Might now be a good time to revisit the City and Township coming together?

I received the following note from a friend today:

I’m wondering what the future holds with GM’s Willow Run plant closing. Think the township might be more interested in merging? Ypsi Township’s foreclosure rate is the highest in Washtenaw County right now, and without Willow Run, they are in trouble.

When we’ve broached the subject of Township annexation here in the past, it was clear that we didn’t have much in the way of a shared vision for the future. Maybe now, though, given what’s going on, our neighbors in the Township may be more receptive to the idea of working together. It’s certainly worth extending an offer… At the very least, maybe we could start a more serious dialogue about consolidating services.

This entry was posted in Politics, Ypsilanti and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

72 Comments

  1. EOS
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Never. Give it up.

  2. jorj
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    And let those hillbillies sully our fine downtown with their dirty feet, flapping chickens, and slack-jawed window-shopping?

    Never!

    I mean, uh, I’m afraid the DTCDC has so deeply offended these fine hard working folks of southern extraction, that it would insult them to even ask. Let’s do the right thing, Ypsilanti: no rubbing salt in the wounds caused by the DTCDC by annexing those dirty hillbillies. I mean, sensitive, hard working folks whom we love by excluding.

  3. Posted June 4, 2009 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Eventually there will be no other choice! Wouldn’t a regional government be a lot cheaper? When we run completely out of money, when we are on the brink – that is when something will happen, and it will happen quick.

  4. Burt Reynolds
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Tough call. As a township resident, I see all the poverty and run down buildings all over downtown. My taxes are already too high to take on any more problems from the city. That being said, something has to give. I know my property values have swiftly decreased, and with the WR plant closing will only get worse before it gets better.

    Tear down the buildings and make parks. Sure they bring in no money, but they are low maintenenace and not an eye sore. People like to walk their dogs in parks. And where dog walking is is usually prosperity. No one walks their dogs in the ghetto. Ypsi proper needs to start to move to a small town feel, other than this in the middle blight mess. Kinda like GM.

  5. elviscostello
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Well, Mark. Ypsilanti Township now has a new Fire Chief who has a history of implementing Automatic Mutual Aid in his previous department, so I would expect something moving along those lines fairly soon. As to other cooperation, I’d be very surprised.

  6. Casper
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Our friends in the Township may want to pick up a paper before commenting on what a terrifying ghetto the City is. In the past ten minutes I’ve read about two murders, and both took place in the Township.

    Rape and murder-
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2009/06/slaying_suspect_tells_police_h.html

    Murder over a wristwatch:
    http://ypsiciti.com/section/News/Three+face+murder+charges+after+Thursday%E2%80%99s+shooting-article-831.html

    For either one of us to prosper, we need to both prosper. We need to initiate serious dialogue around this issue.

  7. Citizen Blogger
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    A question for Burt. When you talk about “poverty and run-down buildings all over downtown”, what are you comparing that to?

    I hear a lot of this from Township residents, and it seems like they are being very selective about defining “the Township”. I look at East Michigan and Ecorse Roads in the Township, and have to imagine that Burt’s idea of the Township is the area south of I-94. The city and the northern township aren’t all that different.

  8. Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    By the way, if anybody on or near Cherry Hill lost a goat or sheep recently, there’s a found one at the Cherry Hill Humane Society.

  9. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    EOS, you crack me up. You’d rather see the whole area burn to the ground rather that intelligently investigate the sharing of commodity services toward the benefit of all. A merger of government wouldn’t even be necessary to achieve this, just some service agreements.

    That hate you have in your heart for the “other” – whatever that means to you – is gonna burn you up, man. Time to let go and act logically rather than emotionally. Time to grow up.

  10. Aaron
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’m a Township resident who is wholeheartedly in favor of consolidating services all the way up to annexation by the City. Personally, I think in the current situation, we in the Township basically live in a sprawl-a-riffic tax haven that sucks revenue out of the City while benefiting from its infrastructure. I’m sure I’m in a tiny minority of Township residents on this.

  11. nammeroo
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    BR: “Tough call. As a township resident, I see all the poverty and run down buildings all over downtown.” “People like to walk their dogs in parks. And where dog walking is is usually prosperity. No one walks their dogs in the ghetto. Ypsi proper needs to start to move to a small town feel, other than this in the middle blight mess.”

    I don’t know whose downtown you’re “seeing” or which decade you were last in downtown Ypsilanti BR, but what you describe isn’t the same place I visit regularly. As for the “ghetto” comment, it makes me think that perhaps the Human Rights Committee was right to oppose the use of “Ypsitucky” – we might have caused offense for just those sorts of folks who view Ypsilanti as a “ghetto.”

    As an Ypsilanti resident, I see a Township whose elected leadership has repeatedly failed the east side neighborhoods along Ecorse Rd. and East Michigan Ave. There have been plans after plans for improving things there, but the blight remains because the elected officials, when pressed by a few property owners, always back down.

    As for the west side Lathers/Kirk St. area where the recent shooting occurred, I’m not sure that the Township’s elected leaders are even aware that it’s part of Ypsilanti Twp…..

  12. Posted June 4, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Annex me!!!! Please! Aaron, you are not alone. The problem from our end, of course, is that we are not really electable within the township because of these views.

