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Posted on Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 6:23 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council weighs option of outsourcing compost operations to New York firm

By Ryan J. Stanton

A proposal to outsource city of Ann Arbor compost operations to a New York-based company continued to draw questions Monday night during a City Council work session.

Matt Kulhanek, the city's fleet and facilities manager, gave a detailed presentation to council members in which he said the city could save more than $376,000 annually starting next year under a five-year contract with WeCare Organics.

Aside from cutting costs, he said, the operation wouldn't change much.

"Obviously, we have a good operation going right now and we're very proud of the product we provide," Kulhanek said. "We want to make sure we're having a good-run site, as well as providing an excellent product to our customers."

Through a public-private partnership, WeCare would operate the city's 26-acre composting site located at the Wheeler Service Center at 4150 Platt Road, including use and maintenance of the compost equipment storage building. The city would continue to operate a scalehouse, which handles compost, solid waste and recycled materials.

Council members will be asked to make a decision next Monday. If approved, the city would move quickly to formalize a contract and reopen the compost site Jan. 3 under WeCare.

The city's compost operations have struggled, bringing in $247,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2009-10, while expenses totaled $930,000 — about a $683,000 overall loss. The year before, the city saw an overall loss of $568,000 from its compost operations.

The losses are projected to grow to more than $772,000 in four years if the city doesn't take steps to cut costs, city officials said. The bulk of the costs are employee wages and benefits and equipment maintenance costs.

If the city contracted with WeCare, the annual net cost to the city would drop to about $128,700 a year through the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to Kulhanek. He said the city also stands to gain about $1.2 million in one-time revenue, largely from the sale of equipment.

City staff selected WeCare from a field of three proposals received in August. The other two were from Maine-based New England Organics and Michigan-based Spurt Industries.

Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, asked why city staff wasn't considering the Michigan-based company's proposal, which offered to reduce the city's annual net cost to about $124,400 — a greater savings than WeCare would provide.

Kulhanek said the decision "wasn't as much on the financial side of things," but rather the city felt more comfortable going with the larger, more established company. He said WeCare was the highest rated in non-financial areas and offered the lowest tipping fee.

Tom McMurtrie, the city's solid waste coordinator, said the city made phone calls to three facilities operated by WeCare and heard all positive comments.

Founded in 1999, WeCare operates nine compost facilities in states like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Kulhanek said eight of those are through government contracts.

Council members wanted assurances that the quality of the compost product — at the price currently provided — wouldn't drastically change.

Kulhanek said the best indication that WeCare is committed to continuing participation in the U.S. Composting Council's Seal of Testing Assurance Program, which certifies quality.

As it has done in other locations, the company would market its finished product under the WeCare brand name, Kulhanek said.

Council members also had questions about the financial arrangement between WeCare and the city. Kulhanek said the city would start out paying tipping fees of $19 a ton for all compost, leaves, yard waste and brush coming from the city.

The rate reduces over the five years of the contract to $17.50 a ton.

On the flip side, the city would collect $1 a ton for any non-city compost brought in. The city also would receive 50 cents a ton on any compost sales by WeCare.

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said the arrangement seems to give the city a financial incentive to promote more composting by other municipalities that dump their materials in Ann Arbor and to encourage Ann Arbor residents to do their own composting at home.

"So the global concept is that composting will not be done by the city for the people of Ann Arbor as much," she said. "What we are doing is creating a financial incentive for the city to discourage people from putting compost in their compost bins that we just encouraged them to purchase."

The estimated savings prepared by city staff assume the city will continue at its current pace of tipping about 9,000 tons of leaves and yard waste a year. In the first full year of the contract with WeCare, at $19 a ton, that would cost the city $171,000.

The city's compost center currently includes a staff of four full-time city employees. The city proposes giving all four employees jobs in other departments to avoid layoffs.


Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, asks a question during Monday's City Council work session.

