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Posted on Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor officials working on plan to reduce layoffs in police and fire departments, mayor says

By Ryan J. Stanton


Wesley Prater, who served 25 years in the Ann Arbor Fire Department, warned against proposed cuts to fire department staffing levels at Monday's City Council meeting. "The current fire department staffing is inadequate. The recommended national standards are not met," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Mayor John Hieftje now says he and other Ann Arbor officials are working on a plan to reduce the number of layoffs in the police and fire departments.

Hieftje announced the news at Monday's Ann Arbor City Council meeting, saying it looks like the city may be able to avoid at least one of five police officer layoffs — and three of five firefighter layoffs — in the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Hieftje said the police and fire unions then could avoid any remaining layoffs by agreeing to bring their health care benefits in line with plans offered to the city's nonunion employees, most of whom pay a portion of their insurance premiums.

However, a number of other positions in public safety — many of them vacant — still are proposed for elimination. In all, the administrator's two-year budget that was unveiled last month included cutting 25 positions in police and 12 positions in fire.

No final decisions were made Monday night. With financial issues surrounding the Downtown Development Authority still unresolved, council members adjourned the meeting and decided they'll pick up where they left off on the budget at 7 p.m. next Monday.


Several Ann Arbor firefighters attended Monday's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

News that city officials are working to minimize cuts to public safety didn't stop several residents from stepping up to the podium and speaking during Monday's meeting.

Wendy Woods, a member of the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and former City Council member, said she was "extremely concerned" about police and fire staffing levels.

"Don't cut the fire department. Don't cut the police department. Please keep our residents safe," Woods told council members.

Resident Lisa Dusseau told council members she was "outraged" over what she considered "reckless cuts" to fire services.

"Increased cuts will turn our professional fire service into a surround-and-drown department," she said. "This is not the level of service I expect and pay for."

Citing statistics that show fatal fires have increased in Ann Arbor since deep cuts were made to the department, Dusseau asked: "How many more people have to die or are injured before enough is enough? To me, there is no acceptable number."

Resident James D'Amour told council members he and his wife might not be alive today if not for the Ann Arbor Fire Department. Twelve years ago, D'Amour said, their lives were put at risk by "careless neighbors" who started a fire in an apartment beneath them.

"To make a long story short, without some of the people here in this room, I know for a fact my wife wouldn't be alive now," D'Amour said, pointing to the many Ann Arbor firefighters who filled the council chambers. "There's a pretty good chance I may not have been as well."

Stephen Ranzini, president of University Bank in Ann Arbor, said he and his family already fear for their safety in Ann Arbor with current police and fire staffing levels.

"There is only one ladder truck in the city capable of rescuing my family from the 10-story downtown building we live in," he said. "If that ladder truck is responding to another call to cover for a closed fire station in another part of the city, my wife and I and my children will die. We can't jump to safety. This kind of plan is irresponsible."

Ranzini said he's combed over the city's audits and can't figure out why the city doesn't tap into some of the more than $100 million in cash reserves it has on hand.

"We aren't just having a rainy day, but a financial hurricane," Ranzini said. "What is the $103 million rainy day fund for but times like now?"


Mayor John Hieftje said he's working on a plan to reduce layoffs in police and fire.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer and interim city administrator, said he doesn't believe it's accurate to say the city has $103 million at its disposal. He and the mayor both cautioned it's illegal in many cases to move funds from one so-called bucket to another because different funds are intended for different purposes.

Ranzini argued the city is savvy enough to find a way to use the money it has to avoid cuts to public safety that could have drastic consequences. He pointed out the city regularly taps the DDA's buckets by siphoning off parking system revenue to help augment the general fund.

"Let's drain the buckets," he said. "Persisting with the fiction of the various buckets enables claims of poverty, which are easily seen through by those with financial budgeting experience."

The council also heard from Fred Veigel and Wesley Prater, president and vice president, respectively, of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council AFL-CIO.