    And to Burt Reynolds and the other township loyalists… let’s map your day and use of services. Any of you go to Eastern for classes or put your kids in summer camp there? Drink at the Sidetrack? Go to festivals in Riverside Park? Watch the parades on Michigan Avenue? Tell people you are from “Ypsilanti”? Using the good of Ypsi (city) and rejecting its problems is abhorrent. There is a reason their taxes are so high — we, the people who use but do not directly pay, aren’t doing our share.

  13. Posted June 4, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I wonder how things would go if we in the city adopted a posture toward the township similar to their atitude toward us.
    – A “non-resident” fee to use our parks.
    – Constantly talk about how crime-ridden the township is (see Casper’s comment above).
    – Disband our police department and rely on county taxes to pay for our policing by the sheriff’s department.
    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

    I’ve always thought that the “charter township” was a terrible idea, and here we have front-row seats at the poster child for the failure of the charter township concept.

  14. Burt Reynolds
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    You’re right Citizen. I am referring to South of 94. I do understand the E. Michigan corridor is township, but in my jaded heart I don’t recognize it as. I try to come downtown as much as possible. I try to buy local as much as I can. I wish I had a better sense of pride, however one fact still remains: when family and friends visit, I still take them to A2 or stay south of 94 as it is embarrassing to take them downtown or east. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.

  15. EOS
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Any of you go to Eastern for classes or put your kids in summer camp there?
    No, but I’m already paying for what I don’t use through State taxes.

    Drink at the Sidetrack?
    No.

    Go to festivals in Riverside Park?
    No.

    Watch the parades on Michigan Avenue?
    No.

    Visit the city or use any roads or services?
    No.

    Tell people you are from “Ypsilanti”?
    Yes, but would support a name change to keep city residents from viewing the township as a source of bailout.

    The City fire department might consider contracting our fire chief for some services, but it will be pay as you go. The mutual aid probably wouldn’t work because the city can’t afford to maintain enough staffing or its infrastructure and the township couldn’t depend on them.

    There are some people in the township that might think that there’s a cost savings to be realized in consolidation, but a concerted education effort would cure them of these type of pipe dreams. Any township resident knowledgeable about the condition of city finances would not advocate consolidation.

    The loss of GM will hurt the township, but we have an excess of revenue currently and just approved all new millages. We’ll have to tighten the ship, there’s going to be hardship and suffering, but we’re in much better shape than the landlocked city with its high infrastructure costs.

  16. EOS
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Curt –

    There’s no hate involved. Liberals make decisions based on emotions and what “feels” right to them. Conservatives study the underlying economic realities and base their decisions on sound financial principals. That’s not to say I don’t feel bad for my neighbors in the city. But the fact is your votes and your leadership created the situation you are now in. And most in the city want to continue business as usual and are still resistant to change their outlook and their priorities. That’s exactly what we don’t want to consolidate with.

  17. Posted June 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    So there’s only two flavors of people? You strike me as someone who has real trouble thinking in nuanced terms.

  18. Bored of You
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    EOS is like the annoying pre-teen who constantly argues for the sake of arguing. Must be a lonely, unhappy existence.

  19. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    “You strike me as someone who has real trouble thinking in nuanced terms.”

    Can you put it in terms of extremes?

  20. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    EOS, you are always the first person in every thread to throw out “liberal” and “conservative”. Such a stark, colorless world you live in. Here I thought we were talking about finances and future planning and the wonderful possibilities of cooperating with our neighbors with whom we share so much – only to realize that “we” weren’t talking about anything.

  21. Publius
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    As long as its on the table, why do we need three school districts anyway?

  22. Burt Reynolds
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Because Lincoln won’t swallow WR or YPS for good reason…

  23. EOS
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Curt –

    You are joining this discussion after many previous posts. Read the previous history. Even Mark himself said that there’s no good reason for the township to merge with the city. Maybe search some term like “exploding township heads”. Even the mayor wanted me to meet him in back of the city hall. (No – he told me to meet him in his office. Someone else thought he’d bring the City Clerk to meet me out back to rough me up.) Yes, I admit, I have a political ideology that impacts my point of view on most subjects. It’s great when other people respond with logical arguments. Hey, they might even persuade me. But more and more, it’s just personal attacks and emotional appeals. Whatever.

  24. Winky
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Publius makes a good point. Here we are — Ypsi and WR school districts don’t have superintendents (or is WR’s super rescinding of her resignation still holding?) — so why not talk about hiring just 1 superintendent to cover both districts? It would be a step in finding ways to consolidate where it makes sense and putting more resources to the kids, versus administration. But I’m not very hopeful, as WR school board members have referred to Ypsilanti schools as the “enemy.” Sigh.

  25. Mark F.
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there are a whole lot of people who would argue that both the city and the township are in for a lot of pain with the imminent closure of the Willow Run Plant. That being said, Ypsi proper has had a lot more experience dealing with cuts, depreciated housing values, and would mostly be losing out due to fewer dollars flowing through the region. Ypsilanti Township on the other hand will be facing major cuts the size it hasn’t seen before with a loss of a large (largest?) employer and steep declines in property tax revenues.

    One of the benefits of suburbanization was the relatively high property values always kept taxes low while providing incredibly high levels of service. Now with the decline in values and revenues, the townships are going to begin to face the same problems cities have had since the late 60’s: low revenues force a community to cut back its services, the cutback in services forces down property values more and people begin to move out to newly developed areas with higher values, the exodus of people and decline in values force even bigger cuts, and so on and so forth. For an example at a bigger scale, look at the Detroit, the inner ring suburbs that used to be affluent white only communities are now indistinguishable from the core city neighborhoods themselves. I hope that neither Ypsi or the Townships become Detroit, but the feedback look of sprawl hurts both city and suburb alike once buildout capacity is reached.