Ryan J. Stanton |

That includes moving two operators to vacant positions in field operations, while a mechanic would move to fleet operations to offset another mechanic's retirement in February. A supervisor, meanwhile, would be reassigned to a vacant position in field operations.

AFSCME President Nicholas Nightwine, who attended Monday's meeting, said his union still isn't happy with how the city has handled the issue.

"They're moving way too fast on this," he said. "There's too many unanswered questions out there. The fact that they've never visited one of WeCare's sites, I don't understand that. We don't know who this company is, and it doesn't sound like we've researched them good enough."

Nightwine said his union is looking into all of its options, including taking legal action.

"If we have a reason and a right to sue, yes, we will, because we want to keep this work. We don't want to see city work given away," he said.

Mayor John Hieftje said he was interested in looking into having someone from the city visit a facility operated by WeCare before the council makes its decision.

Kulhanek said WeCare has a history of success working with cities, and Ann Arbor has a history of success with public-private partnerships. He mentioned contracts the city has with FCR LLC, Recycle Ann Arbor and Waste Management for recycling and commercial waste operations.

The proposal to privatize compost operations comes as the city looks for further ways to maintain a balanced solid waste fund budget. For the current year, expenses total $13.1 million while revenue totals $13.6 million — $11.2 million of which comes from the solid waste millage.

City officials say the solid waste fund's challenges include loss of revenue generated by the millage, a drop in the value of recyclable materials, more expensive automated collection equipment and rising health care and pension costs.

Sue McCormick, the city's public services area administrator, said the direction the city is headed with its compost operations has been in the planning stages for five years.

Nightwine, of AFSCME, took exception to that statement.

"It's the first I've heard of this in five years and I've been with the city longer than that," he said. "To this day, right now, the city has not sat with the union and discussed this at all."

In a previous attempt to outsource compost operations, the city issued a request for proposals last year that netted four responses. The city selected St. Louis Compost, but the company withdrew its bid in May 2010, citing changes in market conditions.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

Digger....interesting point. I wonder if it was bid under this CUB agreement.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 6:32 a.m.

I don't what Mr. Nightwine is getting upset about. His members will be represented by to new unions when the city signs the contract. The will be governed by the cub agreement council enacted. Or do they again get to pick and chose who should be governed by this agreement

Lets Get Real

Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 9:02 p.m.

Let's Get Real, the city of Ann Arbor is NOT contributing to the economic recovery in Michigan. They've hired an out-of-state contractor to perform concrete work for sidewalk repair and now they plan to ship more Michigan dollars out of the state for composting services. There is a Michigan bidder. Although indicated as a smaller company, shouldn't we recognize that these other companies started that way too, and that they seem to be highly regionalized in the east. For a city that touts entrepreneurship being alive and well here, give the Michigan entrepreneur a chance. Set clear performance goals and structure the contract so underperformance has consequence. But Let's Get Real, if economic recovery is to take place in Michigan, it has to start with the support of Michigan companies. Why wasn't that a criteria in the RFP, anyway?


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

The city administration, with cooperation from council members, is about to railroad this proposal on through to an apparent majority approval. Will there be any serious dissent on council, or will everyone quietly go along and pretend that such a change must happen right now? A more responsible approach by city council would entail postponement for a period of weeks or months. This is an example of an issue that cries out for an FOIA request. Due to the administrative surprise attack on union jobs, a thorough public review of the compost center finances and pricing is in order. Of course, the very sudden emergence of this proposal, along with the make-believe claim that an instant decision must be made, conveniently sidesteps a more sober, publicly informed and rational review process. Also, other local unions ought be lining up in solidarity. For instance, where is Bob King?


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

Tell me how money is saved by moving the compost employees to other jobs in the city. All they are doing is shifting money from one budget to another. The total city budget stays the same. Katherine is correct about converting wages to profit for a private company. This does not make any sense. We need to try harder to fix this instead of throwing in the towel. Why not try to find a company to market our compost before we pull the plug? Ever heard of Milorganite? I also can't believe that we are thinking of going with a New York company when there is a Michigan company that can do it. Why not rent the equipment to the company instead of selling it? That way is the deal is a bust, we could restart our operation without spending huge money on new equipment.


