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Posted on Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

City Council preview: Public hearing set for Monday on Ann Arbor's $405M city budget

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor residents will have a chance to weigh in on the city's proposed budget for next fiscal year during a public hearing tonight.

The Ann Arbor City Council is holding the hearing during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. inside city hall, 301 E. Huron St. Speakers do not need to sign up in advance.


The council is expected to vote later this month to approve a $405 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

That includes a general fund budget with $79.2 million in recurring revenues and $78.9 million in total expenditures.

General fund recurring expenditures are decreasing by $500,266 and recurring revenues are increasing by $1.2 million, according to the budget resolution.

Some council members have indicated they're interested in amending the budget to add more police and fire positions, but details of those proposals haven't been released yet.

The budget as proposed by City Administrator Steve Powers in April would avoid layoffs in the fire department and increase the number of police officers on staff.

The budget resolution shows a decrease of 18 positions in the police department only because the city recently outsourced police dispatch services to Washtenaw County.

The city plans to levy 16.57 mills worth of property taxes in fiscal year 2012-13, which is a slight increase from the 16.47 mills levied in 2011-12. The increase is because city voters in November approved a new sidewalk millage that's now being levied.

In addition to tonight's public hearing, 1st Ward Council Members Sabra Briere and Sandi Smith are inviting residents to a community discussion about city issues, including the budget, taking place from 7:30-9 p.m. Tuesday at the Northside Grill, 1015 Broadway St.

According to the event flier, topics include human services funding, downtown police patrols, fire department reorganization plans, Main Street from Summit to M-14, Huron River parks, a Newport Road pedestrian path and the proposed Wall Street parking structure.

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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.



Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

I just tried the link -- just a static image. What gives?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Cutting taxes until government can't operate will make plain a real and growing distinction between the haves and the have nots. The Haves will end up with greatly lower taxes but be able to buy private safety and community services, private schools and more insurance in their gated communities, of which several surround Ann Arbor. The have nots will struggle thru on decreased public services, greatly decreased public safety protection, (call boxes?) fewer and underfunded schools in their communities. It's already happening and is the intent and result of the Grover Norquist bottom feeders.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

Can someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but to me it looks like out of $405 million the city is only spending less than 10% on public safety. If that is so then perhaps they should look at the rising crime rate in the city and the major dissatisfaction of many Ann Arbor residents with the perceived lack of police and fire services. Rather than being a percieved lack of services it seems to me that with less than 10% of the total budget being spent on public safety we will have an actual, verifiable lack of services. Government is supported by taxpayers to provide services that individuals struggle to provide on their own, i.e.: police, fire, clean water, schools, roads, etc. Public art, "Justice" buildings, nepotism, and buying farm land to turn it into a "Greenbelt" that no one else can use do not really help the public as much as being safe, having our children well educated, and having roads that are actually driveable. Keep up the foolishness A2; you are well on your way to ending up like Detroit! It'll take 20 or 30 years but you are repeating a time honored formula! Hey that gives me a great idea for public art; Detroit is so under water that maybe they will sell us the FIST! It could go right in the new city building the taxpayers paid so much for. We need a big metal fist to remind our glorious leaders how they need to rule us!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

You are missing something, but it's not your fault. You're just falling into the trap the city is setting. They take other items out of the general fund and create different 'buckets' for them, leaving police and fire in there. The percentage goes up, but not the actual dollars. I.e. If you have 'budget items' each at $0.25 (call them A, B, C, and D) and they make up the general fund, then each one takes up 25% of the fund. Take out C and D and create their own buckets leaving A & B (Police & Fire) still in the original general fund. Now the general fund is $0.50 and police and fire take up a whopping 50% of the fund! Did the expenditures change? Nope... it's and Enron type accounting they use to make the public think they're spending a ton more on safety services.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Am I missing something? It looks like 48% of general fund expenditures are going to "safety services". How much of the city budget is the general fund?

say it plain

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Wow. if it really is that little, it is very little indeed!