    Now, let me say this, for the sake of getting something done, the idea of annexation should immediately be taken off the table. As soon as that is mentioned fists come out. But neither Ypsi or the township will survive this recession the way they want if they don’t collaborate. What I would envision is planning both communities at a regional level. In terms of structure there are many ways this can work, but one way is retaining both local city councils but combining planning departments. The important aspect is to maintain a community’s ability to make its own decisions, while ensuring bordering communities have input. The purpose of this would be to pursue common goals that would be difficult to pursue independently, the most general being that Ypsilanti would be a safe and livable community and cultural urban center, while the township would retain property values, services, and remain primarily for single family dwelling neighborhoods. Neither of these is fully possible because as stated above, the township will begin to feel the effects of long term property decline, and they city does not possess a population or tax base large enough to fully support a thriving and growing downtown.

    In terms of economic development, this means recognizing that businesses looking to locate new facilities don’t want to do so in a place where neighboring communities squabble over petty issues. So align zoning codes and development incentives regionally to demonstrate a mature and friendly business climate.

    In terms of saving money, share anything that is reasonably possible. Some will be more contentious than others, but fire districts are always a good start. At higher levels this can mean sharing land uses, so that the city can provide for the township’s affordable housing requirements. Remember that the state requires almost as much of charter townships as it does cities, and there are many requirements that don’t make a whole lot of sense (i.e. require planning affordable housing units in townships where cars are a necessity, where it would make more sense to consolidate housing regionally into cities where jobs and basic necessities are within walking distance).

    Essentially there is unlimited room for innovation. Michigan is a home rule state, so the city and township can do whatever they would like regarding finding ways to save money. Few people here want any more of the city vs. township battles that continue to push away potential economic investment here. The goals of both the city and township(s) are essentially the same if communicated differently, and basic collaboration will go a long ways in reaching them.

  26. galan
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    The mayor and city council have already examined several strategies for sharing services with the township and the county as well. These efforts continue. In some cases it is actually more expensive for the city to share because pay scales are higher in the township and county, etc. Getting the timing of contracts to coordinate is another problem that came up, but efforts continue where it is practical, including bus services.

  27. EOS
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mark F. That was an articulate, logical, and well thought out response.

    I differ with your point of view on several aspects. First, the township is not a “suburb” of the city of Ypsilanti. The taxes are low because the level of services is low. Losing the largest taxpayer in the township is detrimental, but with taxes in the township only a third of what they are in the city, we can replace the lost revenue to an extent.

    The current recession reduces the ability of homeowners to sell and move to greener pastures. Those who maintain employment will most likely stay put and ride out the recession until housing prices rebound, if ever.

    I’m glad we agree that annexation is off the table, especially since State law prohibits annexation of Charter Townships without majority approval of Township voters.

    Businesses looking to locate new facilities will benefit by moving to the Township, where local government officials are friendly, helpful, and accessible and where there is plenty of undeveloped land available and where the taxes are significantly lower. In terms of economic development, the township has an incredible amount of potential, perhaps among the best in the state.

    The benefit of the city being a “cultural urban center” is not seen that way by the majority of families in the township. The bars, the Deja Vu, and the large population of transient students is an environment that most families feel the need to limit their children’s exposure to. Let’s be honest – Ann Arbor is considered to be the cultural center of the region.

    The township has no difficulty providing affordable housing on bus lines within walking distances of social services. Many in the township are closer to these needed services than some city residents.

    I fail to understand why city residents think they are locked in a battle with the township. We are two separate communities with our own forms of government completely separate and distinct from one another. Why is Ypsilanti Township to blame for the city’s economic plight any more than Superior and Pittsfield townships, or even the city of Ann Arbor?

    The elected officials in the township have stated that they are open to consolidating services where there is mutual benefit. Figure out what, if anything, the city has to offer the township, and propose a fair plan. Each community retaining an equal share of control of services while the township pays for 3/4 the cost is not fair. Cutting city fire protection services to an unsafe level and then proposing fire districts and/or mutual aid agreements is not fair or beneficial to the township. Your mayor and city council may very well design strategies for consolidating services, but it doesn’t go very far without the townships’ participation.

  28. West Cross
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    How long the before abandoned forclosure houses are as much as an eyesore as the abandoned downtown buildings (not that there are that many in downtown proper)?
    Seems like working together would be helpful to everyone and shouldn’t be viewed as a failure by either side.

  29. EOS
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    West Cross

    What can the city do to help us with abandoned, foreclosed homes? Will city taxpayers contribute to township revenues?

  30. EOS
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    By the way, is the township Ypsi improper?

  31. Mama Prawn Bely Butt
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Here’s how we can help. We can tear down the suburbs one house at a time, and use the materials to build a new, green development on Water Street. Then, we can farm the suburbs, as God had intended it.

