Video: Ypsilanti City Council September 16, 2008

September 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Breaking News, Video

City Council reverses decision to waive past due fees and taxes owed by Housing Commission

Ypsilanti Housing Commission continues to be a hot item of discussion at City Council. The resolution to do away with inspection fees and no longer holding the Housing Commission responsible for complying with the City’s rental inspection program was back on the table.

In August the City Council had approved by a vote of 5 to 1 to allow the Housing Commission to perform their own inspections and forgive over $25,000 in past due fees. In a stunning reversal, City Council reconsidered their resolution and in a unanimous vote, defeated the resolution to waive the rental inspection fees.

It is unclear what the City Council will do next. In addition to the over $25,000 in past due rental inspection fees owed, the Housing Commission owes the City over $45,000 in back taxes stemming from an agreement the Housing Commission signed in 2004.

In other matters, Ypsilanti City Council continues to struggle with time management and time allocation during meetings. The council approved a new contract of a over $1/2 million a year for city legal services.

The council reviewed 18 firms that responded to the City’s RFQ. Yet the contract drew just one question, “Have we benchmarked legal costs against other communities” asked by Brian Robb (Dem, Ward 3). The answer from City Manager Ed Koryzno, “No.”

With no further discussion the council voted 7 to 0 to hire the Barr Law firm as the City Attorney. Barr has had the contract for City Attorney services for over 27 years.

Voting to approve over $1/2 million a year for legal services with just one question by council, the City Council next took up the leaf ordinance. The leaf ordinance was originally proposed to prevent property owners from sweeping leaves into the street.

City Council along with City Attorney Karl Barr Jr., and Public Works Director Stan Kirton spent nearly an hour reviewing the ordinance which has grown to include up to $300 fines for sweeping piles of leaves in to the margin and 48 hour notice before City contractors haul away leaves at the property owners expense.

Last night was the second meeting Council labored over the leaf ordinance. Council spent nearly an hour on September 2nd discussing the same leaf ordinance. The City finally adopted a first reading, mercifully. Council then directed staff to bring back a rewrite of the ordinance asking City Staff to simplify their rules so that residents could understand them. A second and final reading will be held at the next meeting in October.

  • Review bids from 18 firms for $1/2 million annual contract for Legal Services. 10 minutes
  • Ordinance to prohibit residents from sweeping leaves in to the street. Two hours and two meetings and still not approved.

Audience Participation is usually the most entertaining and informative part of City Council.

Gary Hann said that he had put out construction materials to have his contractor haul away and before his contractor could pick them up, the city swooped in and picked up the materials and billed Hann over $300.

Tyrone Bridges asked City Council to make sure that residents were notified about meetings regarding Parkridge Community Center.

Mark Swanson came and spoke about the bike rack in front of his business on West Michigan. Last year the city removed the bike rack from in front of Swanson’s business. However, a year later, the City hasn’t reinstalled the rack in front of Freeman Bunting insurance despite promises to reinstall the rack.

Mike Bodary spoke in favor of simplifying the leaf ordinance.

Leonardo Christian had questions about the contractors that are soliciting people to register to vote. Christian said that he is concerned that the applications will not get submitted in time to meet state deadlines. City Clerk Frances McMullan said she was working with the students at EMU, which is one of the groups collecting signatures, and asked them to submit their applications to the city as well.

City Council approved the Sign billboard with Adams Outdoor and approved raising the sewage by about 3%.

While Council has not approved an ordinance regarding sweeping leaves into the street, City Council did approve new fines of up to $300 for residents that improperly rake leaves.

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