Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog


I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.

City Council Newsletter (May 15, 2021)

Hello neighbors!

Welcome to everyone who is new to this newsletter! Before every Council meeting, I write up my own summary of each agenda item and try to pull details that I think are most relevant to understanding them. My hope is that these summaries can help residents keep track of what City Council is doing. For issues that matter to you, I encourage you to follow links (next to each agenda item) to the City's Legistar website, where you can find all the background information.

This week, we have a fairly short Consent Agenda and relatively few regular agenda items. In CA-1 and CA-2, you can find maps of where the City is directing sidewalk repair and sidewalk levelling efforts this season— note that one area of focus is the Dicken neighborhood (Area 21-03). The biggest item on the regular agenda is adoption of the Annual Budget (DS-1). Proposed amendments are not yet listed on Legistar, but I have received them and summarized them below in my "Additional Thoughts" section.

This week, new guidelines from the CDC allow a lot more “normal” activity for those of us who are fully vaccinated. In this warmer season, I am looking for opportunities to get outdoors and interact in a more meaningful way! I hope to return to in-person coffee hours in June— stay tuned for news about how and where I plan to do it.

In other news this week, CM Jeff Hayner is now the target of a recall petition. The petition is based in part on the vote of Council last month, stripping CM Hayner of Committee and Commission assignments for quoting Hunter S. Thompson on social media. On May 11th, the Washtenaw County Election Commission approved the language of the recall petition in a 2-1 vote.


I wrote about the Council decision both before and after our meeting:



CM Hayner was interviewed by MLive this week, regarding the recall petition. In the context of discussion about the use of offensive language by various writers in the past, Council Member Hayner referred to and quoted a John Lennon song that included a racial slur.


This has prompted a reaction. In various places, I have seen this interview described as an “aggressive move” and bordering on a “hate crime.” Several people have framed it as having caused harm to the reporter. Mayor Taylor has publicly stated that this interview was “conduct unbecoming a Council Member, plain and simple” referring to a new Council Rule implemented just two weeks ago.

I can repeat the same comment I made a month ago:

There are some words so wildly offensive that context is unhelpful in diffusing their power to harm. In identifying those words (and measuring the harm of them), our conversation should be centered on the perspective of those who are hurt.

To that end, here is a recent Washington Post editorial that explains the issue much more clearly than I could:


Barrier Busters

Residents in need of financial help during this crisis (e.g. to avoid eviction, pay utility bills, cover emergency medical expenses) can find resources at this link:


Housing Access for Washtenaw County

Housing Access for Washtenaw County (HAWC) is Washtenaw County’s central intake for individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. If you are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis, please call HAWC at (734) 961-1999


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Virtual Coffee Hours

Sunday May 16th 3:00pm

During the COVID-19 crisis I have been holding "virtual" coffee hours with Zoom on Sunday afternoons before scheduled City Council meetings. Please email me for a link:


Council Caucus

Sunday 16th 6:00pm

We have been holding Council Caucus on Sunday nights before Council meetings since March 2019. All Council Members are invited to participate.


City Council Regular Meeting

Monday May 17th 7:00pm

My summary of this Council meeting agenda is posted below in this newsletter.


Note that Council is still meeting "virtually" using the Zoom application. Video feeds of Council meetings are broadcast on CTN and YouTube. Public comment is audio only using dial-in numbers. Please check the Legistar link for the latest information.


A2ELNEL.com Website Updates

In addition to writing this newsletter, I post updates to my website with my perspectives on how issues were resolved at City Council and details on how Council voted at each meeting. I also post information about meetings and issues that affect Ward 4 residents, along with news that affects all city residents.

You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/

City Council Voting Chart for May 3, 2021


Healthy Streets 2021

A budget amendment that included both temporary lane and street closures as well as permanent installations was defeated. I explain my vote.


Industrial Highway Detour (May 10th - July 2nd 2021)

A temporary traffic control began Monday, May 10th, while work takes place on South Industrial Highway between East Eisenhower Parkway and East Stadium Boulevard.


