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Posted on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti forms committee with Ypsilanti Township and EMU to find ways to combine services

By Katrease Stafford

The city of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Eastern Michigan University have created a joint committee to explore ways to collaborate and combine services in an effort to become more efficient.

City Manager Ralph Lange said the collaboration potentially could save money as well as open the doors for state funding in favor of communities who collaborate together.


The city of Ypsilanti is partnering with Ypsilanti Township and EMU to find ways to save money and consolidate services.

Steve Pepple | file photo

"We want to become more efficient and the state is urging us to have these collaborations or innovative ways to save money," Lange said.

The financial incentive to collaborate stems from the funds the city receives through the state's Economic Vitality Incentive Program.

The three categories for the EVIP funding are accountability and transparency, consolidation of services, and employee compensation. Each eligible city or township must submit a certification form and required attachments for each category to qualify for the payment.

According to the state's 2013 list, Ypsilanti is slated to receive $301,158 for the consolidation of services category and the township will receive $144,154.

Altogether, Ypsilanti will receive $903,474 in EVIP funding and the township will get $432,462.

"We can't afford to lose any of this money," Lange said. "... You can get credits for consolidation or working with your neighbors."

Working with neighboring communities has been a priority of the city, but in order to prioritize what's targeted for collaboration, Lange thought the committee might be the best way to eliminate any possible confusion.

Each will create a list of priorities, which will then be whittled down into a list that everyone agrees upon.

"It kind of streamlines the process and explores how many collaborations are out there," Lange said. "To earn EVIP, you have to come up with new collaborations. That's a lot of money for us to lose by not meeting that requirement and that requires a lot of innovative and collective collaboration. There's certainly a lot of advantages to working intergovernmentally."

Ypsilanti will be represented by Council Member Daniel Vogt and Lange; Ypsilanti Township will be represented by Supervisor Brenda Stumbo and two Board of Trustees; and EMU will be represented by Executive Director of the Office of Government and Community Relations Leigh Greden.

"EMU works closely with the city and township on public safety, road, and park issues, and we're pleased to explore additional opportunities," Greden said.

More communities could be brought into the committee, but Lange said he wanted to start the committee off small.

"The collaboration that makes most sense is Ypsilanti, EMU and Ypsilanti Township," Lange said. "We kept it to a small group, not that we wouldn't collaborate with Ann Arbor, but we're so close and intertwined."

The committee has not formally met and that may take place in the next three months, Lange said.

"We'll be very busy on the budget process and finishing other work, but we're going to try to get to that as soon as possible," Lange said.

The city already has collaborated with EMU, when it provided street sweeping services. Lange said the next collaboration could be for the three to figure out the public transportation issue.

"That's a big one," Lange said. "Another one on the horizon, a year or two out, is all of our trash collection contracts are going to expire at the same time."

Initially, the committee's findings will not be made public at a meeting, but at some point, Lange said they would each go back to their respective jurisdictions to get feedback.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Tom Perkins

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

This is great!

Dog Guy

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

If Ypsilanti spent $903,474 in EVIP funding on photocopiers (and the township $432,462), the effort of duplication could be cut. That way the money would not be wasted completely.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Why does a city that governs a mere 3.5 sq. miles of land spend more on copiers than the township that governs 29 sq. miles with double the population? And now the bloated City government that has run out of money wants the Township to pay for their stuff???? Get real.

Katrease Stafford

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Interesting points made so far. What are some instances a collaboration would prove beneficial for all involved? Lange mentioned public transportation as one.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Murph- You are mistaken. The Township pays a large sum for the limited routes that run through a portion of the Township. There's no free ride. The city should pay their own expenses.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

The "public transportation system" should be a county wide system and stop pitting each community against the others. The 2 comments above show this divide clearly. Bus routes that were coordinated with ALL area high school schedules would be a nice start.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

AATA already makes numerous stops on many of their routes in the township for free while the city residents have a millage to help pay for public transportation. It would be nice if everyone in the areas it makes stops could contribute (and that includes Pittsfield Township which probably has the most number stops of anyone) and if not, remove the stops and wait for the uproar from the people that need it in those locations.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Public transportation provide far greater benefits for city residents who have bus service at frequent intervals at their corners. Most of the township is very rural, won't get neighborhood buses, but a millage to pay for transit would collect more than double from township taxpayers than from city residents. We would pay more to get less. The city needs to find a way to pay for their own buses or cut services to a level they can afford.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

This is a horrible idea. It's too bad the City is in the midst of a financial crisis but that is certainly no reason to risk Township funds in a collaborative effort. What happens to a collaborative fire department when the city runs out of money to pay firefighter salaries? Why put township residents in danger because of poor management of City funds?

michael Limmer

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Please understand that the city sends their firefighters out to help the township much more than the township helps the city. The idea that we live in the 1950's and Michigan is one of the richest states in the nation must be put into the dustbin of history. The area governments can only by consolidating services at all levels, including supervisory positions. As state funding continues to decrease to provide welfare for corporations, the various governmental agencies must continue to merge and gain efficiencies through combining. While some in the townships may enjoy the pain that the city has over poor financial decisions, overall, a run down city will only hurt township property values, schools and chances for rebuilding the entire area.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Judging from previous articles on this topic, it doesn't look like the City is interested in combining fire departments which is unfortunate and maybe it will change with this committee. That is a much better route than trying to train police officers to put out fires.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Township residents - please pay attention. This is how it goes. Township pays double and receives back only half of what is given the city. ROI- $301K for City, $144K for Township. There has never been a collaboration with the City that was equitable for the Township. Please call board members and tell them not to use our tax dollars to bail out the City.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

This is an excellent initiative. By working together, the quality of services delivered to the public can be maintained or even enhanced, at a lower cost while creating and leveraging efficiencies. Some services should be performed and administered county wide and hopefully over time the collaborative group will be expanded.