Ypsi City Council considers giving Water Street debt reduction millage second shot in November

waterstreetmillagenov

As readers of this site know, the Water Street debt reduction millage failed at this polls earlier this month by a mere 30-some votes in large part because of ballots cast in Ypsilanti’s first ward, where folks on the anti-tax side of the debate concentrated their “vote no” efforts. [First ward voters cast their ballots against the initiative 160 to 29.] Well, as the election was so close, and since we’re now facing even deeper cuts into City services, our Mayor, Amanda Edmonds, has let it be know that she and members of Ypsi City Council are exploring the possibility of putting the issue before voters one more time. Here’s what Edmonds posted to social media a few days ago.

So almost half of you — 39 shy of half, in fact, voted YES on our millage last week. We lost, just barely. It means $700,000 more in cuts after years of cutting to the bone. Have heard from a lot of people wanting to put it back on the ballot in November. If you’d like us to consider that, please drop a line. The only way that could work is if we had people step up as leaders and participants on the campaign committee — talking to people, raising money, knocking on doors, etc. There are lots of things to consider whether this is a good idea or not. We have a deadline very soon to decide, so if you have thoughts on this — yay or nay — or would be interested in helping if it went forward can you please message me and share? As we consider we need to know that people are ready to step up. And if you think it’s not a good idea, message me and let me know why — as well as where you suggest $700K in general fund cuts come from/and or how to make that up in new revenue.

Personally, I’m skeptical. While I suppose it’s technically possible that voters could come out in November and pass the millage, my sense is that it’ll be an uphill battle, given the fact that two other millages will be on the ballot, and that most folks coming out to cast their votes in the general election probably won’t be as educated on the issue. No, I think that, if we’d really been serious about wanting to pass the millage, we would have just expended more time, effort and money prior to the primary, when we had a better shot at it. With that said, though, I think it’s worth exploring the possibility of giving it another shot, seeing as how, without it, we’ll very likely descend into receivership. And, if we don’t take our shot now, we won’t have another opportunity at passing a millage until 2018, unless, of course, we wanted to hold a special election, which would cost us more.

So, given all of that, I guess I’m on board for giving it another shot, assuming I can be assured of a few things. First, I’d like for there to be one point person running the campaign. I think part of the reason the millage lost last time is that no one really took ownership of it, and I’d like for one person to come forward to take on the responsibility. And, I’d like of that person to have a strong, dedicated, diverse committee behind them. Second, I’d want to be convinced that our elected officials are truly onboard, especially our representatives from the first ward, where the last race was lost. I know everyone on City Council said that they were in favor of the millage, but how many of them actually knocked on doors and got out the vote? If we’re going to do this again, and if I’m being asked to contribute toward the printing of yard signs, and everything else that a real campaign requires, I want to be assured that my elected representatives are invested. And, third, I’d want some assurance that a real plan exists – a plan to raise money, mobilize people, and do the mailings that are necessary. During the primary, when this was last on the ballot, I don’t think I saw a single “pro millage” yard sign, no one knocked on my door, and I didn’t receive a single piece of literature at my house. And I’d especially want to know that plans existed to get the word out in both ward one and the more student heavy areas of town, where most of our new voters will likely be coming from from. [In the primary, if I’m not mistaken, only about 20% of registered voters cast their ballots. That number will likely double this time, given the presidential election, and I’d want to be sure that a comprehensive plan exists to reach those people and educate them on the subject.]

If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. Let’s have a web presence. Let’s have clear and consistent messaging. Let’s have a public list of people who have signed on to “save our city” and support the millage. And let’s make better use of social media.

Even if we were able to do all of that, though, there’s still a very real possibility that it wouldn’t pass. We live in uncertain times, and people, for good reason, are hesitant to pass new taxes, especially in communities like ours, where public services have been in decline for decades, and, quite frankly, people don’t see a lot of value for their tax dollars. An additional tax, even if it comes to less than $100 per household annually, could be an enormous burden on some in our community, and we have to recognize that. The sad truth is, however, if we don’t pass this millage, and an emergency manager is dispatched to Ypsilanti from the Governor’s office, whatever they do is probably going to disproportionately effect these very same people who are struggling the most. [Just look at what the emergency managers have done to Detroit Public Schools and cities like Flint.] And, of course, it probably doesn’t help that, just yesterday, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission voted to kill the development of the new rec center on Water Street. [Yes, the one positive thing we had to look forward to on Water Street is now gone.]

But, given the fact that deep, severe cuts are looming thanks to our outstanding Water Street debt, and my strong feeling that an emergency manager should be avoided at all costs, I guess the “pro millage” folks can count me in. I’m ready for the fight if they are… How about you?

For those of you not familiar with the Water Street debt reduction millage proposal, and its intended purpose, the following clip comes by way of an article written by Tom Perkins for MLive this past April:

The city of Ypsilanti took the next step toward asking voters to pay off around $10.6 million in Water Street debt.

That represents about half of the $20 million Ypsilanti owed at the beginning of the year.

Officials are proposing a 2.3-mill tax that, if approved, would mean a homeowner with a property assessed at $50,000 would pay $115 annually, or $9.53 a month, for the next 14 years.

At its Tuesday meeting, council unanimously approved the language calling for the millage, which will appear on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.

Council Member Pete Murdock noted that a 2.3-mill road tax is coming off the books in 2017 so residents wouldn’t see a net tax increase if they approve the proposed Water Street millage…

In February, the city took advantage of low interest rates to save around $3.7 million by refinancing the debt. That, combined with a $2.2 million payment from its savings, knocked out about a third of the approximately $20 million in principal and interest Ypsilanti owed.

The city also plans to continue making payments out of its general fund over the next 15 years to cover $2.8 million of the remaining debt. City Manager Ralph Lange said he is planning to find another $700,000 to pay toward the debt by the end of this budget year, and that will save the city an additional $300,000 in interest. Additionally, Michigan Economic Development Corporation converted a $3 million loan into a grant…

By a wide margin, voters rejected a proposed Water Street debt retirement millage and city income tax increase in 2012, but city council members say this proposal is different.

