians, Santa (arriving at approximately 6 p.m.), lots of lights and more. This year, KindleFest coincides with the annual Midnight Madness event throughout the business districts of Ann Arbor. Kerrytown District retail businesses will also be open late on this evening with special holiday bargains. Early-bird shopping begins at 4 p.m.; the Kid Zone will be open 4–6 p.m. in the big tent at the AAFM with fun crafts, games and entertainment. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 6 p.m.!

Saturday, Dec. 14 — A Holiday Farmers Market, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Join a great shopping experience in a fun and festive atmosphere at the special Holiday Market! There will be truckloads of fresh produce, Christmas trees, farm-raised meats and eggs, orchard fruits, handmade pies and other foods available to make your holidays local and special. Unique, handmade artisan gifts will also be sold directly from their makers, making this a true holiday, one-stop shop! Shoppers can enjoy free hot chocolate, s'more making, a bonfire, kids activities and more throughout the day.

Other important dates

  • Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. — Final Wednesday market of the year. Wednesday markets will return in May 2020.
  • Saturday, Dec. 21, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. — Saturday market before Christmas. Don't miss this last chance to shop the market before Christmas!
  • Starting Jan. 4, 2020, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. — Saturday market winter hours begin. The Saturday market continues all year long. The community can support local farmers all winter as they bring fresh produce and more to the open-air, pavilion-covered market.

More events will be shared as they are added to the schedule on the AAFM website, www.a2gov.org/market , and on Facebook and Instagram @A2Market.

Go​​od news

  • The Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) has been awarded 90 new non-elderly disabled (NED) vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vouchers will help AAHC offset the high need in the community for rent subsidies for low-income households, and especially households with a family member with a disability. This is the second tim​e AAHC has been awarded in two years. In 2017, the AAHC received 45 vouchers, which they also quickly leased up. Visit the city website to learn more.
  • Congratulations to the city finance and administrative services area! Due to their hard work and diligence, the city has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.
  • Ann Arbor is ranked at No. 3 in the list of Top U.S. Tech Hubs. Learn more about Bloomberg's 2019 Brain Concentration Index.
  • The city has again achieved a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Equality Federation Institute for the 2019 Municipal Equality Index —100 of 100 points. According to the MEI website, this initiative examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on nondiscrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on equality.

City schedul​​e notes

  • Tues​days, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31: City municipal offices are closed.  Trash/recycling will be collected as usual on these Mondays.
  • Wednesdays, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1, 2020— Christmas and New Year's Day holidays: City municipal offices are closed. There is no trash or recycling collection on these holiday Wednesdays. Instead, collections will resume with a one-day delay, Thursday–Saturday.

Holi​​day safety tips

The holidays are a time for friends, family — and extra awareness for your personal safety and security. City of Ann Arbor safety services provide these tips and reminders to help keep the season merry:

  • Stacks of wrapped presents, dry Christmas tree needles and festive lights and candles each pose an elevated risk for fires. Be sure to:
  • Choose a safe and healthy tree, and keep it watered so it doesn't dry out and become more of a fire hazard. Or if decorating with an artificial tree, choose one that is labeled as fire resistant.
  • Closely inspect holiday lights to ensure wiring is not frayed or damaged; and never overload electrical outlets.
  • Never leave lit candles and fireplaces unattended; and keep Christmas trees and other flammables a safe distance away.
  • Turn off tree lights and decorations when you are not going to be home and when you are sleeping.
  • The holidays also provide opportunities for theft, unfortunately. Don't make it easy for someone to target you, your home or your business.

When holiday shopping:

  • Avoid wearing expensive and attention-grabbing jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. Stash cash in your front pocket.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
  • Avoid parking next to vehicles with tinted windows, as well as vans.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Trust your instincts; and don't hesitate to ask mall or store security for an escort to your vehicle.

At home:

  • Keep expensive and easily accessible items out of plain site.
  • If you receive big-ticket items as gifts, such as televisions or other electronics, don't set out the boxes and packaging at the curb right away. Instead, cut up the boxes/packaging, and also wait a few weeks to discard.
  • The City of Ann Arbor wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.

Santa Liv​​e on CTN

Are there young ones in your life dear to your heart? Be sure to let them know Santa Claus will be taking calls from his home in the North Pole ... and you can watch it live on Ann Arbor's own CTN!

Kids (nice and naughty) can watch and call in to the CTN studio hotline at 734.794.6155 to share their holiday wishes and questions directly with Santa Thursday, Dec. 12, 6–8 p.m. Santa Live will air on CTN Channel 17; or, if you're away from a TV, watch the live stream online at www.a2gov.org/watchctn, and click "public access."​

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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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