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

No! No! And no to out sourcing to a New York company. Please do not tell me there are not Michigan owned companies that can do the work. During the past year, all we have heard on television ads is "let's bring jobs to Michigan" --- well let's do so. There are other ways the city can save money. Once again, do not out sources Michigan business. Michigan tax payer dollars should go to Michigan businesses and workers.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

Off-topic comments about another news story have been removed.

T Kinks

Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 12:01 a.m.

Well said Dotdash

T Kinks

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:52 p.m.

I wholeheartedly agree with you Kathyrn. I also believe a man deserves a fair days pay for a fair days work & if it takes a Union to give him that, so be it.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:15 p.m.

I have yet to see anyone give an explicit reason (not some ideological guess about how expensive union help is) as to how this NY company can operate this activity so much cheaper. As some one else suggested maybe it is because they would hire cheap labor (labor that is inexperienced) and then give them no benefits: i.e., no medical insurance, nor retirement, etc. So eventually these laborers end up in later life on the public dole because they have no way to pay their health expenses, not way to afford reasonable housing when they retire, etc. Wonderful--the City finds a way to pass the buck to the future tax payers! How smart they must think they are. We all need to start being responsible for the expenses we incur now as citizens and allow ourselves to be taxed for them instead of trying to pass these expenses on to future generations.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

All the comments are interesting, many informative, but is anybody listening? Based on the city attitude toward residents, I doubt it. I am confident that a decision has been made, the compost operation will be outsourced( "outstated"), those who object will be told they should have provided input at an earlier stage. Of course, no opportunity for input was even provided nor is it wanted. There is a solution to this type of management: Remove the city manager, all city supervisors, and hire new personnel. Given Michigan's high unemployment rate, there will be numerous qualified applicants who will understand that they are employees of the taxpayers of Ann Arbor. These positions can then be filled at current salary rates, with, however, benefits equivalent to private industry. Perhaps then the new supervisors will consult not only residents but the line employees who actually do the work and could no doubt identify numerous places where efficiencies could be put in place.

Tim Darton

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

You really think the company would import people from NY to work with compost? The workers would still be local they just wouldn't be with the city. Profits would leave the state but the wages would stay. I want them to choose the best company and go with them. It that's the company from NY, so be it. No one at AFSCME would lose their job they would stay with the city. Four more pensions we do not have to pay, let WeCare worry about that. This is a smart move.

Go Blue

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

In this political environment, I cannot believe the approach to solving this issue. Are those that make the decisions REALLY that out of touch with reality?????????????? Keep the work inhouse is first and foremost. If that absolutly is the WORST option, then keep it with a MICHIGAN company. What is this absurdity of an out of state company????? With the unemployment rate in Michigan, I cannot fathom ANYONE would have the lack of common sense to outsource jobs anywhere but within the state. If the best option is somewhere else, then shucks, maybe you SHOULD be investigating CHINA too!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bet some company from China would give an awesome deal! Vote em out..............this is just the thing that is destroying the economy in our state. What a joke.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 5:05 p.m.

From this article I do not feel like I know enough one way or the other to make a decision. The financials sound good, but the question raised by one of the council members remains unanswered as do the concerns raised by the union. It sounds as if more research is needed and then assurance that the recycling program will not be diminished in quality or scope by this outsourcing. The new company would hire new employees, paying them less and with lower benefits??? I look forward to learning more about this.