  32. Mark H.
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Ypsi Township is not to blame for the city’s fiscal problems. Ypsi city leaders past and present who bought the Water-St-municipal-capitalism-get-rich-quick fantasy package for a debt of $20 million are the immediate authors of Ypsi’s fiscal crisis. Less immediate but still real authors of Ypsi’s fiscal problems are the city leaders of a half century ago who declined to annex the township when asked to do so; their choice ensured that new development would ring the city, but not benefit the city. They said no in large part because of anti-Appalachian bias — who wanted more of those hillbillies in the city? Not the city fathers. And of course, the general crisis of urban areas in Michigan and deindustrialization and the massive public policy bias toward new sprawling developments on farm land rather than redevelopment in cities — all those things are also relevant. But those are general problems, not unique to Ypsi, and the things I named above are the particular and uniquely Ypsilanti roots of the fiscal blues.

  33. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, the only solution is to heal old wounds by celebrating the Township’s history and culture with an Ypsitucky Jamboree. Time for the City Fathers to undo past wrongs.

  34. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Damn BA, you beat me to it! Second!

  35. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Depot Town should secede from the city and join the township! HA!

  36. ypsineighbor
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    in a cold day in hell

  37. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    You’ll pry Depot Town from our cold dead tax rolls, you damn dirty ape!

  38. Barb
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I support a merger on one condition, rename it ypsitucky.

  39. biscodo
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Why would the city ever want to annex the township and take on the commitment to providing services (police, fire, roads, etc.) to a 5x larger region that has a lower tax rate? (And mind you, there’s no way annexation will pass in a public vote if the plan is to apply city tax rates to the entire Twp.)

    Why not just do the reverse? (the Township annex the city) Gain the taxable base and infrastructure the City has, while not having to provide the kinds of services of a city. Disband the police department and contract the sheriff to patrol the entire merged Twp. Release responsibility of city road maintenance to the road commission and MDOT. Annex the city parks, make them Twp parks and then charge outsiders a non-resident admission fee. Apply township tax rates to EMU in the creation of the new municipality – thus actually taxing the university for the resources it consumes. Unify business development incentives and planning resources under a township-wide structure covering a greater area, opening up possibilities for development that are free of the city/twp divide, yet benefitting the entire new municipal region.

    The best part would be to cease the constant squabbling which, while it’s got to be fun to watch from the elitest snobbish perches west of Carpenter (kind of like a local version of Cops or Jerry Springer), is ultimately destructive to both municipalities. But the question is: what will it be named? Neither municipality will be willing to give up its name or identity, so which identity is destroyed? City? Township? Give it both and just name it Riverton? (or something similarly neutral, bland, and inoffensive – like the color taupe)

    If the City is not willing to submit to being annexed by the Twp, why would the City ever expect that the Twp would be willing to submit to being annexed by the City?

    Heck, the City can solve it’s problems by simply dis-incorporating (discorporating?). Declare bankruptcy, dissolve the municipality that is the City of Ypsilanti, abandon the bond payments for Water St., shut down police, fire, parks and rec, DDA, etc., requiring Twp, County, and State government to take up the slack. Give up the City organization and abandon it to the Township, who asserts that it is a better-managed municipality anyway.

    Unification through abandonment. If neither party can get their shit together on their own, and can’t find a way to get together, both will be miserable failures. How about that Flint/Flint Township… how are they doing these days?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/business/22flint.html?_r=1

  40. elviscostello
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    A few thoughts…
    EOS- “the level of services is low” in the Township because the taxes are low. Put Township Rec department and Senior Services up against the city and tell me which one has more to offer. How about Fire? The city has 5 on duty, the township 8 at minimum. Both departments do a good job with the resources they have. Township parks compared to City parks…Both good, but Townshp has more, with everything from nieghborhood miniparks to Hewens Creek, which is a very rural park with a fishing pond. I wouldn’t say that the level of services is lower in the township. I would argue that the city does a much better job with roads and snow removal, though…
    Mark H.- The real impact of Water Street has not been felt yet. If you go to http://www.trustygetto.com, you will see a countdown clock to the first due payment on the Water Street bond. When that starts kicking in, then we will see the real financial burden that the city will struggle with.
    Mark F.- “steep cuts” with the closing of the Powertrain plant? We will see. I am not convinced. First, the cuts wont occur until fiscal year 2011. The plant is staying open through December 2010. Second, Much of the taxable personal property had already been abated, and the structure will still be there. It will be interesting to see what the real impact will be. We heard the same doom and gloom when BOC closed. Also, it’s been reported that most of the Powertrain workers are not YT residents, but live in Wayne County. We will see…
    biscodo- You are absolutely right. The consolidation would allow the taxing of EMU which gets it’s services for damn near free…Also, the new name should be Woodruff’s Grove, in honor of the original…No city, no township, just Woodruff’s grove.

  41. elviscostello
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    While it didn’t make “recent posts” for some reason, I’m trying to continue the City/Township discussion with the 39th post…

  42. Mark H.
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    For better or worse, state university property is exempt from property tax, no matter what kind of local government jurisdiction the university is located in. Hence the idea that a merger of city and township would result in EMU being taxable is flat out wrong.

  43. Tax Tenure NOW!
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Mark H. is right. The only way to tax EMU is to pass an income tax which, if it was posed as the tax on cocky ass tenured six digit, income tax payer financed income that it is, might just pass.

  44. Posted June 10, 2009 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I think that Mark deserves credit for posting here under his real name and opening himself up for attacks like this. It’s much easier, I think we’d all agree, to sit back in anonymity and lob spitballs.

