Ann Arbor city charter amendments pass muster with voters
Ann Arbor voters on Tuesday approved two ballot proposals that will ease city charter restrictions and allow city staff to publish ordinances and notices on the city’s Web site instead of in a newspaper.
With 98 percent of precincts reported, Proposal A passed by 10,189-7,944 (56 percent), while Proposal B passed by 9,730-8,287 (54 percent).
With the closing of The Ann Arbor News in July, city officials sought alternative methods of providing the public with important information. The city charter had required changes to city code or notices of proposed zoning amendments be published in a "newspaper of general circulation," but the Washtenaw Legal News is the only publication that fits that description in Ann Arbor.
The passage of Proposal A allows city staff to publish approved ordinances within 10 days after enactment either in a newspaper of general circulation, by posting to the city’s Web site or by any other means or method determined appropriate by the City Council. In cases of ordinances longer than 500 words, a summary may be published and copies of the full text would be available at city hall.
The passage of Proposal B allows the city to publish notices of proposed zoning ordinances and amendments in newspapers of general circulation or any other media otherwise permitted by law.
The Michigan Press Association spent more than $46,000 on a campaign urging Ann Arbor residents to defeat the two proposals. It claimed their passage would impact the public's right to know how local government operates.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529.