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Posted on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Ann Arbor council members working on plans to increase police and fire staffing

By Ryan J. Stanton

With the proposed budget for next fiscal year out of the city administrator's hands, Ann Arbor City Council members are now working on fine-tuning the final plan.

They may increase police and fire staffing beyond what the administrator's budget shows, according to an email Council Member Christopher Taylor sent to constituents.

"As we have discussed in the past, Ann Arbor demands the best safety services it can afford," Taylor, D-3rd Ward, wrote in the email. "In years past, with double-digit revenue reductions and limited cost accommodations, these services have suffered cuts."


Council Members Jane Lumm, left, and Christopher Taylor both are alluding to plans to increase public safety staffing in the 2012-13 budget.

Ryan J. Stanton |

This year, Taylor said, with stabilized economic conditions, changes to state law and some union cooperation, "we are able to staunch the bleeding and rebuild."

"I believe that some council members are developing plans to further increase police and/or fire personnel," Taylor wrote in his email. "I will of course consider these proposals carefully. We all want more robust safety services, but it is vital that we continue to practice prudent financial management, that we avoid spend-now, fund-later budgeting."

City Administrator Steve Powers proposed a budget plan earlier this month that avoids nine planned layoffs in the police department and adds one full-time officer position, while also funding a new police recruit program that will add up to five part-time officers.

Part of the plan is to increase police presence downtown.

The city administrator's budget plan also holds the line on staffing in the fire department, avoiding five previously planned layoffs.

Council Members Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, and Jane Lumm, an Independent representing the 2nd Ward, are among the council members working on plans to increase staffing.

Lumm said she believes the city should start the 2012-13 fiscal year on July 1 on a three-year path to increase the number of uniformed police officers by 32 — from today's 118 to a "magic number" of 150, which she said was identified by the police chief.

In addition to the positions already included in the administrator's budget plan, Lumm said she will be working to identify funding for nine more officers next year. She also indicated she'll be working to identify the funding to potentially restore fall leaf pickup services.


Margie Teall

Teall, who has been on council for about a decade, said she's not ruling out the idea of using some of the surplus shown in the administrator's proposed budget to increase staffing in the fire department. The amount Powers proposes socking away would be enough to hire four new firefighters and increase the fire department's full-time employee count from 82 to 86.

Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard has said his "magic number" — where he would like the department to be staffing-wise — is 88.

Teall said she's not ready to release details of her proposal.

"I'm working on a plan that would be ideally sustainable and would also be dependent on some other funding issues," she said on Tuesday afternoon.

The council plans to hold a public hearing on the budget on May 7 and then modify and approve the budget on May 21.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

@Diane: without the original reporting by Ryan Stanton on the fire department's deteriorating response times (and let us not forget that they were denied at the time in a carefully choreographed series of questions and answers between the Mayor and the former Police Chief at a City Council meeting), the public would never have become aware enough of the issue to press City Council to fix it, because the city was doing it's best to cover it up! If our elected leaders choose to ignore the will of the people, or continue to pull the stunt that @InFlight correctly notes has been going on now for almost a year, there are always things like charter amendments and recall elections that we can use to remedy the situation.

In Flight

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:37 a.m.

You folks don't get their game... they won't hire they'll just "budget" for people. If they're so concerned why can't the FD hire the 6 people that are budgeted for? All they're doing is increasing bogus numbers to fool voters into reelecting them.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

About time reality set in.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:14 a.m.

I am very encouraged that so many members of city council now understand that staffing levels were cut too low in the Mayor's "experiment" with public safety. What is different today? You the commenters and voters here have spoken up to demand change! This is a prime example of the power of the press! Thank you for giving us the platform and means to change the political priorities of our city leaders.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

@Diane: perhaps, however see my comment below. If they change their tune after the election, there are other options available to us...


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

WRONG, it's the power of an election!


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:43 a.m.