  45. Posted June 10, 2009 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    biscodo brings up an under-recognized point: a merger is going to wind up with a new municipality that has 50,000 former-township residents pitting their expectations against those of 22,000 former-city residents. Whose tax rate are we inheriting? Whose level of community policing and road snowplowing and curbside recycling and AATA contracts? I’d place money on: “not the city’s.” (Though nor would it necessarily all have to be the same tax rate – we could work something out where the current area of the city is in a special assessment district that covers our recent local street bonds and Water Street bonds that the Twp doesn’t want to deal with, and maintains some of the increased services that the city residents wouldn’t give up.)

    biscodo also discusses “disincorporating”, though. I believe that was discussed a few years back, and people in the know said that abandoning the City charter and un-incorporating would *not* be a de facto merger. There’s never been a case of it happening, but I think the conclusion was that a Charter Twp couldn’t be forced to swallow a City through un-incorporation of the latter. I seem to recall that the City would end up as a village or a general, non-Charter township, geographically still distinct from the Charter Twp.

    Nor do I know where biscodo and elviscostello are getting this idea that EMU would be taxable by the Township. What’s the assumption behind that, guys? Are you thinking that the City somehow chooses not to tax campus, and the Township would choose differently?

    Getting back to the merger – selfishly (as homo economicus), I’m guessing that I, a City resident, would find myself marginally worse off in the short run in a merged Ypsi because of the population numbers – e.g. my 50,000 new neighbors would turn my tiny side street over to the WCRC, and it would get plowed about three days after a snow storm. But, as a policy wonk, I think I’d still support municipal consolidation, here or elsewhere in the state. Less for the redundancies of fire chiefs and City/Twp Clerks that get mentioned all the time – those are pretty light savings in the grand scheme – and more for the ability to take unified, efficient action.

    And for taking better advantage of Federal money – there are all sorts of allocation formulas out there (including lots of the stimulus) that would give a community of 75,000 more money than two communities whose populations add to that number; fractured regions like us leave cash on the table simply by merit of having fewer residents per municipality.

  46. Paul Schreiber
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    To add to Murph’s comments above:

    Any city voter-approved millage like the local streets road bond would continue to be paid by the 22,000 former city residents and not the former township residents.

    Paul Schreiber
    734-277-5446

  47. rodneyn
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The relationship between a village and a township under Michigan law is quite different than that of a city and township. Village residents are also township residents (and can vote in township elections), but township residents outside of the village are not village residents. The village has a separate elected board and separate taxing authority, but both units of government usually share some services like assessing and fire protection.

    The village can have a separate police force if it chooses to do so, and would retain the ability to pass ordinances, have a historic district, DDA(s), etc…..

    Under the village-township scenario, Ypsilanti would effectively become a community of 75,000, but the village would also retain its unique character and a level of independence – and would gain greater influence and interaction with the township to boot!

    Whether or not the city could legally dis-incorporate and become a general law village is another question entirely.

  48. EOS
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Murph says:

    “And for taking better advantage of Federal money – there are all sorts of allocation formulas out there (including lots of the stimulus) that would give a community of 75,000 more money than two communities whose populations add to that number; fractured regions like us leave cash on the table simply by merit of having fewer residents per municipality.”

    Then by your logic, it would be far better for the two cities to consolidate – Ypsi and Ann Arbor. Combined they would have a much more densely populated area from which to beg funds. A city of 125,ooo? would get more federal stimulus money than the fractured regions of the two nearby cities. And while you’re a it, grab Pittsfield Township for even more leverage. But why would the Federal government want to contribute more funds to the city of Ypsilanti, seeing how they’ve grossly mishandled the residents taxes in the recent past, i.e. Water Street?

    I hate the mentality that we are leaving cash on the table. There’s really no cash – the printing presses can’t keep up with the spending. It’s only numbers on a paper that represent a Federal debt that is impossible to repay in ten lifetimes, if ever. You can’t spend your way out of a recession – you just dig a bigger hole.

    Elvis-
    Even looking at the numbers you provided, the level of Township services is much lower than the city’s. The township has 8 firefighters on duty for 30.1 sq. mi. and a population of 50,000. This is one firefighter for every 3.76 miles or one firefighter for every 6250 persons. The city has 5 firefighters on duty for 4.5 sq. mi. and a population of 22,000. This is one firefighter for every 0.9 sq. mi. or one firefighter for every 4365 persons. To achieve the same level of fire fighting in the township, the township would have to have 33 firefighters based on land area or 11.5 based on population, not 8. If we compared the difference in police services the disparity would be even greater. If we compared the salaries of employees the disparity would be even greater.

    The residents in the township get much more bang for their buck. That’s a good thing, not a negative comment, and I’m grateful.

  49. EOS
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Murph says:

    “And for taking better advantage of Federal money – there are all sorts of allocation formulas out there (including lots of the stimulus) that would give a community of 75,000 more money than two communities whose populations add to that number; fractured regions like us leave cash on the table simply by merit of having fewer residents per municipality.”

    Then by your logic, it would be far better for the two cities to consolidate – Ypsi and Ann Arbor. Combined they would have a much more densely populated area from which to beg funds. A city of 125,ooo? would get more federal stimulus money than the fractured regions of the two nearby cities. And while you’re a it, grab Pittsfield Township for even more leverage. But why would the Federal government want to contribute more funds to the city of Ypsilanti, seeing how they’ve grossly mishandled the residents taxes in the recent past, i.e. Water Street?