Street Resurfacing of Baldwin Avenue, Brockman Boulevard, Crestland Drive, Eastover Place/Ferdon Road, and Saint Francis Drive begins May 17, 2021

Construction is scheduled to start May 17, 2021 and last approximately 6 to 7 weeks.


Public Meeting for Proposed Water Treatment Plant Project June 3rd 6PM

A public meeting and public hearing will take place via Zoom to discuss the City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant proposed Barton Pump Station Valve Improvement Project.




For anyone interested in understanding and analyzing the recent work of Council, I have created a resource at A2COUNCIL.com with summaries of issues and direct links to City documents. For each City Council meeting since November 2018, you can find links to the City's Legistar website, CTN's YouTube video, and links to my newsletters and voting charts. I have listed agenda items of interest from each meeting, along with articles I've written and articles published on MLive.




Council Meeting Agenda 5/17/21

Below is my summary of some issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me at my official City email: ENelson@A2gov.org

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website:


Ann Arbor City Council Monday May 17th (7:00pm) Electronic Meeting

City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99). They are also streamed live on YouTube and Viebit: https://www.youtube.com/user/ctnannarbor


Questions to the Agenda

In preparation for a Council meeting, Council members can ask questions of staff about scheduled agenda items. Questions must be submitted by noon on the Wednesday before a Council Meeting, and answers are returned the next day (Thursday) by 5pm.

AC-1 (21-0969) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - May 17, 2021

This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.


Communications from the Mayor

MC-1 (21-0852) Appointments - Confirmations

These 41 reappointments from the Mayor were presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • John Kotarski - Ann Arbor Public Art Commission

  • Sarah Fuller - Ann Arbor Public Art Commission

  • Anthony Ramirez - Building Authority

  • Doug Smith - Building Authority

  • David Arnsdorf - Building Board of Appeals

  • Lisa Disch - City Planning Commission

  • Sarah Mills - City Planning Commission

  • Lisa Sauve - City Planning Commission

  • Rachel Hawkins - Commission on Disability Issues

  • Zachary Damon - Commission on Disability Issues

  • William Kinley - Design Review Board

  • Lori Singleton - Design Review Board

  • Carolyn Arcure - Downtown Area Citizens’ Advisory Council

  • Peter Honeyman - Downtown Area Citizens’ Advisory Council

  • Mary Klopf - Downtown Development Authority

  • Jessica Letaw - Downtown Development Authority

  • Rishi Narayan - Downtown Development Authority

  • Kenneth Westerman - Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee

  • E. Merrill Dudley - Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee

  • Charles Hookham - Energy Commission

  • Robert Joerg - Energy Commission

  • Noah Levin - Energy Commission

  • John Mirsky - Energy Commission

  • Jessica Quijano - Historic District Commission

  • Paul Sher - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Skylar Woodman - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Lee Meadows - Housing Commission

  • Leslie Stambaugh - Human Rights Commission

  • Dilip Das - Human Rights Commission

  • Cheryl Darnton - Huron River Watershed Commission

  • Richard Norton - Huron River Watershed Commission

  • Paige Morrison - Leslie Science and Nature Center Board of Directors

  • Heather Grisham - Local Development Finance Authority

  • Rachel Skylis - Park Advisory Commission

  • Lauren London - Park Advisory Commission

  • Areli Balderrama - Transportation Commission

  • Julie Boland - Transportation Commission

  • Candice Briere - Zoning Board of Appeals

  • Nicole Eisenmann - Zoning Board of Appeals

  • Michael Brent Daniel - Zoning Board of Appeals

  • Charlotte Wilson - Zoning Board of Appeals

MC-2 (21-0907) Appointment of Jennifer Ross to the Historic District Commission (1-Step Appointment, 8 Votes Required)

This Mayoral nomination is being introduced at this meeting, and the Mayor has asked for a "one-step" appointment, waving the usual two-meeting requirement. This process requires 8 votes. Note that this item was added to the agenda on Friday, May 14th.