"To some of your comments, with all due respect, I say balderdash," Veigel told council members. "Funds can be borrowed from different departments. Borrowed, I said. Not taken away, but with an IOU type of thing."

Crawford cautioned against borrowing money, saying the avoidance of short-term solutions is one reason why Ann Arbor is financially better off than other cities. It's imperative that the council make permanent structural reductions, he said.

Veigel urged council members to consider selling the two city golf courses that are costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Or better yet, he said, let the Washtenaw County parks and recreation department take over their operations.

Prater, a Washtenaw County commissioner who worked for 25 years at the Ann Arbor Fire Department, said the staffing levels are inadequate and response times are lagging.

"Further reductions will make it impossible to answer more than one house fire or multiple family emergencies at one time," he said. "If an alarm occurs during this time, it will require mutual aid from communities to answer these calls, which will be longer than eight minutes."

Hieftje invited Police Chief Barnett Jones to the podium to dispute suggestions that the fire department is understaffed or struggling to meet national response time standards.

"When you take a look at some of the reports we have on file, you'll see that our firefighters are getting there in the appropriate time from anywhere in the city," Jones said.

City officials said they expect to hear the results of a paid consultant's study of fire department staffing levels sometime in July, after the cuts take effect. Donald James, a retired assistant fire chief for Miami-Dade County in Florida, is the lead consultant on the project.

Woods urged Hieftje and council members to work to improve strained relations with the police and fire departments. She said city hall and the fire department headquarters are only separated by a single street, "but you would think that it was the Grand Canyon."


Ann Arbor resident Stephen Ranzini, president of University Bank, addresses the City Council Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, pointed out the city and union remain at odds in labor negotiations. He said the firefighters filed a petition in March to take the unresolved labor dispute through a Public Act 312 binding arbitration process.

"Despite the pendency of that proceeding, the city continues to meet with the firefighters in hope that a new contract can be reached, and I certainly hope that cooler heads will prevail and that we can come to an understanding," Rapundalo said.

Council Member Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward, argued there's room elsewhere in the budget to cut. He pointed out the city is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the next two years on additional renovations inside city hall.

"In these dire times, if we don't need the amount of work done at this particular time and we can wait on it, I'd rather see us wait," he said.

Noting that other governments are revising revenue forecasts, Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, wondered if Ann Arbor's revenue projections might change before next week. Crawford said the projections showing a $2.4 million deficit in next year's general fund budget are still "pretty solid" and unlikely to change.

But other governments are seeing changes. State officials agreed Monday at a revenue estimating conference that Michigan will end this fiscal year with more than $429 million in unanticipated revenue, and nearly $500 million more next fiscal year.

Washtenaw County's projected deficit also has dropped by $3.4 million thanks to a less-than-expected drop in property tax revenues.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Fri, May 20, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

This string looks pretty done but will add this just in case: Lets get down to 'brass tacks': Prposed Budget 2012, page 117 has Full Time Equivalent by Service Area. Compare FY 2011 to FY 2012: 20 of the 29 FTE cuts proposed are to Police and Fire, 13 and 7 respectively, or 7% and 8%. Lets see how the other departments match up.... City Attorney reduces by 4% but less than 1 person. With less police shouldnt we need less Attorney's? City Adminstration reduces by less than 1, and 1.6%. We can cut 20 from public safety but less than 1 from Admin?? Ironic isn't the correct word considering Admn draws up the budget. Community Services adds 1. Probably need more community service in tough times. Financial Services reduces by 3, or 6%...nearly the Public Satefy cuts but not quite. Public Services reduces by 7, or 2.5%. The largest FTE area by the way NOT Public Safety as often cited by Admn. 15th District Court, reduces by 1, or 3%. Retirement and DDA flat at 4 and 3 respectively. So, 2 points: Lets call a political football when we see it: Leading with biggest cuts to departments that will get most vocal opposition. Charitable view of that is Mayor and Council can then back off due to public outcry and know that going in... Secondly, assuming we really need FTE cuts this is really upside down. Admn, Finance, largest unit, should be leading the way not a fraction of public safety.