The previous measure included an accompanying income tax and a 4.94 mill Water Street tax. The new proposal doesn’t include an income tax and the millage rate is less than half what city leaders asked voters to approve in 2012…

One last thing that bears repeating… The local landlords who have been bankrolling the “no new taxes” campaigns these past several years, and all of the small government, anti-tax folks who stand behind them, have been asked repeatedly what they’d cut in order to keep us out of receivership. And, instead of answering, they’ve just reiterated their talking points about how our City’s leaders are secretive, inept and wasteful. Regardless of whether or not they’re right about that, though, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re facing $14 million in debt, and we need to find a way to pay it. Again, I can understand why people wouldn’t want to increase their tax bills, but math is math, and we don’t have the money in our current budget to pay the debt that we owe, and no one, to my knowledge, has come forward to point out where we might be able to find an additional $700,000 a year. Given that, I don’t see as how we have any choice but to buy our way out of the Water Street debt and move forward together as a community.

Oh, and speaking of what this is likely to cost us, it was just announced that, among other things, we won’t be filling the three open positions we currently have for police officers, as all local spending has been frozen for the foreseeable future.

[Still want to know more about the history of Water Street and the debate over the millage? Click here.]

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68 Comments

  1. Andy
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I thought the millage proposal was a reasonable solution to the water street debt crisis. $100 per year in additional taxes is a lot of money for some people, but I think the costs that will be incurred through loss of property value, and services if an emergency manager is brought in is likely to exceed that amount.

    The idea of bringing the millage up for a vote again does concern me though. The voters just made their opinion known and although the vote was close the No Tax group won. To bring this up again 90 days later doesn’t seem right to me. Just because the people proposing the millage were unorganized and the majority in our community didn’t show up to vote, they shouldn’t be entitled to a redo.

    With that said, if it did come up for a vote in November I would support it because I believe an emergency manager would not be good for Ypsilanti.

  2. Murf
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    As some people have pointed out in previous articles on this topic, there is nothing stopping people who voted yes from donating their share to the city for this purpose. It would also be helpful to get more yes votes if the city would stop using money from general fund and savings for things like the train platform for a train that may or may not come. If they actually acted like paying off the debt was important, more people would be on board (pun intended). Welcome to the beauty of voting…sometimes you don’t get the choice you wanted but it’s time to let it go and move on.

  3. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Since we are all lovers of the democratic process I think we can all agree: If the “yes” crowd gets more votes the second time around it would be unfair if the “no” voters were deprived of their chance at “best out of 3”.

  4. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Assuming there is some merit to Mark’s skepticism maybe Ypsilanti should just let this play out in a best of 7 series. It works for the basketball. Off topic: I wonder why the NBA doesn’t just switch to “last point wins”?

  5. ANDREW J CLOCK
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Several years ago Council was instructed to reorganize the DPW because it was too management heavy. There was something along the lines of 4 supervisors for 20 employees. Is there a reason we need that sort of lopsided structure in our city Public Works Department instead of recognizing the cost savings that reorganization would bring?

    We’ve also dumped 1.3 million dollars into The Freight House and it’s still closed. It’s been a dozen years; we were promised an opening this spring that’s a long come and gone. To me, The Freight House is a perfect example of the lack of accountability in our city. A project that’s just allowed to go on and on with ever-increasing cost with no apparent goal in sight at no reasonable explanation of the delays. If city council can’t get a simple remodel project like this done in a timely manner how can we be expected to trust them with anything financially? Also see: moving ahead with the hawk Crossing to the closed Water Street Trail and building a train station before we know it was going to be commuter rail.

    Other ideas for savings: just stop spending money. If this is your family budget you would not be spending on luxury items while you can’t pay your mortgage. This is what Ypsilanti is doing with train stations and crosswalks and everything else that could be put on hold until the debt is paid. But instead we rely on our poorest citizens to come up with yet more money from their homes.

    In the end you can go ahead and vote for this Band-Aid millage if you want, but it does absolutely nothing to improve Ypsilanti’s underlying problems of over taxation and the resulting low growth and high foreclosure rates. And until everybody realizes that Band-Aids don’t do anything except give you short term protection we will find ourselves in these types of situations over and over again. Ypsilanti’s problem is systemic and raising taxes will never fix it.

  6. JDM
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I understand the skepticism directed towards the Vote No people, and the fact that they haven’t put forth a plan for what happens after the millage is defeated. However, the city has not done that either. At multiple events leading to the vote I personally asked what the plans for Water Street would be. Telling our citizens to go look at the master plan and Water Street concept just simply isn’t enough. People want to hear how the city intends to conduct Water Street business after the millage would be passed. Will there still give tax breaks and below market prices to developers? Or will the standards rise after the threat of payments is rectified. Its disingenuous to portray the Vote No side as the only side to not propose solutions when the city refused to say what the future would look like and how business would be conducted. Its just simply not enough to say voting yes gets us past our problems.

  7. Mr. X
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I hear you, Andrew. There are certainly things that need to be addressed. I don’t know, however, how any of that changes the fact that, as things stand now, we’re unable to pay the bills before us. As for the example of the Freighthouse, it’s my understanding a majority of that work was paid for by grants and contributions, so I don’t know that it’s a great example of a pet project that’s pulling money from the general fund, but I get where you’re coming from. Our city leaders have been less than transparent in the past, and we should demand better. And that is certainly true when it comes to Water Street. We need a vision that people can rally behind. With all of that said, though, how are we going to pay the bills when they come due. Would you suggest that we sell the Freighthouse?

  8. Peri Stone-Palmquist
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    No, not the Water Street Millage, but a Public Safety and Sidewalk (or whatever ) Millage, yes.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Are they (city council) willing to take the public housing off the table for Water Street? If so I might be persuaded to vote for it.