  • Jennifer Ross - Historic District Commission

MC-3 (21-0950) Resolution to Appoint Kristen Schweighoeffer to the Housing Board of Appeals (7 Votes Required)

This Mayoral reappointment being introduced at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. Because the nominee is not a registered elector, 7 votes are required. Note that this item was added to the agenda on Friday, May 14th.

  • Kristen Schweighoeffer - Housing Board of Appeals


Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on the Consent Agenda. If no one on Council specifically requests that an item be pulled for discussion, the whole of this list will be approved in a single vote. I encourage you to look at this list and offer suggestions to me about anything you would like to see pulled for discussion.

CA-1 (21-0750) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Doan Construction Co. (Bid No. 4677) for the 2021 Annual Sidewalk and Ramp Repair Project ($581,563.15)

CA-2 (21-0751) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to CLI Concrete Leveling, Inc. (Bid No. 4676) for the 2021 Annual Sidewalk Leveling Project ($93,600.00)

CA-3 (21-0806) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract to Bailey Excavating, Inc. for the 2021 Miscellaneous Utilities Project ($2,544,692.24) (ITB No. 4669)

CA-4 (21-0864) Resolution to Approve An Amendment to the Bylaws of the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Ann Arbor

CA-5 (21-0772) Resolution to Approve a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for Lockwood of Ann Arbor, 2195 East Ellsworth

CA-6 (21-0889) Resolution to Approve Outdoor Seating and Live Entertainment for Zal Gaz Grotto, 2070 West Stadium Boulevard, until December 31, 2021 as Special Event.

CA-7 (21-0895) Resolution to Approve Amendment Number Two to Agreement between Abigail Elias and the City of Ann Arbor ($5,000.00)

CA-8 (21-0903) Resolution to Approve and Appropriate Funding for the Seventh Amendment to Professional Services Agreement with Bodman, PLC, for Legal Services Relative to 1,4-Dioxane from Gelman Sciences, Inc., dba Pall Life Sciences ($75,000) (8 Votes Required)

CA-9 (21-0890) Resolution to Accept an Easement for Water Main at 3352 Washtenaw Ave from RT Properties of Ann Arbor, LLC (8 Votes Required)


Public Hearings

Anyone wanting to comment on these issues may speak for 3 minutes, without having specifically reserved time. Issues subject to public hearing will also be up for a vote by Council later in the meeting.

PH-1/B-1 (21-0866) An Ordinance to Add a Temporary Emergency Ordinance Section 1.327b (Third-Party Delivery Services) to Title I of Chapter 15 (Emergency and Disaster Management) of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-21-17)

A Temporary Emergency Ordinance will regulate Third Party Delivery Service for so long as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders restrict indoor dining establishments. Regulations will limit a commission or delivery charge to no more than 15% of purchase price (unless a higher rate is agreed upon in exchange for additional service). Third party delivery services will be in violation of the ordinance if they post inaccurate or misleading information about an Ann Arbor restaurant or such restaurant’s menu.

PH-2/DB-1 (21-0844) Resolution to Approve the 2065, 2099 South Main Street Annexations, 1.5 Acres, 2065, 2099 South Main Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 1 Nays)

Annexation of two parcels inadvertently left off a previous Council action. This two parcels are part of the cluster of parcels at 2065 and 2099 S. Main (part of the proposed Valhalla development). Pittsfield Township and the State of Michigan have already taken action on these parcels and their annexation needs to be officially approved by the City.


Ordinances - Second Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances were approved at a previous Council meeting, and are also subject to a public hearing as listed above.

B-1 (21-0866) is the same as PH-1 above.


New Business - Boards and Commissions

The following resolution had a public hearing, as listed above.

DB-1 (21-0844) is the same as PH-2 above.


Ordinances - First Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for "first reading". If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting ("second reading"), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.

There are no ordinance first readings on the agenda.