    I hate the mentality that we are leaving cash on the table. There’s really no cash – the printing presses can’t keep up with the spending. It’s only numbers on a paper that represent a Federal debt that is impossible to repay in ten lifetimes, if ever. You can’t spend your way out of a recession – you just dig a bigger hole.

    Elvis-
    Even looking at the numbers you provided, the level of Township services is much lower than the city’s. The township has 8 firefighters on duty for 30.1 sq. mi. and a population of 50,000. This is one firefighter for every 3.76 miles or one firefighter for every 6250 persons. The city has 5 firefighters on duty for 4.5 sq. mi. and a population of 22,000. This is one firefighter for every 0.9 sq. mi. or one firefighter for every 4365 persons. To achieve the same level of fire fighting in the township, the township would have to have 33 firefighters based on land area or 11.5 based on population, not 8. If we compared the difference in police services the disparity would be even greater. If we compared the salaries of employees the disparity would be even greater.

    The residents in the township get much more bang for their buck. That’s a good thing, not a negative comment, and I’m grateful.

  50. Posted June 10, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    EOS,

    Then by your logic, it would be far better for the two cities to consolidate – Ypsi and Ann Arbor

    Are you saying this as if it proves “my logic” wrong? I think such a suggestion would be wildly unpopular (no different than most discussion of City/Twp merger), and you would still need to include Ypsi and Pittsfield Twps (because I think Cities must be contiguous), but there’s no reason outside of politics it wouldn’t work.

    why would the Federal government want to contribute more funds to the city of Ypsilanti

    Setting aside any personal value judgments on Water Street or anything else (you said you wanted rational arguments, rather than emotional), a lot of Federal and State funding is strictly formulaic. Either, “if you have more than x residents, you get money, fewer than x, you don’t,” or, “you get x dollars per y people”.

    leaving cash on the table. There’s really no cash – the printing presses can’t keep up with the spending.

    The Sarah Palin/Rick Perry approach? Regardless of how you feel about Keynesian economics and deficit spending, you’re going to be participating in the payback portion of the scheme. If my community is participating in the payback, I sure want my community to take advantage of the spending portion of the scheme.

  51. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    EOS, before you chide me for not reading the earlier posts, I went back and read this entire thread. To me, this is about doing the best we can for all of our area residents. Merging the city and township may not be the best plan, but some form of merger, either a total merger or just services (police, fire, water, schools) may turn out to be the best survival tactic available. But to be honest, I don’t know enough about all of the budget issues to take a proper stance on this issue at this time. As a city resident, I take offense to your low opinion of our city.

    My question about your assertion that A2 is the only place to go for culture; other than the fact that there is no strip club, how is downtown A2 really that different from Ypsi? Both probide a parks and museums, art galleries, theater, resturants and bars. To many, the reason A2 is considered a cultural haven is because of the bars and clubs and the univeristy, the very thing you think makes downtown Ypsi unpleasant! The other is A2’s historicaly lax enforcement of marijuana laws! How does that make A2 a better place to take your kids for a walk? We may have less resturants and stores to offer, but a lot of what we loose are corprate establishments, replaced by great and original local buisnesses.

    If you are trying to suggest there are more vagrants and street people in Ypsi, let me say this: I spend a lot of time in Downtown Ypsi, but I have worked in downtown A2 in the past (4th and Liberty), and there are at least as many street people in A2, probably more, because they have heard A2 is the place to be. The A2 bus station is at least as bad as the Ypsi stop. And transient students? When was the last time you went to A2?

    One thing we certanly have over A2 is a desire by the younger generation to make our selves a destination city. We want art galleries, we want to have great live music AND MUSIC FESTIVALS. The question is, do a few people continue to stand in the way and let us loose out on the revenue that could be generated by these new ideas? Do we continue to put up barriers to events that could show what a great community we have? Or can we all come together to show everyone that the greater Ypsi area is second to none, even in our own county. Can we move forward with new ideas, even if some of us may not like them, if they have a chance of making things better for all of us? I you would like to continue the status quo, please, by all means, move yourself over to The Peoples Republic of A2, and let the rest of us get on with making our City great.

    Oh, and if we can take these steps forward, do you think that would help or hurt the township? Just saying…

  52. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    as i read my comment again, I have one question: can we have a spelling check….

  53. EOS
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Andy,

    There’s been over 500 posts on this topic in the past year. That’s what I was referencing to Curt. Merger for the township is not a necessity nor beneficial for the township. My opinion of the city was formed from living in the city. I’m sorry you are offended. I didn’t like it, couldn’t change it, so I left. I DON’T LIVE IN THE CITY. Why would you suggest that I have to leave the township for Ann Arbor so that you can get on with making YOUR city great? I don’t want the township drawn into the same destructive politics and failed economics that caused me to leave the city.

    Comparing Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor culturally is like comparing EMU to
    U of M. Yes, they both have students and classrooms but they are not the same caliber. I wasn’t saying anything about vagrants and street people. “Transient students” are those that come to Ypsi for 4-5 years of beer drinking binges and then leave. No roots, no community investment and often bad examples to children as the 18 – 21 year olds experience life without their parents for the first time of their lives.