Blue Eyes

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

How in the world is the state ever going to recover if it's own cities want to outsource everything out of state?! If this is the mentality of the City's managers, maybe we need to outsource the managers - especially when one side of their mouths say it's all about money and the other says "wasn't as much on the financial side". C'mon Kulhanek (a non-city resident), get with the program here!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

Maybe if the state of Michigan were more friendly to business, this wouldn't be necessary. The future of our economy depends on non-union workforces. This decision is an indictment of Lansing's anti-business climate.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

djm12652 That is not a fair comparison. Even the tackiest of posters here know sometimes it is best not to make comments when it comes to a tragedy like you mentioned.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

To bad the Mayor and the city council will not go with compost and stop stinking up the city like they are now.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

not..."as much on the financial side of things"??? Geez, can't Kulhanek do better than that? I agree with other writers that we need to look hard at Michigan businesses first. And I'd like more info about Townie's assertions that landscape contractors paying under cost for the compost. What are landscapers charged? Why doesn't the city charge them more? I'd gladly pay more as a private gardener for the compost, if given the option of local control vs. NY company. Reminds me of the A2 News closure - no opportunity to offer to pay more for a quality local paper. Now look what we've got!


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

good one @ Rusty. "The bulk of the costs are employee wages and benefits and equipment maintenance costs." - Of course they send the jobs out of state??? Isn't our biggest collective concern in Michigan that we not only KEEP the jobs we have, but also create more? I see that they want to avoid layoffs by giving the workers different jobs, but obviously the workers are not okay with this if their union is threatening to sue. Michigan workers should come first right now.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

So is death...


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

@dotdash from my understanding no jobs would be outsorced (the employees would still be here) however I understand that the NY company is where the end dollar ends up, therefore that money goes to NY where the bulk of it would probably stay feeding that local economy (instead of Michigans) I am assuming if the Zeeland company got the contract than a high percentage of money would stay in michigan and feed michigans economy (that "management" company would pay themselves than do business/shop/eat/cloth thier families with michigan purchased goods. The trickle down effect for michigans economy if you will. Who's to say that the Zeeland company wouldn't have to hire some more employees as well. It just doesn't make sense to go with a NY firm when the Michigan firm came in with a cheaper bid and IS an established business. A2 composting could become their crown jewel for operations helping them get even more contracts with other cities.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:21 p.m.

I have to admit the whole leaf collection situation was a surprise to me about a month and a half ago. I think I might have had an opinion about it prior to the decision to end pick up. I don't see why, if it is indeed an expense we cannot afford, we couldn't offer it as a paid optional service to homeowners. Right now I see houses with elderly and/or vacant homes ect., that will probably go unraked. Some people are physically unable to compost. I am looking forward to the rain at January thaw collecting at the gutters clogged with ice bound leaves. While I currently see my neighbors paying dearly for contracted business to haul away leaves. Ann Arbor already owns the equipment to collect the leaves. Instead of paying workers to feverishly sweep the streets (and may I add ineffectively), why not offer the option to charge the citizens additionally for leaf pick up. This would be a tremendous revenue, more than make up for the deficit I am sure, as well as employ more local workers. Perhaps Ann arbor could even offer leaf clean up for a charge, more income more employment. People are paying over $150 to have a private company come. I like the composting situation we have. Although I am already a home composter, I appreciate being able to buy the compost from the city, as well as my neighbors clean yards.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

I am entirely comfortable with the proposal given the city's reputation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and financial management.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

I think it's important to look at the kinds of jobs that are created or lost. If we outsource, are we exporting jobs to NY state? And if we outsource, are we trading in reasonably good jobs (with benefits on which one could raise a family) for low-hourly-wage jobs? Why are we, as Michiganders, outsourcing jobs and why are we downgrading jobs in our local community? It seems really counterproductive.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:34 a.m.