Motions and Resolutions

The following agenda items are motions and resolutions, which are approved or rejected in a single meeting. Agenda items marked "DC" are proposed by Council members, items marked "DB" are proposed by City boards and commissions, items marked "DS" are proposed by City staff.

DC-1 (21-0851) Resolution to Appoint Sheila Schueller and Robert Gordon to the Greenbelt Advisory Commission

These reappointments are from CM Grand, who serves on the Greenbelt Advisory Commission. These were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Sheila Schueller - Greenbelt Advisory Commission

  • Robert Gordon - Greenbelt Advisory Commission

DC-2 (21-0865) Resolution to Make Appointments of Nonregistered Electors to Boards and Commissions (7 Votes Required)

These 7 reappointments and 3 new appointments from the Mayor were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the nominees are not a registered electors of the City of Ann Arbor.

  • Kelly Burris - Airport Advisory Committee

  • Mike Pettigrew - Building Authority (new appointment)

  • Marti Praschan - Building Authority (new appointment)

  • Debra Poster - Commission on Disability Issues

  • Ella Hall - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Ayesha Ghazi-Edwin - Human Rights Commission

  • Molly Maciejewski - Huron River Watershed Commission

  • Michelle Mueller - Local Development Finance Authority

  • Jeff Nemeth - Public Market Advisory Commission

  • Stephanie Willette - Public Market Advisory Commission (new appointment)

DC-3 (21-0875) Resolution to Appoint Christopher Graham and John Callewaert to the Environmental Commission

These reappointments are from CM Disch and CM Griswold, who serve on the Environmental Commission. These were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Christopher Graham - Environmental Commission

  • John Callewaert - Environmental Commission

DC-4 (21-0877) Resolution to Appoint Makiah Shipp, Mohammad Othman and Frances Todoro-Hargreaves to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (7 Votes Required)

These reappointments are from CM Ramlawi and CM Song, who serve on the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, and CM Nelson and CM Radina, who serve on the Human Rights Commission. These were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because one nominee is not a registered elector of the City of Ann Arbor.

  • Makiah Shipp - Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (Youth Member)

  • Mohammad Othman - Independent Community Police Oversight Commission

  • Frances Todoro-Hargreaves - Independent Community Police Oversight Commission

DC-5 (21-0842) Resolution to Adopt the FY22 City Council Legislative Policy Agenda

The City Council Legislative Policy Agenda for FY22 articulates the values and goals driving advocacy at the state level in the interests of Ann Arbor.

DC-6 (21-0928) Resolution to Approve the City of Ann Arbor’s Operational Adoption of Juneteenth as a Recognized and Commemorated Annual Holiday (8 Votes Required)

Juneteenth will be recognized and commemorated on the third Saturday in June, starting on June 19, 2021. City leadership and employees will observe the holiday on Friday June 18th, with City Hall buildings closed at an estimated cost of $85,266.

DC-7 (21-0973) Resolution Establishing a Council Subcommittee for the Purpose of Studying and Setting Parameters for a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Program for the City of Ann Arbor

A Council subcommittee (City PILOT Taskforce) would be formed for the purpose of exploring a program to track and receive Payment in Lieu of Taxes from non-taxable entities in the City. The Taskforce will study the use of PILOT in other communities, create land value maps identifying all parcels currently exempt from paying property taxes, create a list of community-centric benefits that would qualify as PILOT credit, and identify financing and accounting options for receipt of funds. The Taskforce would report back to Council with recommendations no later than October 18, 2021.

DS-1 (21-0754) Resolution to Adopt Ann Arbor City Budget and Related Property Tax Millage Rates for Fiscal Year 2022

The budget proposed by the City Administrator is subject to amendment and approval by Council. See my "Additional Thoughts" section below.


