News

Ypsilanti – Ypsilanti City Council has followed Ann Arbor's lead and approved an increase in water rates. Ypsilanti rates will climb five-percent to help offset increases passed on by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. There will also be a 22-percent increase in the surcharge that's used to pay for system improvements. Additionally, Ypsilanti water customers will no longer enjoy a discount for promptly paying bills, and a late fee will be assessed if the payment isn't received by the due date.

Ypsilanti – Ypsilanti City Council has approved a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes no funding for the Recreation Department. There is enough money left to keep open the Rutherford Municpal Pool, the Senior Center and the Parkridge Center through the summer months. The historic Freighthouse will be kept open through July of next year. Residents urged council Tuesday night to find the money to keep recreation programs for children and seniors in place. Council says funding simply isn't available, given the tight budget situation.

Ypsilanti – The Ypsilanti Board of Education election is approaching. The two challengers in the race are working as a team and using the slogan, "Continue the Excellence." The incumbants are stressing the need for change in the district.

Incumbants Floyd Brumfield and Andy Fanta, and challengers Melodie Gable and Allen Thompson all appeared at Monday night's "Meet the Candidates" forum. The event was sponsored by the Ypsilanti Education Association, the union representing district teachers.

Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor City Council has agreed to spend 114-thousand dollars to treat the city's stormwater system to kill mosquitos that could transmit the West Nile Virus. The money will be used to purchase and apply a larvacide. The larvacide will be applied this month, and again in June, July, and August. The allocation will cover the expense of a September application, if necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washtenaw County Health Department had suggested the treatments.

Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor City Council has held it's first vote on proposed changes to the way water customers are billed. The city says changes, and corresponding rate increases, are necessary to maintain the system. The changes would have residential customers charged a fee for being connected to the system, Rates would be increased as water usage increases. A public hearing on the changes has been set for June 16th.

Ann Arbor, MI – The Ann Arbor Board of Education today unanimously approved a new two-year contract with the district's teachers.
Tentative agreement was reached two weeks ago. Teachers approved the agreement yesterday.
The new contract includes wage increases of four percent in the first year and three-and-a-half percent in the second.
Teachers will also see higher out-of-pocket expenses for health care and other reductions in fringe benefits.
The district employs approximately 12-hundred teachers.

Getting to know the oddly informative Mo Rocca, panelist of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, which will be featured as a part of this year's Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti City Manager Ed Koryzno says preliminary demolition work will begin this week on four buildings in the Water Street re-development area.
This week's preliminary work will include asbestos abatement, and Koryzno says building demolition will begin no later than next Monday. He says that work should take about a month, with new building construction beginning next fall.

Ann Arbor, MI – The Ann Arbor service office of the state's Family Independence Agency will close later this month.
F-I-A director Nanette Bowler says staff will begin moving to the Ypsilanti office by May 23rd, in a move Bowler says will save the state over 300-thousand dollars next year.
She says about 40 percent of Washtenaw County's F-I-A clients use the Ann Arbor office,but half the county's clients live closer to the Ypsilanti office.

Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti's city council has approved first reading of a tax increment financing and development plan for expanding West Cross Street. The 25-year plan calls for nearly three-point-two million dollars in improvements. The first goal in the plan is to add on-street parking, and make the historic area more pedestrian friendly. The city hopes to have approval by summer from the Michigan Department of Transportation for the on-street parking phase of the project.

Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti's city council has approved the sale of 10-million dollars in bonds for continued infrastructure improvements throughout the city in general, and for the Water Street development project.
City Manager Ed Koryzno says over six million dollars will be used to continue the city's water main replacement projects. An additional one-point-five million will go to replace old and failing sewer connections, and two-million will be used for land acquisition, demolition, and soil improvements in the Water Street area.

Ann Arbor – A reduced spending plan for the City of Ann Arbor has been proposed for the upcoming fiscal year. City Manager Roger Fraser, Monday night, presented the 82-and-a-quarter million dollar budget. That represents of cut of one-point-75 million dollars from the current year's spending plan. Much of the savings are realized through the elimnation of empty positions that are equivalent to 80 full-time jobs. Fraser says city services will be maintained through better cooperation and efficiencies between departments. The plan does not call for tax increases or lay-offs.

Ann Arbor – A measure creating new regulations for the drilling of monitoring-wells in Ann Arbor will be revisited in June. City Council Monday night postponed action on the measure after citizens and the Department of Environmental Quality expressed concern over language in the proposal. Councilman Chris Easthope says the fear is that the language is too vague and may be open to unintended interpretations. Attorney's will review the language over the next month and a revised proposal will be submitted to council for consideration at a June meeting.

Ypsilanti, MI – Software that's already on Ypsilanti School District computers now can be used legally.
The school board last night approved spending 120-thousand dollars for software rights. The decision follows an
audit of district software following complaints by the district's former computer services director that unlicensed software was being used.
The district has a process to ensure licensing. Officials say they need to a better job of following their own guidelines in the future.

Ypsilanti, MI – About 60 Ypsilanti public school teachers picketed outside the high school, then filed in to last night's school board meeting to tell district leaders they want a new contract.
Mediation efforts on a new agreement ended unsuccessfully last week, and teachers are asking school board members to get more involved in negotiations.
The district's teachers have been working eight months without a new contract.

Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor school district voters will decide in June if school board members should serve longer terms, and if there should be fewer board members.
The Board of Education voted last night to put the issue on the regular school board election ballot in June.
If approved, the school board would be reduced from nine to seven members, but each member would serve four-year terms instead of the current three years.

Ann Arbor, MI – After a lengthy public hearing, Ann Arbor's city council has tabled a proposal to expand the Washtenaw-Hill historic district. Council tabled the motion last night based on concerns raised by many homeowners in the proposed expansion area.
Members of non-profit groups in the area, including churches and co-ops, plus fraternity and sorority groups in the area say maintenance costs will be too high if the district expands to include them. Some said they would face bankruptcy if forced to comply with historic district rules covering building maintenance.

Ypsilanti, MI – WEMU-FM, Eastern Michigan University's public radio station, fired radio host Terry Hughes, also known as Thayrone, April 2 for violating station policy and refusing to follow the station manager's directions.

Hughes, host of the Bone Conduction Music Show (BCMS), refused to air segments of National Public Radio news during his show and repeatedly voiced political opinions despite management's warnings that by doing so he was directly violating station policy.

Ann Arbor, MI – It looks like the third time may be the charm for the city of Ann Arbor's quest to hire a new Fire Chief.
City administrator Roger Fraser told city council last night that Joseph Gorman has accepted the job.
Back in January, Rick Tye never showed up to take the post after accepting it. The second candidate for the job also turned it down.
Fraser says Gorman will start sometime in May, depending on when he can get moved here from Saudi Arabia, where he currently directs a fire department.

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