Cendra Lynn

Wed, May 18, 2011 : 5:42 a.m.

Not only are we, the residents, unsafe. The firefighters and police are unsafe as well. Firefighters are easily injured. Read the reports on their injuries at recent fires. They work in teams and protect each other and if there are not enough of them, their work becomes even more dangerous. The same is true for the police. A "cop in trouble" call will get every available officer racing to their aid. If there are too few police, aid may not come in time. We ask these brave people to put their lives on the line to protect us. They take great pride in doing so. They are professionals and should be paid as such. It has already been demonstrated clearly by a local accountant that money is available for public safety. Karen Sidney is an attorney and CPA. She has an expertise in forensic accounting, which is the art of finding out where the money is going when people can't or won't tell you. She has written a Budget Newsletter outlining how money could be re-allocated and where it is being wasted. A2Com has studiously taken no notice of this.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

I just want to say I appreciate all the residents that spoke at the city council meeting on Monday. I appreciate city council and the mayor working toward prioritizing appropriately. To that end I would suggest consolidating purchases such as a $273,000 street sweeper with nearby communities, and, foregoing financing more studies - particularly those that cost $208,000 and purport to (among other things) improve communications with the public.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Consolidate the two departments.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

There is no reason if members of these two departments really want to avoid layoffs and cuts, that they can't pay part of the premium for their health care and other benefits. Many people in the private (and Federal) sectors pay a third of their health care premiums - ON TOP of the co-pays for doctor appointments and prescriptions. Totally unfair that so many of us who spend our wages for that, and being the tax payers, have to subsidize the free ride these employees get. Where are the 401K plans they and all city employees could contribute to for retirement as well? But most irksome - how many un-necessary fire trucks show up for every 911 ambulance call when only the latter is needed. This is a waste of our money, fire trucks, gas, and supposed "man power". For a heart attack or minor fender bender? C'mon, we don't need fire fighters for this! And have not statistics shown that crime is DOWN in A2 compared to previous periods or years? Oh! If only I could hop on that gravy train too! A free ride at that!


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

Cici you don't know what you are talking unless you know the facts don't complain.....


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:59 a.m.

I don't want to sound too dramatic, but I need whoever can get to me first at my heart attack.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

I think the police and fire departments should just walk away from the city altogether. Some of you do not appreciate the fact that these people give their LIFE for you. Every day! Do you honestly think the city is that safe that you don't need these people, or that there are enough of them? Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. Let's ask the young woman who was brutally murdered in the video store several years ago, or the people caught in recent bank robberies, the stabbings, street fights, not to mention those that died in fires. How does the general public know what the city has asked for in contract negotiations for FF or PD? How do you know it's fair? Do people really feel that fire and police truly only get hurt once in awhile? Man. I've got some land in Ann Arbor (that the city owns) to sell you. Some say the health insurance should be equitable to all city employees. Public safety is at greater risk of serious injury and death EVERY DAY! Do you really feel they should risk their health and life if they don't feel they or their families will be taken care of? Some say, "they knew it was dangerous when they signed up." Well thank goodness someone isn't naiive! Does that mean we should be ungrateful? Who else is willing to lay their life down other than our military? Come on. The city doesn't need to buy one more piece of property, spend money on one more golf course, or buy one more $400,000 truck. If you think the criminals inside and out of the city aren't paying attention, think again. If we want the city to retain its inviting atmosphere, draw businesses, students, and flourish, keep it safe! Get rid of the things we can do without, and hold on tight to the things we need. I agree, Ranzini should run for office!


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.

Well...when I wear my seatbelt. : )


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

Even with a fireman and police officer assigned to every resident something bad would still happen. Life is tough, do things to lessen your own risk, get a gun and learn how to use it while you still can, take a class on self defense, keep a fire extinguisher in your house, wear your seatbelt. Are you feeling safer yet?


