Additional Thoughts (Mar 31, 2019) - Mental Health Millage Compromise

The following was originally published in my Mar 31, 2019 Newsletter in the "Additional Thoughts" section

Additional thoughts…

Since the last meeting, I have mostly received emails about use of the millage rebate and the two resolutions re: budget allocations. I’ve heard some people characterize the two resolutions (DC-3 & DC-4) as contradictory, that one negates the other. Another person suggested to me that we could approve both, assuring both a baseline of funding toward the three goals (affordable housing, climate change, and pedestrian safety) from the general budget, while also directing the rebate money toward the priorities identified in the survey.  

I have questions about CM Lumm’s proposal to allocate the rebate money according to the results of the community survey. First of all, while I supported the community survey, I did not expect it to be translated directly into a list of allocations. Second, I wonder about allocations toward goals that might not yet exist as line items in any budget. E.g. If we plan to dedicate 15% of funding toward Safe Drinking Water initiatives, what would those be? Do we have unfunded Safe Drinking Water initiatives just waiting for that money?  

I appreciate Mayor Taylor and CM Griswold’s effort to create a baseline of funding, particularly for affordable housing. Progress toward developing affordable housing very much depends on a reliable source of funding in order to get grants and piece together projects (some current projects already anticipate the allocations promised in 2017). I have written at length already about my frustration re: how that millage rebate was promised, but we need to move forward and settle it.  

I appreciate everyone’s emails, sharing your perspectives on this issue. I read all of your messages and they help me.

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Elizabeth NELSON

DEMOCRAT for Ann Arbor City Council Ward 4

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