  10. Shane
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    First thing, I voted yes for the millage because receivership is not a healthy option for a weak town like Ypsilanti.
    Next thing, we need to understand why Ypsilanti is so weak. It has been mentioned already about all the projects that never see fruition, money that evaporates, and plans that never reach the public eye but no one is explaining how or why. How does this keep happening to such a small town with presumably vested council members?
    Before the city council puts this necessary initiative back on the ballot we need to have a Q&A session that includes answers to: The Freight House, Thompson Block, train station, HAWK crossing, closed B2B trail, Water Street development, Water Street debt plan, and the previous Water Street ballot initiative.
    We need to know what happened to all of these projects, who is championing them, where are the projects headed, where is the money coming from, who will be the person responsible to see them through and answer questions/concerns.
    Why don’t we know about these things already? How does Mlive know before we do? What can we do to change the city council’s public image to one of trust, frugality, and transparency?
    Like the tag line for x-files, I want to believe.
    I want Ypsilanti to thrive. I will pay to help make that happen. I will work to help make that happen.
    But that happens with a relationship built on trust, not faith.

  11. Lewis
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I fully understand the base premise of much of the “No” vote and for transparency, I voted “Yes”.
    I also get the valid(ish) complaints on where monies have been either suggested and/or committed to projects past and present. Now is not the time to flag money for an expensive, albeit logical, crosswalk system to a trail we aren’t supposed to use, “now”. Planning for it is reasonable; buying it now, isn’t without a clear path to site remediation issues.
    But as others have stated, kicking the Water Street can/debacle down the road isn’t intelligent either and is likely to “cost” us much more in many ways, in the long run. And I also agree that the “No” side hasn’t provided too many options to deal with the issues created.
    As always in politics, especially this cycle, there is genuine reason to be skeptical of everything going on, but we at the very least need to publicly debate what can or should be done, WITH IDEAS, before outsiders make our choices for us.

  12. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Sorry for my many typos above. My tablet typing skills are still lacking

    Does Ypsilanti have an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act in place for residential development and redevelopment? We’re always willing to hand out huge tax breaks to landlords that want to remodel downtown buildings or build future slum, but do we hand them out to single families?

    So here’s another suggestion for raising revenue: create OPRA zones in residential areas that allow for a 5-10 year tax freezes on any property redeveloped for single family, homestead, non rental use for new constructions and significant remodels. Make the thresholds low so investment is high. That might get a trickle of properties back on the tax rolls while unleashing a flood of revenue as those OPRAs expire. Then you’re adding revenue the right way, with growth.

    Another question: I remember contracting the Sheriff’s department was about the same as funding YPD up front. What about legacy costs?

    Now, several serious questions for YES voters who keep telling us there isn’t a NO plan: Why are you unwilling to address common sense budget cuts and putting off unnecessary projects? This isn’t Warren, we aren’t rejecting a train station on principal, we’re rejecting it out of budgetary necessity. Why are you unwilling to lay out a long term strategy for Water Street beyond paying it off? Why are you unwilling to look for more savings by reexamining finances (yes, again) Why are you unwilling to address the clear lack of accountability on projects like the Freight House? And for god’s sake, why won’t anyone discuss the problems caused by our astronomical tax rates, and at the very least, a long term solution to lessen the burden and increase growth.

    Also, why didn’t Ypsi Council have both a yes and no plan prepared? Its almost like they went into this entire venture completely ill prepared. The fact that the only plan seems to be “lets try again” tells me all I need to know about the prospects for any of our budget problems to be solved in an accountable, thoughtful, and practical way.

    I guess I have to say it again, this city is not as well off as some of you might think by looking at your neighbors, and many neighborhoods need investment much more desperately than yours. That’s never going to be repaired through more taxes.

  13. Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    To Peri’s point, we could legally do a standalone public safety millage (though we already have 2 of those — police/fire retirement and police/fire retiree health care).

    The reason the debt retirement millage might be better, though, is that development on Water Street over the life of the millage would go towards the debt payments, potentially reducing the debt retirement millage rate. A public safety millage, on the other hand, could be expected to be permanent.

  14. P.B.
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Our taxes are already over the top in Ypsilanti. When I tell people from other parts of this country what I pay in taxes, they are stunned.

  15. Anderboom
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that, generally, the community is poorly informed as to what is actually going on with all of this. For example, certain projects are funded primarily with grants, but many people feel like the council is recklessly funding them in entirety. I’m also not sure how many people actually understood that there would be no net tax increase with this millage.

    Like you said, there was a huge vacancy where the “yes” side ought to have been campaigning, and that was a big lost opportunity. I saw many “no” yard signs, received two “no” mailings, and even had someone come to my door. I didn’t decide how to vote until the day prior to the primary, after spending a lot of time listening to the debate video you had posted previously, and I’d guess a lot people don’t have that kind of time to spend or don’t know how to find the information.

    As far as putting it on in November, I don’t know. It seems disingenuous when politicians will not take a vote as the final word. However, the vote was very close, and maybe it is a desperate enough situation to risk more ire.

  16. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Mr X, council in just the last few years put well over $300k into the project and promised a spring opening. That’s 1/3 of a Water Street yearly payment, and we still haven’t been told why the place didn’t open as planed (again)

    Every. Dollar. Counts.

  17. Lynne
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I say that it should be put on the ballot in November and then, if it fails, the city should start cutting to the bone. Toss out rental inspections entirely. Get rid of ordinance enforcement. Cut the police and fire. Get rid of the parks budget entirely including removing play equipment if the insurance burden is too high. Make the pool be funded privately. ditto the freight house. I mean if people are going to vote for austerity, they might as well feel it. All of those solutions are better than an EMF

  18. Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Andrew — the OPRA statute only applies to projects that result in commercial or mixed-use development, so not the right tool for what you’re thinking.