It's about time and thank you -- I will really say thank you when the new AAFD and AAPD employes are hired.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:06 a.m.

It's election time and Margie Teall is suddenly responsive to complaints of the last two years about gutting police and fire protection? Wow, who saw THAT coming? Lol. Now maybe she can check on her email account and see why she never responds to any of the citizens in the 4th Ward when they attempt to contact her about ANYTHING. We can see right though you Ms. Teall.

anna schnitzr

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 8:30 a.m.

Thank you, AA Council members! You are on the right track now. This is precisely what the majority of the taxpayers want you to do with our money. Everyone I talk to thinks that public safety should be first and foremost on the agenda in Ann Arbor. Please continue to think and vote along these lines until appropriate levels of both police and fire staff levels are finally achieved and we can feel relatively safe in our city again.

Lifelong A2

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

Jane Lumm wants to hire *32* more police officers? How much would that cost, Ryan? Answer: a shocking amount of money that the City certainly doesn't have. Apparently passing Math 101 wasn't a requirement for winning last year's 2nd Ward election...

Jack Eaton

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

LifelongA2, Perhaps you misunderstood what Council Member Lumm said. The article says: "Lumm said she believes the city should start the 2012-13 fiscal year on July 1 on a three-year path to increase the number of uniformed police officers by 32 . . ." As we emerge from the great recession, we need to rebuild our public safety services. We cannot expect to instantly restore police and fire staffing, but as Ms. Lumm advocates, we can start to rebuild. The professionals who run these departments have identified how much staffing we should have and the politicians should put high priority on reaching those levels, over time.

Ron Granger

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

I'm sure this will stop all the complaining about crime.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

This is great news! Ann Arbor needs more officers on the streets! Leaning towards a great decision council!!


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

I read the Newshawks article just before reading this one. Had trouble keeping them straight.

In Flight

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

. Before anyone pats them on the back let's remember the FD is budgeted for 82 now. They only have 76 and king john won't hire the BUDGETED 6. So they can budget for 120 firefighters. If they're not going to place bodies on those trucks they're only paying lip service to get votes.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

Either it's Groundhog Day or Election Day is coming - there has been a reported Margie Teall sighting in Ann Arbor.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Groundhog day. Ten years on the Council and she only appears near elections.

Jack Eaton

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

This is great news! I cannot think of any item in the budget that is more important than public safety. That said, we must insist that the City Council provide at least the level of staffing that the public safety professionals have identified as necessary - - 150 police officers and 88 fire fighters. After former Fire Chief Dominick Lanza left the employ of the City, he warned Council that our fire department was understaffed. Before former Police Chief Barnett Jones, he expressed concern about the adequacy of our police staffing. Restoring public safety is long overdue. But, it is not enough to merely add a few police officers and fire fighters. We need enough officers so that there can be two officers in a patrol car when patrolling at night. While we increase the number of fire fighters, we must also refuse to close more fire stations. Public safety is not glamorous. We will not get an award or appear on a "top ten" list for simply providing essential safety services. But the safety of our City should come before most anything else.

Linda Peck

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Thank you City Council for paying attention to concerns of the citizens and listening to your own inner voices concerning police and fire staffing needs in Ann Arbor. I support your efforts 100%. I wait with anticipation and hope that the staffing for both departments will come up to the levels that are required for safety.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

ROFL --- I smell an election coming if the City Council is now deciding it's time to add to police and fire staffing levels. And to think that Margie Teall is actually showing up to meetings, you know an election is coming soon. Soon, constituent contacts will actually begin to be answered. It's absolutely shocking I tell you! She has been on Council for a decade so she knows how this game works though. Let's show her that after a decade, we've learned from her and vote anybody but Teall for the 4th Ward in November!


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Sounds like a re-prioritization of values could be taking place? "Essential city services" could once again be viewed as essential, and serving. Self-serving black-hole non-essential infrastructure and art projects will hopefully get the boot! How boring for the admin egos! How great for a2 residents!