Video: Ypsilanti City Council March 3, 2009

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

Tonight’s City Council forecast: Snow

Snow and sidewalk shoveling was the highlight of tonight’s City Council meeting.

Richard King, chair of the ann Arbor/Ypsilanti LDFA Smartzone gave his annual report. Ann Arbor City Council Steve Rapundalo who also serves on the LDFA board joined the festivities.

Ypsilanti City Council Packet, March 3, 2009

Video: Ypsilanti City Council Feb 17, 2009

February 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

City Council meets about Chickens, the Beal Amendment, State of the City, and Housing Commission

Topics this evening included State of the City by Mayor Paul Schreiber (Dem), Chickens in the City, the Beal text amendment which was denied, and Housing Commission. The meeting was 3 hours and 48 minutes.

City Council Agenda, Feb 17, 2009

Video: Ypsilanti City Council Dec 16, 2008

February 5, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

Former Mayor Cheryl Farmer rejected for position on Ethics board.

Brandy’s Party Store

The main topic of the second regular December meeting of the Ypsilanti City Council was an impromptu hearing on Brandy’s Liquor Shoppe. Brandy’s, old timers call it Forbes Party Store, on West Michigan and Summit has been the subject of numerous complaints by neighbors and city police as a chronic nuisance. Ypsilanti Police said there have been nearly three times as many calls for service at Brandy’s than any other party store in Ypsilanti. Thirteen people, including Mr. and Mrs Hanna owners of Brandy’s, spoke in favor of the store and asked the city council to stop the court action.

The City Attorney had filed a show cause notice with the intent of declaring Brandy’s a nuisance and ordering it closed for one year. Council had previously voted to postpone the court hearing for 60-days with the hope the owners and City Attorney could work out an agreement.

Citizen Board Appointments

Normally Citizen appointments are a formality. The Mayor makes the appointment and council approves the appointment to the board or commission. Tonight was no different as City Council approved the appointment of Thomas (Scotty) James to DDA and Krista Nordberg to Human Relations Commission.

The third appointment, former Mayor Cheryl Farmer to the Ethics Board, drew special attention from Council. In a rare move, Council voted 5 to 2 to reject Farmers appointment.

After the vote, Mayor Paul Schreiber (Dem) chastised the council for the apparent divisiveness and said he hoped this was not a sign of things to come, Schreiber said it was the practice of past councils to speak with a unanimous voice.

Schreiber had tried to appoint Farmer to the Ethics board before the November election when he had a majority voting block on Council. However the City Charter prevented Farmer from being seated before two new council members took office in November. Incumbent John Gawlas (Dem, Ward 2) lost his bid for a fourth term and Brian Filipiak (Dem, Ward 3) decided to not run for a second term.

All three of the candidates Schreiber backed for the November election, Gawlas, Rod Johnson (Dem) running for an open seat, and Megan Turf (Dem) running against incumbent Lois Richardson (Dem, Ward 1), lost in the August primary.

Schreiber seemed surprised that Farmer was rejected, seemingly unaware that Farmer had actively, and in some cases, quite viciously campaigned against many of the City Council members now sitting on the board. The two votes Farmer received, Schreiber and Bill Nickels (Dem, Ward 2), were from the only two remaining council members Farmer backed in the 2006 election.

City Council Minutes, Dec 16, 2008

Video: Ypsilanti City Council Goal Setting Dec 13, 2008

February 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Video

Third Goal Setting session.

The Ypsilanti City Council held their third goal setting session this evening.

Presentation by Stewart Beal

Mr. Beal presented an update on the Thompson Blok in Depot Town. Beal said that the Depot Town merchants were opposed to one of his earlier tenants. Beal said that Kircher was suing him in four different counties. Beal also said he was offended by an email sent by Council Member Pete Murdock (Dem, Ward 3). Beal said that he thought the City was his partner and he didn’t know that he had to address individual concerns. Beal also said that he would meet with any Council member.

Murdock in his remarks said he asked Mr. Beal for a meeting and showed an email where Beal refused to meet with Murdock. Beal said he did not remember the email.

There was about five minutes more of back and forth discussions between Council and Beal.