    Take a look at the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone the city set up earlier this summer, though — I think it does almost exactly what you’re suggesting: http://cityofypsilanti.com/608/Neighborhood-Enterprise-Zone

    Again, the local program limited by state law, but it targets new owner-occupied construction and significant remodels (minimum $3,500 DIY materials cost or $5,000 by contractor) to homes worth under $80k, in the south of mich ave neighborhoods.

  19. John Delcamp
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yes. It took an expensive and labor intensive effort to defeat it. The yes people will have to get organized thus time to counter the onslaught of misinformation.

  20. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised that this is legal/allowed. Can they just put this on every election if it keeps failing? That seems crazy.

    And Shane, there is one simple reason why “Ypsilanti is weak.” It is the reason that, as former mayor Schreiber says, “the majority of ypsilanti residents would qualify to live in subsidized housing.” Mayor Schreiber somehow considers this fact a good thing. It is not. The city needs to do everything it can to entice more middle class families to move there an stop adding subsidized housing. That is very difficult with absurdly bad schools, but it is the ONLY way Ypsi will ever be more than Ann Arbor’s dumping grounds. One step towards enticing middle class homeowners is to LOWER the millage rate, not increase it. No reasonable potential homebuyer is going to choose to buy within the city at 66 mills, when they can live right next door for 50 mills, or less depending on the school district, even if they love the city. Every single realtor in the area tells every homebuyer this. It was the first thing mine told me when I mentioned Ypsi as a target area.

    I know I’ll get slammed for this post, but these are facts. The city will never improve by increasing the tax rate. And when the “leaders” continue to encourage more and more subsidized housing, well, the future is not bright. Get these clowns out of office and start doing shit like the township does, and fight blight, fight section 8 and stop embracing poverty.

  21. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, punish the “uneducated” until they decide to agree with you.

  22. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Thanks Murph. That’s a step in the right direction. Now a lot more needs to be done to spread the word. Max out development incentives for single family units any way we can. That’s the kind of revenue growth we need.

    Still waiting for any YES people willing to talk about common sense cuts and long term tax reductions. This is a real problem folks, and we’re never going to get out of the hole until we address it. Not everyone is willing to live in hipsterville if they can move a block out of the city and pay $600 less a year in taxes.

    And I’m a bleeding heart Democrat that votes YES on at least 75% of millages that I see. This isn’t just an anti-tax issue, its an pro-growth and anti-foreclosure issue, too.

  23. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I think we should stop allowing Ward 1 to vote. The benevolent citizens of Ward 2 and 3 know what’s best for Ward 1 anyway, so they shouldn’t be forced to deal with the citizens of Ward 1 who’ve given in to ignorance and fear.

  24. Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “pro-growth and anti-foreclosure issue, too.” Hear, hear.

    But I think we need not just single-family units, and not just owner-occupied. New construction single-family homes are a commodity that we’re up against every township in a half hour radius on. Our competitive advantage as a community is our downtown and diverse neighborhood housing options — we need to figure out how to promote small-scale “missing middle” housing choices in between the single family and the big (student) apartment blocks.

  25. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    murph, just curious. Were you in favor of either of the housing projects proposed for Water Street?

  26. Mark Hergott
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    A general election vote with most people voting would give us a solid gauge of where the Water Street debate is, either way.

    Honestly, the votes should have always been in November.

  27. Tom A
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Hi, Andrew. I voted yes, but I agree with you there needs to be some common sense cuts. While I get that a train depot is good for long-term economic development with the multiple regional train proposals out right now, it’s something we can’t afford right now, and that right there would count for about 3 of these annual $700,000 shortfalls. Sell the freight house, that should count for another. Instead of cutting police, what about start charging for trash removal – can we do that? Then even the “vote no” people would have to pay. None of those by themselves would cover enough to get us above water, but they could help, and then maybe the city can start recovering.

  28. Lynne
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Dan, so in response to systemic problems at the state level, you think we should discourage poor people from living in Ypsilanti rather than address the state level tax structure problems? I just can’t get on board with that.

    Andrew, yes but we really have to consider that we are working within a system that really hurts us. Ironically, that is why the Water Street project got going in the first place. We have a system where new construction is one of the only ways to build a tax base and frankly, it wasn’t a bad idea at the time. No one could have anticipated that the housing market would have busted that way and had the original plan been implemented before that crash, it would have increased the city’s tax base and it would have been a really nice development so close to downtown. It was a risk but one undertaken in response to the same state level tax structure that is still screwing us. One that isn’t going to change any time soon. So our choices if we don’t want an EMF are to raise taxes, cut services drastically, or sell off city assets.

  29. Jcp2
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    If you are going to cut services and sell assets anyhow, why not an EMF who could also restructure debt, including the Water Street bond and legacy costs?

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dan,

    Regarding your surprise that this is legal: I guess you were not invited to walk down to the river last night for a group meditation on the virtue of efficacy. “Inhale efficacy, ahhhh, exhale ethics, ahhhh”. I was told the attendants were a very educated group and they found the meditation quite easy.

  31. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Murph, I’m with you. I would love to see more middle level homes (condos, apartments, ect) available while avoiding adding any traditional subsidized housing, which studies show we shouldn’t be doing.

  32. Lynne
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It is funny though watching the white citizens of Ypsilanti face some of the systemic racism that black families have had to deal with since forever but also unfortunately as long as white and more middle class people have the option of opting out by moving, they will continue to do so which in turn is a big reason for the sprawl in our region. Sprawl which is generally not terribly efficient in terms of infrastructure. It is a perfect example of a market where individual selfish choices to NOT result in something better for the whole. Quite the opposite in fact.

