Ypsi Mayor proposes $140,000 cut to Police and Fire to pay for bus service (Update1)

April 20, 2008 by  
Filed under News

Cuts could mean eliminating two police officers to pay for buses

(April 20, 2008) The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) has told Ypsilanti City officials that the City must fully fund their annual contribution for bus service in Ypsilanti or face elimination of routes and cuts in service. AATA has told the city that their share for bus service is nearly $276,000 a year. The City is currently paying about half that amount, about $134,000.

On Tuesday, April 15, 2008, Mayor Paul Schreiber (Dem) in his remarks to the Council said the city must fully fund AATA bus service in Ypsilanti. Schreiber told the rest of City Council the public safety budget for Ypsilanti police and fire is $7.5 million annually. Schreiber said, if they took the worst case scenario, police and fire would be reduced by 2% to fully fund buses.

Bill Nickels (Dem, Ward 2) said that reducing police by $140,000 is the equivalent of eliminating two police officers.

Schreiber asked the council, “Is losing half of the bus service worth losing a fraction of the police force? It is a matter of priority.”

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber tells council they must fully fund bus service in Ypsilanti, even if it means cutting police and fire. (Schreiber is in the red shirt)

Lois Richardson (Dem, Ward 1) asked how much money would AATA lose in other funding if AATA cut service in Ypsilanti? Richardson, answering her own question said, “AATA hasn’t told us.”

After the meeting, Nickels said that he is not in favor of fully funding bus service it if means cuts to police and fire.

According to the AATA, over 550,000 people a year board the bus in Ypsilanti.

The AATA receives funds from a variety of sources including the Ann Arbor DDA and U-M. These organizations make contributions to AATA so that U-M students as well as employees that work downtown and at U-M get free bus passes to encourage employees that live in Ypsilanti to use the bus. EMU and WCC also subsidizes AATA in part so that Ann Arbor residents can attend class in Ypsilanti.

U-M and the Ann Arbor DDA have said when students and employees use the bus it reduces the need for more parking spaces and reduces traffic congestion in the City of Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor DDA has said in past presentations that bus service for employees in downtown Ann Arbor improves the quality of life for all residents in Ann Arbor and it prevents other property from being gobbled up and turned into parking lots and structures.

It is unclear how cuts service in Ypsilanti will impact the subsidies AATA gets from U-M and other local contributors. Also unknown are the impacts on federal and state subsidies AATA receives if residents in Ypsilanti can no longer use the bus service because AATA has cut or eliminated service in Ypsilanti.

AATA could lose far more in State and Federal subsidies, as well as subsidies from U-M and other area businesses, than the additional $140,000 they are trying to extract from the City of Ypsilanti. AATA has so far been unwilling to discuss how much they would lose from other funding sources if they cut or eliminated bus service in Ypsilanti.

Watch the complete meeting below.

Update1: 4/29/08 Added video of full meeting

Comments

One Comment on "Ypsi Mayor proposes $140,000 cut to Police and Fire to pay for bus service (Update1)"

  1. rodneyn on Mon, 21st Apr 2008 8:00 am 

    To: The Honorable Paul Schreiber, Mayor

    Mayor Schreiber,

    I read with interest of your recent recommendation that the police department funding be cut by another $140,000 (or two officers as Mr. Nickels noted) to fully fund the AATA bus service. Your comment to City Council says it all: “Is losing half of the bus service worth losing a fraction of the police force? It is a matter of priority.” I agree – and the priority must remain with the police and fire departments. Public mobility and access means nothing in a community without public safety.

    Mr. Mayor, perhaps you haven’t noticed how tightly stretched our officers are at this point because of the superb job they do with the resources available. Perhaps Pleasant Drive is just a bit too isolated from the realities of our neighborhoods this Spring. A brutal assault with a pipe took place recently just a few doors down from your Woods Rd. entryway; a drug-related murder intruded into a nearby Ward 1 neighborhood a few weeks ago; and a string of armed robberies on neighborhood and downtown streets has left us shaken. Our officers still respond effectively, but the volume of incidents this Spring shows just how stretched our enforcement resources are.

    The bus system is one of the reasons we live in the City, but you and I both know that the police department and fire department have shouldered far more than a reasonable share of budget cuts over the past five years.

    AATA has too much to lose to cut its main “trunkline” routes in Ypsilanti, and we have too much to lose to cut police services further. Do the brave thing and find the money for the bus service the same way other interest groups did when the City dropped their favorite ball: create and privately fund a “friends of…” group, push for regional help, and shame EMU into ponying up a reasonable share of the fare.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Rodney C. Nanney, AICP

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