Milan opts out of new transit authority; Dexter vote planned for November
After a lively discussion, the Milan City Council joined the vast majority of municipalities in Washtenaw County in its 4-3 vote to opt out of a new countywide transportation authority at a recent meeting.
That leaves the village of Dexter and the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti as the remaining three municipalities that have not yet voted on participating in an organization whose creation was initiated by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.
The new authority is all-inclusive unless a municipality votes to opt out, as 21 of the municipalities in the county already have done. Saline and Ypsilanti Township have passed official resolutions expressing their desire to participate in the transit authority.
Milan Mayor Kym Muckler and council members Dominic Hamden, Michael Armitage, Doug Gilson voted against joining the countywide transit authority, while council members Martha Churchill, Brett Moyer and Michael Williams voted for it during the body’s Monday night meeting.
Benjamin Swayze, administrator for the city of Milan, said all of the council members voiced their support for countywide transit. However, the consensus among the four members who voted against joining the new Washtenaw Ride authority was that the plan provided by AATA was lacking details.
As most of the major decisions regarding the footprint of the new authority and the millage rate will not be decided until after the opt out period the AATA has extended to Dec. 12, members of the Milan council were not ready to commit to the unknown, Swayze said.
“If there was more guarantee in the plan, it would have passed,” Swayze said.
After the AATA voted to incorporate the new transit authority in early October, every municipality in Washtenaw County was included in it and had a seat on the new Act 196 board by nature of the articles of incorporation.
Cities and townships were given a 30-day period to communicate to the AATA if they wanted to opt out of the new transit authority, which the AATA has extended to Dec. 12.
The AATA had suggested a proposed tax for participating municipalities of 0.584 mills to fund the new transportation authority. Under that rate, the city of Milan would have contributed about $98,000.
Milan currently does not have a contract for services with the AATA. It previously had a public transportation department, which closed in 2007.
Swayze said Milan may be interested in a contract for transportation services in the future, but the city’s budget currently cannot accommodate the payment without making a cut to another department.
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti both were members of the four-party agreement to help the AATA form the new transportation authority, and do not have votes planned on their involvement. The Dexter Village Council is planning to vote on whether it wants to stay in the authority at its Nov. 12 meeting.