    As a homeowner, I don’t hold out much hope. My house was recently appraised for $36k less than I paid for it 16 years ago. I will be lucky to break even when I sell, if I sell. Right now, I have no equity and I don’t especially care about my credit score so I have been seriously considering just walking away and moving to a community that has the nice things I want like a train station. I don’t really intend on leaving any time soon (but I am planning to leave within 5-10 years for unrelated reasons) but the fact that I can leave so easily worries me too. That is the crux of the problem too isnt it? How can we keep the rich and the middle class, who have more money and more options to leave, to stay in a system that is designed to segregate poorer people (and usually browner people) into their own tax zones so that richer people can avoid paying for the services poorer people use?

    fwiw, Detroit seems to have two solutions. One is they provide services unevenly with areas that attract richer people getting more attention. i.e. the downtown is well policed and clean but poorer areas, not so much. The other solution has been for richer people to pay for a lot of services privately. I know my old neighborhood in Detroit has done this forever. The HOA provides the plowing, the trash collection, the street lights, and private security and probably other things too. I don’t especially like either of those options though.

  33. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Lynn, while I agree with you on the tax side, I can’t agree with you on the “Water Street wasn’t a terrible idea” part. Governments build infrastructure and then encourage development, they don’t try to force feed it. That is risk taking that no government should be getting into with taxpayer money. The same thing could have been done with incentives and Ypsi would have had none of the financial risks.

  34. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Lynne, you keep blaming the state for Ypsis troubles. I live in the township. We’ve shared all of the same economic struggles that the city has, and perhaps more. Many more foreclosures during the recession, loss of the biggest manufacturing plant etc. Yet the township is thriving now, and the city is in shambles. Both are subject to the same state appropriations. My home has literally doubled in value from when I bought it. Yours is worse less. This isnt a state issue, its a local issue, and Ypsi needs to be responsible for it’s own problems.

    you keep wanting to embrace poverty. knock yourself out. It literally can not work.

  35. Lynne
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, Dan. You may have noticed that the Township has lots of empty land on which housing developments have been built in the past couple of decades. The township is not being run better than the city. It has the ability to have the sort of sprawl our current tax structure encourages. I am not sure that all of the township is thriving though. Just the parts which are geographically segregated from the poverty. And that is part of it. It is easy to cut things like police services when poorer people are segregated and West Willow is one of the most geographically separated areas,.

    Ok, so you want to take a “I have mine, F the poor” approach. I get that. It really is nice to screw over your fellow citizens for your own personal gain. It is the whole platform of the GOP after all. I hope you are happy but YOU and people like you are the real problem so maybe you could STFU when others try to solve the problems you created? You don’t even live in the city.

    Andrew, I agree that the specific way that they went about it was a bad idea although at the time I didn’t thing so. That is the benefit of being a Monday morning quarterback after all. It probably would have been better accomplished with things like you mentioned. Still, it is important to remember that it was a response to the racist bullshit state policies that Dan seems to like so much.

  36. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “It really is nice to screw over your fellow citizens for your own personal gain”

    I did nothing to screw over anyone else. I did not create any problems. The 66 mill rate that your city charges has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with poor leadership and visions.

    “The township is not being run better than the city.”

    it certainly is. The township gets by (and thrives) on a tax rate much much lower than the city (which is facing bankruptcy). There is no objective way to claim that the city is run as well as the township.

    I know it is hard to admit that your city and your policies have failed. But that is the first step towards improving. You cant improve if you keep doing the same shit that brought you to the brink of bankruptcy

  37. anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve talked with people who want to see it back on the ballot, but I’ve yet to meet anyone willing to do more than put a sign in their yard and vote. People just don’t seem to care enough to write checks, knock on doors and do what’s necessary.

  38. Concerned Observer
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    If this millage is placed back on the ballot again this November, those in support of the millage need to detail, fully the realities of receivership and/or emergency management.

    Considering the nearby examples of what emergency management looks and feels like: Flint, Detroit, Pontiac, Allen Park, Ecorse, Hamtramck, Benton Harbor, the former Public School Districts of Buena Vista & Inkster, along with the hanging on by a wing and prayer school district of Muskegon Heights – there is not much to cheer about for areas that have been or are still under Emergency Management of the State.

    If anyone believes the City of Ypsilanti will be anywhere near what their individual fantasy of unicorns and rainbows under the power of an Emergency Manager – the blinders worn must be huge.

    Water Street is about a debt the City of Ypsilanti owes, regardless of the decisions nearly a decade plus ago that caused this debt to surface. It would be nice to place a magical wand over the past and make it disappear but such does not occur in reality.

    The State of Michigan under its current leadership in Lansing for the past five years and eight months have shown without filter what happens to Cities, School Districts –albeit this has not happened yet — and Townships and Villages — under the control of a Governor Rick Snyder appointed “Transition Board” via the Emergency Management Law and Emergency Managers themselves.

    The Emergency Manager is paid a huge sum of monies out of the operating budget of the City/School District in other to sell off, cut, chop, services to their bare bones.

    The Governmental Units of the City are in place for show – as they have no power.

    A Mayor is a figurehead as he or she has no power.

    In fact, all the power is centered in Lansing under the authority of a Governor’s Administration who turned a blind eye to a Toxic Water Crisis in Flint — while under State Mandated Emergency Management.

    Tough decisions must be made for the City of Ypsilanti’s future. Those decisions should be made in the reality of NOW, not what was or has been.

    The reality of NOW is there is likely no way the City of Ypsilanti can pay off the Water Street Debt without the passage of a millage.

    Next, the reality of NOW is if the millage fails again, the City of Ypsilanti is likely to fall into receivership et. al. Emergency Management of the State.

    The “Yes” side must be willing to stand strong on what Emergency Management would look like for the City of Ypsilanti and fight hard to ensure this does not ever occur.

    Stark realities are needed. Sugarcoating is not.

    And a willingness of those in support of “YES” to engage in a Campaign over the next 100 or so days to actively inform voters why passing the millage is necessary, to ensure City of Ypsilanti Residents are in control (not Snyder hired beancounters) of their future.