    Please – move forward with new ideas. Do whatever you want to make YOUR city the best place on earth to live. By all means, I will stand on the sidelines and cheer as you improve the city. Just don’t ask me to pay for it, don’t destroy the financial future of the township in the process, and don’t include the township as part of your latest “rescue plan”.

    I think my backyard would be greatly improved if my neighbors let me build a gazebo and swimming pool for my use on their property and make them pay for it. Why shouldn’t they just move over and let me make my yard great?

    It is scary as hell that the Mayor just made reference to “former township residents”. Wake me up from this nightmare. If you choose to “unincorporate” you will not become part of the township.

  54. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    You will notice that I said I’m not ready to make a stand on the anexation issue. I made a point to say that. I would like nothing more than to help Ypsi stand on it’s own with out any help from the township. So your continued rant on it is more than unneccacary.

    People giving up on Michigan cities has been our largest problem since the Detroit Riots. This is why we now not only have cities in trouble, but more and more subburbs as well. If we continue to run away from our cities, more of our state, including Ypsi township, will begin to suffer the same fate as the inner ring of Detroit suburbs. You can’t have a wheel without a hub. If you would like the city to continue to empty and more and more people fill the green spaces of the township with subdivisions, taxing your services, please, by all means, continue complaining and doing nothing while others try to improve the situation in the city. That’s the Michigan way.

    Your assertion that there are no transient students at U of M there to binge drink for 4-5 years is laughable. Take a walk through the Diag or any of A2’s bars and then try to tell me that Ypsi has more of this type of student. Any university town has the same problem; no roots, no involvement in the community; it is the nature of the beast. It’s kind of like pretending that the E. Michigan area is not part of the Township; you see what you want to see.

    I know these may be liberal ideas, but we are a state in crisis. Walking away from our cities has been the policy for the last 50 years, and it is crushing us. Like it or not, as a township resident, you are tied to what happens here. Get off the side lines or get off the field.

  55. maryd
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Interesting how you paint the entire EMU university population as beer binging losers, while assuming U of M students live on a higher moral plain w/ community investment. Prejudice is truly ignorant.

  56. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Also, take away U of M, and how much culture is left in A2? Most of the museums an music venues would be gone. Other than Pease Auditorium, our cultural centers belong to us.

  57. Ricker 76er
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Burt, you sound like exactly the kind of person who I wouldn’t want to live by anyway. You can stay in the township with your dog walking and your “high” taxes. I’ll take the city, er, ghetto, any day of the week.

  58. Posted June 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    EoS, your comment about college students is extremely offensive. While there are a number of idiots everywhere, I find the student body at EMU to be mostly a consciencious (sp?) and bright bunch of people. I feel the same about the University of Michigan and wonder if you might have never spent any time on a college campus?

  59. amused1
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I guess the short answer to Mark’s original question is no. lol

    I’ve lived in downtown Ann Arbor, northern Ann Arbor, Ypsi and the Township. When I chose to buy I decided on the City of Ypsi. My reasons were varied, I liked that there was a down town, a decent level of services and that I could buy a house more reasonably in the Ypsi City than Ann Arbor.

    I was panhandled plenty when I lived and worked down town in A2. I also had my share of cleaning up vomit and other human waste left on my front lawn. Was it from students? I don’t know. I do know that I got tired of the overwhelming presence of students and student focused businesses down town. Personally, I don’t need a cafe on every corner, next to a hair salon of course. When White’s went away, for me, another bit of the history and soul of down town sort of left with it. As more “theme” based restaurants came in with their faux Italianate marble, sleek industrial tapas and piped in ethnic ambiance, I started to feel like I was dining on the Disney plan.

    I loved the fact that I could walk a few blocks to see world class performers, but I had to deal with far too many students in the audience whose soul purpose seemed to be to gossip through the performances. I can only assume (from their level of disinterest in the events unfolding on stage) they were attending to fulfill a class requirement. “Like, she wasn’t even like, INVITED. I mean, like, can you, like, BELIEVE that? Like, it’s so, like, unCOOL.” And yes, I did whisper to a number of them “Like, would you please be quiet or, like, leave? Like, there’s, like, a performance, like, going on. Like, thank you.”

    When I lived on the north side I had an Ann Arbor zip code but didn’t feel connected to the few things left that first drew me to Ann Arbor. So, why pay the taxes and live in a shoebox?

    I never jelled in the Township. It seemed my neighbors decided I was from “Ann Ahhbahr” and sort of shut me out. Maybe they had bad experiences with A2 interlopers, I don’t really know. Though I loved the open space, I struggled with it not being an especially focused, walkable community. I mean focused in the sense of having a distinct business district. While I applaud the Township’s plans for a “town center”, as far as I can tell it’s not “walkably” close to any dense or established neighborhoods and so pretty much requires a car to get there (once it’s built). The location also seems to force many Township residents to drive through the City to get there. Seems odd to send residents through another city’s center to get to their own township’s center. I’m not an urban planner so I don’t know, maybe it makes sense.

    The City has 2 distinct business districts and one can argue a 3rd mini-district on Washtenaw near Mansfield. I like the fact that I can walk or bike to them comfortably. I’ve not been panhandled in the City nearly as many times as I was in A2. I will say that those who have were not nearly as well dressed as the panhandlers in A2. I like having sidewalks and my street plowed though I miss being able to just put out my yard cuttings untrimmed and unbundled when I get into a pruning mood. The fact that I can walk through most any neighborhood and know people there is a bonus. Yes, even the “dreaded” south side. Maybe I’m living in a fantasy world but I don’t feel less safe walking down town in Ypsi than I do walking in A2.