I voted undecided on this poll because we need a lot more information about the proposal and the companies involved. One aspect of my professional career involved certifying hazardous waste disposal sites for a major company. We would never have accepted a waste site without an audit of their facility including a visit to their operating site. On that point alone it is clear to me that the City staff has not done an adequate assessment of any of the three potential contractors. In principle I have a problem with spending tax payer dollars for services from outside our State. My preference is to spend tax dollars within the City when possible, expanding the circle beyond the City as needed. For example, I have a huge problem with sending a check to New York for a parking ticket incurred in Ann Arbor: There must be someone locally or at least within Michigan capable of processing a check to the City. Even in my personal spending I have tried to keep money as close to home as possible, buying from the most local source possible. These days that is becoming harder with so many consumer products produced overseas. However, services, like those the City provides, can certainly be sourced locally. Composting isn't exactly something rarely understood by local Michigan people. There must be farmers within walking distance of Ann Arbor who manage tons of compost and have the expertise to convert yard waste into compost. I just don't believe we have to go to New York to find someone capable of handling composting. More importantly, I don't think we should be so eager to send our tax money out of state.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

once again the city wants to go with the "better known" guy, even though they have not fully investigated them by visiting a site, does this mean that they haven't called references as well? Going with the New York firm means dollars end up out of state. This is just like spending a boat load of money on a stupid water sculture when they could have gone with a state artist for less money. And can't they find a michigan firm to handle the parking collections? that goes to a NY firm as well. I can't believe the Michigan firm isn't being given a chance. Just imagine, they are cheaper and a city like A2 could be thier chance to build up thier reputation, but nooooooo.... maybe city council should pass one of their stupid resolutions, only this time stating their stance on making every effort to give contracts to michigan companies ( I know, a german artist and a ny composter are much more glamorous for this "international" town)

Tony Livingston

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

We do need to outsource. Not because of wages, but because of the retirement benefits that city employees (both union and nonunion)are receiving. Employees are able to leave their jobs in their early 50s with very generous pensions and benefits. They have a lot of working years left and are getting other full time jobs. This is all funded by city of Ann Arbor property taxes and is not sustainable. Ironically, many city employees do not live in the city and pay nothing towards these expenses. In order for me to support any of these workers, I would need to see that the age to take retirement benefits is raised to 62. But there is no incentive for the administration to do this because they are getting the same benefits and don't want it to stop.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

Even if the Michigan Company is more expensive... Most of that money will be used with local businesses. Keep it local Ann Arbor.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:48 a.m.

I bet there is a small group of citizens in Jordan, NY who would be willing to make all the governing decisions for our city for half of what we pay in council salary and benefits. Under proponents' logic, we need to seriously consider this cost-cutting measure.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

What are and how much are the "administrative charges" to the compost operation? How much are the IT charges? What are the costs of the managers and administrators in comparison to the front line employees? Are these "operating" costs taken into account when figuring "costs" of public employees vs paying a private contractor? Is this, once again, a single bidder contract for a company with political connections? The city has a terrible track record for writing contracts with private contractors.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

So an out of state company founded in 1999 is better than a Zeeland company that has been in busines for more than 15 years: Private/public apparently works if you only know "how it works with a city". I think we know how that scenario plays out. Looking at the bids alone, I have a number of questions about the out years of the WeCare proposal.

Basic Bob

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:14 a.m.

"Aside from cutting costs, he said, the operation wouldn't change much." Well, in that case, you better start cutting costs or charging more for your service. While it is acceptable to "lose" some money (I actually think of it as money spent to dispose of the waste), it doesn't seem likely that one could cut _half_ of the total expenses without changing something. The "solid waste coordinator" and his union staff need to get their heads together to figure out how to improve their efficiency. Without a doubt the facility will have to operate with less people.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:12 a.m.

How do we save $550K on four employees? And if we're keeping them on the city payroll, can we really count them as savings? This sounds too good to be true. And how much did we pay for the equipment we'll sell off for $1.2M? Guessing 5x that much? Just askin....