  39. kjc
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Murph is on record:

    http://www.mlive.com/opinion/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/03/guest_column_affordable_housin.html

    maybe’s he’s gotten hip to the scum sucking poor since then.

  40. Gabe
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that the “vote yes” people made no effort whatsoever to make the case for a tax hike. Did they not think that asking residents for still more money in a community where the taxes are already out of control would be an uphill battle? Maybe they should do a better job on outreach instead of asking for a do-over when they don’t get their way.

  41. EOS
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    You cannot tax yourself out of this economic dilemma. Using what should be a road millage to pay off debt is just a stop gap. The costs of doing business as usual in the City rise faster than the value of taxable property.

    The choice is whether you want to elect neighbors who will make the necessary cost reductions, with your input, or will you keep stalling and necessitate an outside manager to come and make the cuts without anyone’s input.

    The only way an emergency manager can take over is if the electorate is unable or unwilling to make rational economic decisions for themselves.

  42. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Ah. So Murph is a Schreiber disciple. Sees no problem that the majority of city residents qualify for subsidized housing.

    It sounds like Andrew is finally realizing the folly of always relying on more taxes and perpetuating poverty. Maybe there is hope that more of you guys will one day learn.

  43. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Concerned observer,

    When you and your friends are on your charitable quest to “inform” the ignorant and uneducated citizens about harsh reality you might want to leave your oozing with paternalism attitudes at home because I am afraid you will not be convincing many people to vote differently… Good luck convincing people to take an ahistorical approach to casting a vote too…People are voting “no” in large part because they do not trust your assessments and doomsday projections based upon real past experiences with people just like YOU. Myself, I would be inclined to vote “yes” this time around but it is not because I want to ally myself with a bunch of closet elitists who are too proud to admit they were wrong in the past about the immediate need for an income tax, for example….Look in the mirror and please don’t sugar coat things when you do, and then get humble enough to admit past mis-takes. It is, in my opinion, the only way you will convince a significant amount of people of anything at this point.

  44. Andrew Clock
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Um, thanks Dan, I guess?

    I still strongly support taxes that bring gains to society, I just don’t think that any that have been put forward by Ypsi Council in the last few years meet that test. Meanwhile, I’ve voted yes for transit, parks, and WCC.

    But there aren’t many raging moderates out there. The middle is getting lonelier and lonelier.

  45. Arika
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Theoretically, how many people would need to donate at the millage rate (est) for how long in order to make a viable dent in the Water St Debt? If the city could come up with a number, we could rally the Yes voters (I am one of those Yes voters).

  46. Posted August 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Dan, I supported the original proposal (as kjc notes, publicly) by Herman/Kittle, with reservations. I’d certainly prefer an affordability component be spread across several developments, rather than being concentrated in one building.

    The revised version was worse, offering less value through site improvements, though it would have paid six figures in property tax. (Even after the abatement was factored in.)

  47. Posted August 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    And, seeing your later comment Dan, yes, I *do* think it’s a problem that a majority of Ypsi households could qualify for subsidized housing–a fact that applies to Ypsi township as well, if maybe not your neighborhood, so if you’re right that the township is “thriving” while the township withers, that must not be a significant variable.

    I don’t think we can “fix” that problem by running low-income folks out of town, nor do I think we’d suddenly have people building half-million dollar homes in Ypsi if we just put out a press release that said, “oh, hey, we’re not going to build this subsidized housing thing”.

  48. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Murhp

    Even if majority of residents in th he township also qualify for subsidized housing, the point was that Schreiber celebrates that fact. The water street projects would have done nothing to counteract that, but instead encourage more low income people to move to the city. That should not be the goal of develpment. The goal should be to attract higher tax payers. The township actively restricts subsidized housing development. They are trying to improve the tax base. The city does the opposite

  49. Concerned Observer
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes,

    First, sure it was not the best idea for the City of Ypsilanti back in the days the mortgage market was building what is now known full well as a bubble – to invest in land.

    However, the City of Ypsilanti was not the only entity that was caught on the downside of the Mortgage Market Crisis/Bubble/Crash of 2007-2008. In fact, many individuals along with Governmental Units were.

    Since this point, programs like HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) have assisted some personal property owners. Others have lost their personal property outright.

    The City of Ypsilanti rightfully refinanced the land debt of Water Street. By doing so, the City saved millions of dollars. However, in the end, the debt must be paid – or defaulted upon, if this route is chosen.

    One way or the other, the choices are:
    1). Adopt a Elected Millage specifically focused on paying off the Water Street Land Debt by City of Ypsilanti Residents — or —
    2). Default on the Debt, Declare Bankruptcy, Fall Under Receivership and Under the Authority of Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law.

    These are the realities. It is not “elitist” in anyway to say, write, tell, document or otherwise communicate what the realities are.

    The “YES” campaign — if such is restarted again, must describe the realities, no sugarcoating of the facts are necessary or required.

    Pay the Debt or Default into Bankruptcy/Emergency Management. Those are the choices.

  50. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Those aren’t the only options. That is lying to people.

    What if you knock on someone’s door and tell them that horseshit and then they ask you where the money is coming from for the train platform? What’s your response?

  51. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    You keep accusing the vote no people of spreading misinformation. You are the one doing that. There’s certainly $700k available to cut. Much more than that. Its not pretty or ideal but you are lying to yourself and others if you tell them there is no choice but to vote for a millage or get an EFM. You should be ashamed to advocate that nonsense.

  52. Concerned Observer
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    Question 1:
    What is the options if the City of Ypsilanti decreases its Cash Reserves and General Operation Fund to pay off the Water Street Land Debt — and the Debt is not completely satisfied?

    Question 2:
    What is the City of Ypsilanti options to create new taxable revenue as a Landlocked entity without robust areas of available land space for sell to private entities or personal property landowners?