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

That's right Cici. The nurses who are exposed to these same kind of risks as the firefighters and police officers should be getting complete health care benefits also.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

Oh! Such DRAMA! Read my reply ro Ricebrnr above! Our health care workers put themselves on the line every minute and hour they handle a specimen, draw blood, and work with patients with communicable diseases, even by just breathing, etc. Those in such occupations are only ONE group. Employees in MANY occupations put their lives on the line in their job - and some don't have much choice these days what job they can get, much less have any Cadillac benefits, or any at all for that matter.

rusty shackelford

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

How 'relaxed' is Hieftjie feeling after being schooled by both Ranzini and AAFD?

Joslyn at the U

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Would somebody PLEASEEEEEE fir the mayor and city council.........oh and Tom Crawford to. PLEASEEEEEEEE


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

If you look at the turnout figures for primary elections you will have your answer. The few people who can get a couple of hundred voters to the polls have all the power. And since the mayor is perhaps the best at this he gets to rule.

Joslyn at the U

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

If we actually had a Mayor, and city council that did the job and took care of basics maybe people wouldn't have to go to the U begging for a handout. hmmmm? Maybe people should live by the belief that entitlements are something they aren't entitled to? hmmmmm? Maybe if the Mayor , City council , and Tommy Crawford actually did the job they were hired to do you and I wouldn't even be having this conversation. This is just another PRIME example of the inept people we have running our wonderful town. And make no mistakes about it. ANN ARBOR is Great! I love the townies I love the U The AAPD and Fire department are some of the finest folks I have ever had the privilege to meet! But the bureaucrats here are egotistical power welding cartoonish representations of what a real city Government should be. And that's my honest to God opinion. Thank you


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

How about you asking your money bags administration at the U to contribute some money to assist. The city provides much more to the U than it receives.

Joslyn at the U

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.


Joslyn at the U

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

I have a budget plan! ooh ooh pick me pick me! (hand waving in the air) Quit wasting money on bullcrap and take care of basics......jeez O pete

John A2

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Ann Arbor, the city of trees holds thousands of acres of prime property in the huge parks. Why can't we sell off a few acres and save the vital jobs of the city? The parks are nice but life is nicer. Beside there are too many homeless people that need housing. Make a deal with the buyers that they will build low income housing. I know the value of A2 property. UofM should open a fire department too and hire all the firemen back. If the UofM can keep building, they can afford a fire department. We can also charge the well established university for police and fire departments. They have the money to squander on adding seats to the stadium just for they can call it the biggest, so why can't they help with our fire department. Also we should cut all city wages to below $100,000 a year and keep a raise cap on it. There's too many people living in A2 who are at poverty to try to afford these high cost employees. Placing a price on our lives is a serious mistake, and could lead to something more serious down the road.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

UofM has their own police department so why would they be charged for police services, secondly its not the University's fault that Ann Arbor has continued to elect a mayor who is so far removed from reality that he can continue to blame police and firefighters for problems his administration has failed to address in a responsible manner. Ann Arbor's mayor plays games with public safety, he not only should be ashamed of himself but he should be recalled from office.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

I think you need to educate yourself regarding the city, the university, and core concepts of real estate and urban planning.

Jack Eaton

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Parkland is an asset that keeps our property values high and adds to the quality of life in our small college town. According to the City's web site, Ann Arbor has about 2,088 acres of parks. With a population of about 109,000, that means we have about 19 acres of park per 1,000 residents. A comparison to other cities: Los Angeles - 8 acres per 1,000 population Ann Arbor - 19 acres per 1,000 Portland - 26 acres per 1,000 San Diego - 31 acres per 1,000 The idea that we have too much parkland is a myth. The idea that we cannot afford both our park system and our essential safety services is political theater. In a $77 million dollar budget, we can find a million dollars to maintain our safety services, if we place a high priority on keeping our community safe.