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

LOL...some commenters really do entertain me. No matter what the issue, it's now always a Union's fault. It sounds to me like Ann Arbor took on the task of becoming a retailer and didn't hire the sales staff to make it successful. I wonder what the impact would be if the City retained control of this operation and put staff in charge of sales, which should have been done years ago. I'd like to see a statement from WeCare or any other private company that guarantees they will maintain the quality of the compost. Maybe I'll FOIA that information if it's in their bid.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

Rapundalo for mayor!


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

townie Great points! It seems we never end up with what is promised in this kind of deal.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

The "losses" in the compost operation are largely due to the City's deeply discounted sales of compost to large landscape contractors. These contractors, mostly from outside Ann Arbor, buy our subsidized compost by the gravel-train load for pennies on the dollar. In fact, the City sold so much of this tax-payer, rate-payer-subsidized compost at a loss this year (and well below market rate) that there was none left this Spring for residents to buy (even at the much higher rate they charge individual residents who are subsidizing this service with their taxes and fees). Why is the City selling compost to contractors at a loss and providing compost services to other communities, also at a loss? Is it in order to better make the case for privatization? When the whole compost system was first created many years ago, the premise was to save space in the City's landfill (now closed), or private landfill tipping fees, and to be environmentally responsible. The gravy on top was cheap or even free compost and mulch provided to City residents. As much as it pains me to say so, if we are now providing compost services to other communities at a loss, then selling the product to out-of-city landscape contractors at a loss (with none left for residents), and now, proposing to farm out the whole operation to an out-of-state firm, perhaps it's time to rethink the idea of simply land-filling the material.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:21 a.m.

Why not just contract with China? What a bunch of hypocrites! OK lets assume these savings over 5 years. What happens after 5 years and the cost jumps uncontrollably? At that point we are locked into it because we have sold our equipment. If there anyone naive enough to think this won't bite us in the end the least you could do is give the contract to a Michigan based company!

Bill Sloan

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.

This issue seems to present a wonderful opportunity for our new Governor-elect Rick Snyder to make good on his campaign mantra -- Jobs, jobs, jobs for Michigan. Create a company, if an adequate one isn't already in place, to process the waste for all Michigan communities that require it.

Marvin Face

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Tdw, the huge cost of composting in the City is due to one thing and one thing ONLY. Union.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Ryan Stanton: Here's a link to the Compost analysis - the bid's RFP refers to a point system, but looks like a spreadsheet comparison was used. Link: The real story here is the projected 32% increase in "fringe benefits" for all of the Solid Waste dept. over the next 5 years.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

"The bulk of the costs are employee wages and benefits and equipment maintenance costs." and, yes, "The city proposes giving all four employees jobs in other departments to avoid layoffs." But in the end, it's the same as most privatization schemes: We take the jobs away from the union so that the actual workers will get paid less, and a private company can take the difference in profits. In return, we lose control over the operation, and in the end will be subject to whatever pricing private companies charge. Well, if you're going to sell off the city piece by piece, at least do your homework really well before deciding who to sell it to.

Marshall Applewhite

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

I absolutely INSIST that my compost is created with union labor. My flowers know the difference! By my estimation, the mere presence of a "compost union" makes my flowers 250% more beautiful!! I don't care about tax increases, balancing the budget, or cutbacks in city services. The only thing I care about is that my compost is union made.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

"Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, asked why city staff wasn't considering the Michigan-based company's proposal," Council did the exact same thing when they chose the multi million dollar Etrakit software system (of which the service and maintenance costs continue to rise) over the software they already owned from BS&A, an Okemos based company for a software package costing far far less $$.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:03 a.m.

I don't live in Ann Arbor so it's really none of my business but why does it cost so much and what is an out of state company ( business or what ever )doing that makes is so much cheaper? I thought the doing bussiness locally was the big thing these days


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 6:31 a.m.

I dont believe the City's money woes after claiming to be in the hole months ago borrowing money from the dda then donating 2 million to charity a month later


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 6:30 a.m.

City council - we're not about money, we're about "feelings". And so what would this mean for the huge FAIL known as our new "leaf management program"?