    Question 3:
    What are the City of Ypsilanti available options left, if the entity vast decreases its cash reserves and general operations budget, cut its Police Department and/or Fire Department, retrains the hiring freeze for years on end, cut more administrative and non-administrative staff, sell the Firehouse, completely delete the proposed project of a Train Platform — and still the City of Ypsilanti still do not have enough cash available to pay the Land Debt of Water Street?

    Each of these answers equal defaulting on the land debt, going under state receivership, declaring bankruptcy and the State of Michigan imposing an Emergency Manager under P.A. 436.

    Those are the facts.

    Residents of the City of Ypsilanti might be asked decision again to say “YES” to a millage to pay off the Land Debt of Water Street, or “NO”.

    If the answer is “NO”, they must be fully aware of what the rejection will likely equal for the City of Ypsilanti future.

    Sugarcoating the stark realities is not presenting the facts in the light for Residents of the City of Ypsilanti to make an informed decision – either way they choose.

  53. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    concerned observer,

    What could be more elitist than you claiming to know reality and how it will unfold, while simultaneously assuming that the people who disagree with you are not cured of their ignorance yet; because you and your friends haven’t had the free time to spread your knowledge of reality to the uneducated people around town yet? Why do you insist the “tax-yes” crowd should not sugar coat the consequences of not passing the millage? Umm yea, in the past they have done the opposite of sugar coating the consequences of increased taxes not passing because they hoped a gloomier picture of the future would serve their purposes. Was “it” a lie? I don’t think anybody was intentionally lying but the projections were not accurate. That history needs to be dealt with because people sure as hell are incorporating their lived history into their vote. How someone or a group of people would have the nerve to ask people to forget about their lived history and to trust someone else’s perception of reality is beyond me. Sounds like a bizarre sense of entitlement to me.

  54. EOS
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Switch from a police department to the Washtenaw County Sheriff, eliminate recycling, sell the Freighthouse, reduce the bloated supervisor ratio in DPW, end the DDA as soon as possible (stop new expenditures immediately and pay down what they owe using general funds) and forget about a train platform. The annual savings would exceed the Water Street payments and there would be a minimal impact on residents. Elect a council that proves they can find other cost savings to build reserve funds again.

    You are landlocked and unless you reduce the tax burden you will continue to discourage new businesses from locating in the city and will drive off many families who can afford to move to more economical communities. Raising taxes just digs a deeper hole.

  55. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Observer

    Imagine that you were down on your luck. Your budget is so tight that you are freaking out about how to stay afloat. 1st thing you do is cancel cable. Then you stop eating out even once a month. You eat shitty pasta dishes and tuna because they are cheap. Finally you break down and ask your family and friends for some money. But they don’t have any to give.

    What do you do now? You can save some on your utilities by not using the AC. You can sell your car and take the bus. Things like this that make life uncomfortable but are necessary.

    Ypsi is still running the AC and has cars to sell.

  56. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    You all bash EOS but he just provided you with a real plan. You will continue to bash him and be afraid to admit he is right, though

    Your huge millage rate is the answer though right?

  57. Concerned Observer
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    EOS,

    However, if the City of Ypsilanti “switches” to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office for Police Services, it does not come without costs – as it requires a contractual agreement per deputy.

    For a City who likely would drain Cash Reserves and Operating Revenue without an increase in revenue via a millage to pay off the Water Street Land Debt – how would the City of Ypsilanti bear these additional costs?

    Next, what about the fire department? Who would pick up Fire Services for the City of Ypsilanti?

    Whatever entity pick up the services, it is highly doubtful such would not come without a contractual agreement or i.e. additional costs.

    As for being Landlocked, can you explain how reducing the taxable revenue received by commercial and business property owners would generate increased cash reserves and operating revenue for the City of Ypsilanti?

    The DDA is now combined with the County of Washtenaw.

    Sure, the City of Ypsilanti can completely pull out of the DDA, however, will this action pay off the Water Street Land Debt or just decrease cash reserves and operating revenue first?

    Raising taxes can discourage families from moving into an area, however, what is more likely to do such quicker — a City in receivership, then forced to declare bankruptcy and under the authority of a State Imposed Emergency Manager.

    As for the Firehouse, who will purchase the building at full value, in a real estate market still not fully recovered from the 2007-2008 Mortgage Crisis or Crash?

    If the millage reappears on the November General Election ballot, voters in the City of Ypsilanti should be fully aware of what a “YES” versus a “NO” vote means for the City’s future.

  58. EOS
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Concerned,
    The Sheriff could provide good policing at a cost substantially lower than what the city now pays. Ask your council to look into this. But don’t let the council dictate how many sheriff patrols are necessary – ask the professionals how many patrols they would need. The fire department should be maintained as it is currently.

    The DDA is a group of businesses that keep around $300 thousand dollars a year from the general fund of the city. It’s a club that gets to decide how to spend this money instead of giving it to the city to pay for things like the Water Street debt. They aren’t taking county funds, they are taking funds that otherwise would be paid into the city. The businesses located in the city get to decide how to spend a portion of the taxes that they owe to the city. If they disbanded this club for a dozen years, 1/4 to 1/2 of the water street debt could be paid off without any further reductions in the city budget.

    The city has the 5th highest tax rate in the state and is worried about going into receivership and having an emergency manager imposed. I hope you realize that an emergency manager does not come with a bucket of money to bail the city out from poor decisions. They come and start slashing services until they arrive at a balanced budget. It would be better for everyone if your current government decided how to reduce spending themselves.

    Currently, the city spends about $350 thousand dollars a year for a recycling program. This doesn’t include employee wages and benefits to collect recyclables. Last year, it received $0 in revenue from this program. The vast majority of material that is collected to recycle in the state ultimately ends up in a landfill anyhow. Maybe the city should consider eliminating the time, energy, and resources and just collect trash.

    If the city is hellbent on putting the tax issue on the ballot again in November, it will be alongside the proposed transportation tax increase. You need to attract new business to the city to help pay taxes. When they can purchase us contaminated land a block outside the city limits at half the tax rate it tends to influence business decisions.