Kai Petainen

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

forbes blog/article here, mentions of safety/AAFD in Ann Arbor: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Can't believe I fell for it. Duped into reading yet another article on a year old spill. Give it up already. Only one person in AA cares.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

I keep hearing about bringing Safety Service personnell health benefits in line with other city employees. How many and what other city employees have gun shot wounds, smoke inhalation and other on the job likely injuries that cause chronic and long term health issues as part of their daily and lasting health concerns? One of the top reasons for personal bankruptcy in the US is due to medical reasons. Add that to the city already having precedence of taking such give backs and continuing with cuts, well why should either union bargain in good faith? There is no faith in the city.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

The average life expectency of police officers and firefighters is only 68.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

I couldn't help but notice the same thing, Concerned. Thank you Cici for pointing out those dangers that nurses, firefighters, and police officers deal with on their job.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

Cici, due to the fact that firefighters and police respond to the same type of medical calls you described they are just as subseptable as hospital staff.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

I would say those working in health care - in our labs, those in patient contact, and as nurses, have a much higher occupational risk: From inhalation (TB, H1N1, flu) and wounds (needle sticks) - hepatitis, HIV, etc. How many firemen and police officers, are at such risk every minute and hour they are at &quot;work&quot;? I would take a gun shot wound over a serious needle stick from an AIDS or hapatitis patient - the latter could well be much more lasting, more dangerous or fatal. Occupational risks are not limited to FF and the police. And no, I do not work in a hospital, but I've known those who have and severely and permanently injured from such hazards.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

You insinuate that FF and PD suffer from smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds. Far from the truth. I have been in Ann Arbor for over 45 years and only recall a couple wounded officers. There may be more smoke inhalation but what about injuries suffered by other employees while on the job. Why should one pay a co-pay and not the other? The ff and pd unions have held the benefit bat since the late 70's. Get out an Ann Arbor Snews and read about.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

You keep intimating that you know so much more than others and that we need to brush up or educate ourselves as to the facts. If you know so much, how about some citations? Point us in the right direction. Teach, put up or...


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

You certainly need to brush up on your knowledge of how the unions and city have negotiated over the past 35 years. All jobs have certain aspects that may be dangerous. People have a choice to enter a given profession. The job one has should not dictate whether or not they pay a fare share co-pay. The whole idea of health care is to assist employees in reducing the cost and burden associated with illness and work related injuries.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Everybody wants the protection of police and fire departments, but nobody wants to pay for them. It's a &quot;double-whammy&quot; situation. When the government cuts aid to indigent people, crime increases because people have to eat and have to have a roof over their head. Not only that, but the poor become extremely angry; this increases crime, too. If you want to be really scared about what is going on, talk to a homeless person. In the old days, most homeless people seemed to be, for the lack of a more comprehensive term, &quot;really messed up.&quot; In the last five years or so, a lot of people who are homeless are just like &quot;us.&quot; If the current situation gets much worse, people will eventually feel like they have nothing left to lose, because they won't. A desperate society is a dangerous society. Society's &quot;haves&quot; can't say &quot;let them eat cake&quot; forever. Eventually, there will be a social upheaval. The only question is the extent of the damage.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

&quot;Resident Lisa Dusseau told council members she was &quot;outraged&quot; over what she considered &quot;reckless cuts&quot; to fire services.&quot; More like &quot;reckless&quot; grandstanding by Lisa ,Fred,Wes and Stephen Ranzini. The city has shown if the union employees will agree to healthcare changes that mirror other city employees, the cuts can be reduced 80%. Good Day


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

I agree. Increase their pay, and cut their health care benefits. I think some police officers could use the extra money to pay their outstanding medical bills.

glenn thompson

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:41 p.m. failed to report on the appropriation of funds and the purchase of a $400,000 truck at last nights council meeting. Placing this on the same agenda with cutting police and fire personnel was poor political judgment. It demonstrated that there are funds available. Approving the purchase demonstrated that Council will continue to purchase toys as it cuts safety services. That was a political slap in the face to the citizens that attended the Council meeting and argued against safety service cuts. The truck? It seems Saginaw Twp purchased one a few weeks ago and an Ann Arbor Administrator has truck envy. The one Saginaw Twp replaced was 17 years old. The one Ann Arbor feels it must replace is only 7.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

What kind of truck is it???

