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Posted on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

Ann Arbor parks millage renewal wins big with 68.8% voter approval

By Ryan J. Stanton

This story has been updated.

With all the issues crowding Tuesday's ballot, supporters of the city of Ann Arbor's parks millage renewal were hoping their issue wouldn't be lost.

It turns out it wasn't.

The millage had 68.8 percent voter approval. The final vote tally was 34,959-16,123.


First Ward resident Ingrid Ault, who started the Friends of the Parks campaign, said Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, designed these signs.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The parks millage is a six-year property tax levy of 1.1 mills last approved by Ann Arbor voters with 60 percent of the vote in 2006. Voter approval was required to keep the $5 million in annual revenue from the tax flowing to the city's parks department through 2018.

The city estimates the tax costs the average homeowner with a taxable value of $108,600 about $119 a year or slightly less than $10 per month.

The city's parks and recreation staff several months ago launched a web page dedicated to providing information about the parks millage renewal at

More recently, Ann Arbor resident Ingrid Ault formed a group called Friends of the Parks, which has been distributing yard signs and promoting the millage renewal on a new blog and elsewhere. The millage accounts for 45 percent of the city's parks budget.

Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager, said Ann Arbor has had a parks millage since the 1980s.

According to data provided by the city, between 60 percent and 80 percent of the annual millage funds support city park maintenance activities, including forestry and horticulture, natural area preservation, park operations, park equipment repairs and park security.

Between 20 percent and 40 percent of the annual millage funds support capital improvements in the following areas: active parks, forestry and horticulture, historic preservation, neighborhood parks and urban plazas, pathways, trails, boardwalks, greenways and the Huron River watershed, recreation facilities, and park equipment acquisitions.

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.



Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

The greatest drain on the budget are the heavily subsidized golf courses. I'm not sure that's value added.

Ingrid Ault

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Thank you Ann Arbor for continuing to fund our parks!


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

this one was a no brainier. we need it renewed and people were smart enough to see it. thank you ann arbor for keeping this going..


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

What is the difference between this result and the ballots for art and library millages? I'd suggest that it is a value proposition: Voters are willing to spend money when spending money makes sense. Library bond supporters should note that voters supported this millage -- at a higher cost to the taxpaying checkbook than the library demolition/reconstruction -- because there is value here. We view this as a responsible use of our money. We see real benefit from this investment. It is not glamorous, monumental, or comparable to Seattle or Denver, but it does make sense.