Additional thoughts…

Budget Work Session Presentations

As part of our budget process, the City departments presented proposals for spending in Fiscal Year 2022 (which begins July 1, 2021). You can find those presentations here:

Feb 8, 2021 Work Session

Budget Overview: General fund, Community Services, Fire, Police, 15th District Court


Feb 22, 2021 Work Session



Ann Arbor Housing Commission


Mar 8, 2021 Work Session

Public Services


City Attorney's Office


Mar 22, 2021 Work Session

Downtown Development Authority (DDA)


SmartZone (Local Development Financing Authority - LDFA)


City Administrators Proposed Budget

The City Administrator presented his FY2022 budget to Council on April 19, 2021. That budget is in DS-1 on this week's agenda:


Budget Amendments

In response to the budget proposed by the City Administrator last month, Council Members could - with the help and participation of staff - present budget amendments.

At this week's Council meeting, a budget amendment can be approved by simple majority vote. The whole of the budget (including all approved amendments) must then be approved by Council with at least 7 votes. If the whole of the amended budget fails to pass, then the original budget proposed by the City Administrator will automatically be adopted.

The following budget amendments have been proposed by Council:

Amendment 1 (Ramlawi)

Deer cull funding ($120,000) would be reduced to zero. That funding would be redirected in the following way:

$120,000 to fund improvements at the site of the Center of the City.

Amendment 2 (Taylor, Briggs)

The FY22 Major Streets Fund budget would be increased by $320,830 to deploy 2021 Healthy Streets programs on S. Main and Packard.

The FY22 Local Street Fund budget would be increased by $33,143 to deploy 2021 Healthy Streets program on local neighborhood streets.

Amendment 3 (Hayner)

Deer cull funding ($120,000) would be reduced to zero to address structural deficits.

Amendment 4 (Hayner)

Sustainability funding ($179,098) for two new full-time employees - Sustainability Analysts - would be removed from the budget.

Amendment 5 (Hayner)

Deer cull funding ($120,000) would be reduced to zero. That funding would be redirected in the following way:

$25,000 (one-time FY22) to short-term improvements at Center of the City (CofC)

$25,000 (one-time FY22) in matching funds (nonrecurring) for private support of CofC

$70,000 toward General Fund structural deficit

Amendment 6 (Radina, Song, Taylor)

Funding reductions proposed:

$20,000 removed from deer cull (recurring)

$52,964 removed from Sustainability and Innovations

(professional development and materials & supplies budget)

$72,965 Human Resources reimbursement from other department funds as appropriate

That funding would be redirected in the following way:

$145,929 for a full time employee tasked with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Amendment 7 (Briggs)

Funding for the study of Single Family Zoning ($100,000) would be reduced to $60,000. That funding would be redirected in the following way:

$40,000 (one-time) for the planning and design of Center of the City public spaces.

Amendment 8 (Briggs)

Funding reductions proposed:

$132,000 removed from existing street light replacements

$118,000 removed from pedestrian safety outreach and education

That funding would be redirected in the following way:

$100,000 for traffic calming on major streets

$150,000 for curb extensions and centerline hardening/slow turn wedge treatments

Amendment 9 (Grand)

Funding allocated for Legal Services within the Public Services Area would increase to pay for expert witnesses in litigation:

$74,000 Water Supply System

$76,000 Sewage Disposal System

$50,000 Stormwater Sewer System

Amendment 10 (Briggs)

$300,000 would be added (from the Major Street Fund Balance) to fund three “quick-build” safety projects on major streets at focus corridors and intersections.

Amendment 11 (Taylor)

Deer cull funding ($120,000) would be reduced to zero.

Amendment 12 (Grand, Taylor)

$75,000 would be added (from the General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance) to the City Attorney Office in order to fund succession planning.

Amendment 13 (Radina, Briggs)

Funding for a Chief Strategy Executive position within the Police Department ($158,458) would be removed from the budget.

Amendment 14 (Grand)

$389,168 would be added (from the General Fund fund balance) to the Parks and Recreation Budget, consistent with the "Parks Fairness" policy established in 2010, and temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!

Elizabeth Nelson ENelson@A2gov.org

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