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

You must have missed this: <a href=""></a>


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

As the world turns, or Ann Arbor, here we go again. Now FF and PD have gone to the well and are drumming up support over response times and fear. How about FF and PD pay a fare share co-pay toward their benefits and end all this junk. The gravy train free ride has got to end. How about another comparison that shows the level of co-pay toward benefits in similar cities such as the FF per capita one that ran recently. Maybe there is a direct correlation between the number of FF's and PD a city can afford and the amount those employees pay toward benefits.

Jack Eaton

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

At the beginning of the meeting the Mayor engaged in a long soliloquy, as if in response to arguments someone had made. I assume he was responding to the Budget Newsletter being circulated in the community, that offers suggestions on how to find funding for the public safety services the city says we cannot afford. If you have not seen that newsletter, it can be found here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Funding safety services is a question of priorities. If Council does not place a high priority on your safety, what does it think is important?

glenn thompson

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

A shiney new truck. Council demonstrated the priorities last night.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

If we've got it we should spend it to keep all of us safe. Raise parking rates like Royal Oak just did, implement a city wide income tax, charge a fee for every business that wants the privelege of working in this great city, put tolls on the roads leading into the city. It's always fire and police cut first. Why? Because you'll pay more money for that and the politicians know it. As Barnum and Bailey used to say, &quot;there's a sucker born avery minute&quot;.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

Wait a minute here...isn't this article from 2010? Hmmmm...Deja vu all over again.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

Give us this day our daily firefighter story.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:06 a.m.

Funny! But, it's news that is important to a lot of people in our community.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

They should be called &quot;shells&quot;, not buckets. As in &quot;shell game&quot;. $100M in the bank and putting the residents in danger? That's insane. Gee, I wonder if the mayor's change of heart has anything to do with the recent articles on staffing and response times. Good job


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

&quot;Let's drain the buckets,&quot; he said. &quot;Persisting with the fiction of the various buckets enables claims of poverty, which are easily seen through by those with financial budgeting experience.&quot; This is THE common sense strategy. Creating a bucket insures that a special interest is mollified politically while insulating elected officals from being responsible for their choices. It is also a fine way of 'hiding' money from unions during bargaining. Bargain openly. Negotiate for benefit reductions.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

The Michigan Municipal League advises that the best practice for units of government is to hold a &quot;rainy day fund&quot; of 15% of annual revenues, which in the case of Ann Arbor, according to the FY2010 Comprehensive Annual Fiancial Report (CAFR) is 15% times $184.2 million, or $27.6 million (see page 14). Page 10 states &quot;$103,726,801 is unrestricted and may be used to meet the government's ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors, subject to the purpose of the fund in which they are located. This balance is comprised of $43,955,179 in government activities and $59,771,622 in business-type activities.&quot;. The general fund is the &quot;government activities portion of the financial statement, while things like the waste water treatment plant are in the business-type activities portion of the financials, according to page 4. The city owns a dozen corporations which are included in the business-type activities, including the DDA. If the businesses the city owns don't need all the money ($59.8 million), they should release those funds to the general fund. At any rate, the rainy day fund is larger (at $43.9 million) than required ($27.6 million). As I stated, what's the rainy day fund for, we're already in a state-wide financial hurricane!

rusty shackelford

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Run for mayor. You would win. You just made more financial sense (here and in speech cited above) in 24 hours than Hieftje has in a decade.