    So for me at least, the City fulfills my wants for a “hometown”.

    As far as the City and the Township coming together? Yes! In cooperative projects. I’d like to see cooperation in public services, public transit improvements and parks and rec. Also in the development of the Township Center and the city’s down town.

    Some elements are common denominators no matter if you live in a town, city or village. We should be working together to improve those aspects of the region for all residents. It shouldn’t be about “us” and “them”. We’re neighbors and should be helpful and friendly the the betterment of the neighborhood. If you see a loose shutter on your neighbor’s house and don’t say anything or offer a hammer to help them fix it, what’s to stop the wind from blowing it through your beautiful picture window? Sometimes privacy fences lock us in as much as they lock others out.

    Can I get an editor please?

  60. EOS
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I never said I liked Ann Arbor. Wouldn’t want the township to become like them either. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the students and the University in Ann Arbor are a smaller proportion of the total city than they are in Ypsi. I suggested that the city of Ypsi join the City of Ann Arbor because the sentiment of many in Ypsi is that they want to be like Ann Arbor. The politics of the two cities are far more similar and less of a forced fit than a merger of the disparate township and city.

    College students are young and much more likely to have keg parties on their lawns and porches than an older population. They are also less experienced in drinking, more likely to drink to excess, and less likely to control their drunkenness. I don’t doubt that there are also large numbers of responsible college students who don’t engage in this behavior.

  61. amused1
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Interesting point about the student population EOS. Though I wonder how it plays out as far as residential students vs. commuter students. I’m thinking that commuters are less likely to be holding keg parties on the front lawn. =)

    Personally, I think you are underestimating the impact students have on everyday life in Ann Arbor. The difference between A2 before the end of term and after the end of term is far more dramatic than it is in Ypsi.

  62. EOS
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen the light. Maybe this would be a good time for the city and township to consolidate. We can call the new township, “Ypsitucky”. First order of business would be to pass a few ordinances that would bring us all together. I think it should be mandatory to have at least one appliance and one old couch on every porch. Cars should be parked on the lawns, preferably with at least one up on blocks and another used just for parts. Chickens and gardens are a good idea throughout the township, but why stop there? Let’s allow all types of livestock in everyone’s backyard. It would be a lot greener if we all slopped hogs and had a milking cow for our family needs. Tear down the old buildings in the former city and make a community pasture for the animals and put up a new Super Walmart too! We should put up a dirt track at the Water Street site and race the open wheeled outlaw cars. No need to clean up the environmental contamination – we’d just be adding to it. There should be muskrat served at local restaurants year long. Who needs an arts center? Let’s turn the RAC into a Grand ole Opry and have Hootanany’s every weekend. We could bring life back into the city if we just embraced our Southern roots. We could truck in some dirt and turn the city parks into the hollers that we all miss and save the cost of grass cutting. If we pitched this right in the township, I’m sure us hillbilly’s would embrace the change and y’all city folk would get used to it in time. It’d be like a little piece of Appalachia right here in Michigan! Yee-haw.

  63. dan
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I kinda wish you weren’t being sarcastic there, EOS. I’m going to daydream about that.

  64. dan
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    May I suggest a demolition derby instead of outlaw cars? Anyone who would not be excited about that has never seen a demolition derby. It could be the final destination of the nightmare cruise.

  65. EOS
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Hell yea! We could have a demolition derby to end every night of racing! I’m for it.

  66. Susan S
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good stuff happened in the Township yesterday – prostitution, armed robbery, illegal firearms. Makes the city look pretty tame.

    http://ypsiciti.com/section/News/Sheriff’s+summary-article-913.html

  67. Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    The Township made the news again the other day. This time it was a man getting shot to death by cops after setting his mother’s house on fire with her in it.

  68. EOS
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, if I lived in the city I wouldn’t want anything to do with the township. Don’t believe anyone who thinks its a good idea.

  69. Edward
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Another Township man makes the news.

    http://ypsiciti.com/section/Police/Police+investigating+alleged+child+pornographer-article-1308.html

  70. Edward
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Keep it classy, Pittsfield.

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/man-28-gunned-down-outside-pittsfield-township-home/

  71. McTill
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The fact that this hasn’t happened is what I’m most thankful for this holiday. That and the fact that I’m alive and in good health.

  72. elviscostello
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Just a couple of notes since the thread has been picked up again…
    Ypsilanti Township has reduced the size of the Fire Department by 9 and reduced the minimum staffing per day to 6. If there’s any reason to consider Fire Consolidation between the two entities, lack of personnel at a fire is the reason. Neither department can safely work a structure fire on their own. They currently have a mutual aid agreement, but it really isn’t enough.
    EOS- Wait until the bond payments come due on the “Seaver Farm” industrial park that only has one tenant (Bosal). The township bought it to prevent a mobile home park, put in infrastructure, figuring that they’d sell the lots to industries, and now, with the exception on one business, it’s empty. If you go to the State of Michigan website (Dept. of Treasury, Local Governmental Audits), you can see the upcoming payments. The township could be in a mini-Water Street situation. Starting in 2015, the Bond payments become $1,000,000 per year.

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/treasury/811200YpsilantiChTwp20100629_327025_7.pdf Pg. 27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Connect

BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative The Prisoner