Goal Setting with Dr. Joe Ohren

Council then resumed their goal setting discussions led by Dr. Jow Ohren from Eastern Michigan University.

This meeting is always interesting as it is a round table with each city department head as well as the DDA and Housing Commission give their perspectives on budgets, services, and goals.

City Council Minutes, Dec 13, 2008

Video: Ypsilanti City Council Dec 8, 2008

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Video

Second Goal Setting session.

The Ypsilanti City Council held their second goal setting session this evening.

Washtenaw Area Transportation Study

Terri Blackmore from WATS spoke for about an hour about regional transportation. Blackmore and County Commissioner Jeff Irwin are laying the groundwork for a regional transportation authority and the proposed transportation millage in August 2009.

Roberts Rules

Council once again is struggling with Roberts Rules of Order and can the council take action during a work session and what constitutes minutes. Council finally gave up and postponed approving minutes to a regular city council meeting.

Goal Setting

Dr. Joe Ohren, Eastern Michigan University, led the council for the next two hours in the goal setting session. Topics were wide ranging including ordinance enforcement, graffiti, policing, crime problems at AATA.

City Council Minutes, Dec 8, 2008

Garbage continues to be a problem for Ypsilanti DDA

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Garbage is piled nearly six feet high and hasn’t been emptied for weeks in dumpster enclosures owned and built by the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. Residents and business owners have complained for over three years about chronic problems with trash at the DDA constructed garbage dumpsters.

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Ypsilanti DDA Director Brian Vosburg was hired in June 2006. During his interview, Vosburg said, “Solving the problems with the garbage dumpsters would be his highest priority.” Some two and half years later, the dumpsters are worse now than any time previously.

The DDA built three dumpster enclosures as part of a $1 million street scape improvement.

However, the DDA never had a plan to empty the dumpsters. After business owners complained in 2007, the DDA agreed to pay for a contract to empty the dumpsters with Waste Management.

While the dumpsters are emptied on a weekly basis, trash is often left next to over filled dumpsters and Waste Management drivers will not pickup the trash outside the dumpsters.

The DDA purchased locks to keep the large dumpster doors locked, but the locks are either cut off, left hanging, or Waste Management drivers will not close the doors after emptying the dumpsters.

YpsiNews called DDA Director Brian Vosburg numerous times asking for comment on this story. Vosburg did not return our calls.

Video: Ypsilanti City Council Dec 2, 2008

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Video

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Council repeals City Income Tax Ordinance.

Ypsilanti City Council met on Tuesday evening for their regular bi-monthly meeting. Brandy’s liquor store was again the central issue before Council. Residents from Midtown Neighborhood Association. The meeting got out control as the Mayor became confused on parliamentary procedure and a shouting match broke out between neighbors and Trudy Swanson (Den, Ward 1). Mayor Schreiber repeatedly banged his gavel as he tried to regain control of the meeting.

Police Chief Matt Harshberger gave an update on the nuisance suit filed against the owners of Brandy’s liquor store.

Sorting out Roberts Rules of Order the council revisited the matter of Brandy’s. After an hour long discussion, many times contentious, council members kept asking the the Mayor to follow Roberts Rules. Mayor Pro-tem was in rare form as she railed against Midtown neighborhood as the audience then got back into the debate and the Mayor had to gavel them again. The best part starts about 58 minutes into the meeting.

Council failed to pass a resolution to refer the matter to the Human Relations Commission and voted to ask the city attorney to delay action for 60 days.

The Council then passed a resolution repealing the City Income tax ordinance. The resolution passed unanimously.

Council tabled action to repeal the towing ordinance and then passed the updated snow removal ordinance.

Council gave the City Manager and City Clerk a 2.25% raise retroactive to last summer.

City Council Minutes, Dec 2, 2008

Ypsilanti City closes year with another $1 million surplus

January 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Breaking News, News

The City of Ypsilanti for the second year in a row, and three out of the last four years, had a budget surplus of nearly $1 million. This was on the heels of a nearly $1 million budget surplus from last year announced just days after the defeat of the City Income Tax.

The audit of the 2007-2008 fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 is available on the City’s website.