  59. EOS
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Uncontaminated land

  60. Posted August 12, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    A lot of EOS’s ideas are questions worth asking, but the math isn’t so easy.

    Just to look at the DDA item, only about half the DDA’s total TIF revenue is brought in from the city’s general fund millage, and then the DDA turns around and pays the city for various services (upwards of $100k/year in the most recent agreement?). So if the DDA were to be eliminated, the net revenue to the city’s GF would be a small fraction of the DDA’s budget, at a guess in the range of 10s of thousands.

    Similarly recycling — the cost doesn’t evaporate; we end up paying landfill tipping fees for that tonnage when we pick it up as garbage instead of as recycling. How much do we actually save? I don’t know — these are much more complicated budget decisions than EOS and I can solve in blogland.

  61. site admin
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Will someone please draw a comic strip titled “EOS in Blogland” in the style of “Little Nemo in Slumberland”?

  62. EOS
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Murph,

    I agree, the math isn’t easy. Open meetings with honest, transparent city officials who answer public questions with specifics would go a long way to facilitate the difficult decisions that need to be made.

    $381,854 is listed on the city budget. 2.8 mils on $103,337,442 of business property in the city (listed on your spreadsheet) would bring in $289,343. The DDA can use some of that money and get matching grants for special projects, but it is doubtful that they could double their annual revenue, unless someone like Bill Gates is handing them free money. They could have a large sum of previous money invested and drawing interest. Is the $92,511 difference the value of grants and interest that the DDA brings in? Possibly.

    They use a significant portion of that money to pay for 1.5 FTE who work for the DDA (salaries and benefits). Here’s more than $100,000 savings alone. They use some of that money to pay for a dedicated policeman in the business area. Some is spent on dumpsters, some to pay someone to pick up litter on the streets and empty trash cans. How much is used to pay on loans that were obtained for earlier projects? How much do they have left that isn’t earmarked? Adam could give us answers but he was non-responsive to my earlier questions.

    As for the recycling – the landfill tipping fees for that tonnage when it is picked up as garbage instead of as recycling is less than half the fee per ton that the city currently pays Ann Arbor to pick up the recyclables. Labor costs could be reduced. The costs are not eliminated, but it is less.

    If the residents in the city really care about keeping the emergency manager at bay, then they need to hold their elected officials accountable. A group of taxpayers could commit their efforts to working with council to identify areas where cuts could be made.

  63. Conan Smith by proxy
    Posted August 12, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Adam Gainsley called Conan Smith and the other Washtenaw County Commissioners out a few days ago for their “lack of support” and leadership on the rec center project. Conan responded with the following on Facebook this morning:

    Hi Adam, I’ll nag WCPARC about the minutes. You’re right that they must be posted. I’ll say, in addition to what I posted back to Mark, that it’s important to acknowledge the competing forces at play here that make the project less feasible. First and foremost, WCPARC’s funds are for countywide recreation opportunities. Their mission is statutorily construed, and it’s pretty clear. They are not primarily focused on economic development, so to leverage their investment in recreation to support an economic outcome was always going to demand a good deal of concessions from the City. I think that Ypsi leaders understand that and were very accommodating while also looking out for their own interests. However, I do not think it is fair to say that they were “only constructive and cooperative”. If that were the case, the site would be larger, for example. The call for investment in ancillary infrastructure would have been taken off the table. The site’s environmental remediation would have been paid for. I do think the City has been an solid partner, but the cancellation of this particular project is underpinned by a lot of complicating factors, some under the City’s control, some under the County’s, some beyond the ability of any to predict or manage. The project was planned on the WS site so as to serve as an anchor for additional higher value development. That was always a risky proposition, and in the end the pieces did not come together in a way that would allow it to fulfill that role. That’s the nature of economic development projects. They can turn on numerous factors. Consider for example that during the intervening years following the County’s proposal to build on the site, no comprehensive redevelopment strategy has been adopted for WS that acknowledges the use of the rec center as an anchor. Or consider what we have all learned about the state of contamination on the site and how that has impeded good projects that do match up with the County’s project. Where we stand today is this: we have no prospects of any development to anchor with the rec center, so it would be a stand alone project on a contaminated site where one of the recreation assets we already invested in has been shut down. Moving forward just doesn’t make sense. I hate!! to say that. I was a major champion of the project and remain very interested in how WCPARC’s investments can support a renaissance in Ypsi. There are certainly other ways, and, who knows, WS may be among them in a different configuration or different circumstances. We’ve all become so mired in this particular project that what should have been a mutually beneficial development is now cause for people in Ypsi to be rancorous about the County (forgetting that we chose Ypsi over other locations out of a sense of goodwill and solidarity). Both fiscally and emotionally, it’s time to push the reset button.

  64. Meta
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    It will be decided tomorrow morning.

    From MLive:

    Mayor Amanda Edmonds has called a special 7 a.m. Aug. 16 City Council meeting at which Council will consider putting a new Water Street debt retirement millage proposal in front of voters in the November general election.

    The Washtenaw County Clerk’s ballot language deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, so the meeting must be held early in the day at a time when all council members can attend before the workday, Edmonds said.

    Council has a regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/08/ypsilanti_to_consider_new_wate.html

  65. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    “I felt like it was our obligation to listen to constituents and consider placing it back on the ballot,” Edmonds said.

    Did she not hear the constituents who voted twice against more taxes????

  66. maryd
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    EOS…She was listening to the many others who did ask for this, My husband and myself included. We spoke to our representatives about this the night of the election. They have unanimously voted to not put it on the ballot in November, so you can stop whining. But EOS…you don’t get a vote.

  67. site admin
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Council decided against it. It will not be on the ballot in November.

  68. Jennifer
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Mark,
    This isn’t a comment but instead a request that you email me — I don’t have your address and I don’t FB. I’m writing an essay about Water Street that I wanted to consult you about.

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