Starting in 2016 Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority will have new limitations on the tax increment financing revenue they can capture. After nearly a year of discussions Ann Arbor City Council has given final approval to an ordinance amendment that limits the tax increment financing revenue the Downtown Development Authority can collect. Last night, City Council voted 9 - 2 in favor of the change.
Ann Arbor Public Schools have still not determined how much they will participate in three county-wide high school options. The school board last night postponed a vote until next week's study session on how many seats they will use in the Early College Alliance, Washtenaw International High School, and Widening Advancement for Youth. The delay comes with Ann Arbor Schools wanting to use many fewer seats than the consortium has allocated to the district.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says much of the confusion has been blamed on the superintendent transition, but she believes both parties are to blame for the communications issues. Swift recommended the district use 80 seats total in the ECA and Wi-Hi and 15 for WAY. The allocation approved by the consortium last month would give Ann Arbor 80 new seats in the ECA alone, and a straight lottery for Wi-Hi.
David Dugger is the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Director of Secondary Options. Dugger says the other consortium members in October opted to continue to use a straight lottery for Wi-Hi and a proportional system to assign slots to the ECA.
It won't be long before we have the official results of last week's elections.
Ed Golembiewski is Washtenaw County's Elections Director. He says the results will be certified first thing Wednesday morning.
Golembiewski says one provisional ballot was added in Ann Arbor elections, and Ann Arbor city council 5th Ward write-in candidate Chip Smith got an additional 100 votes - not enough to change the results.
Sheriff Jerry Clayton says he hopes his warning on possible service reductions starts a community conversation because he won't be running up overtime. Clayton says he proposed a gradual reduction in the sheriff department returning a half-million dollars to the county annually.
The county commissioners will have a public hearing on the budget proposal in two weeks.
Washtenaw County is increasing a tax for economic development and agriculture, but is likely also facing a lawsuit over the tax.
The County Commissioners voted seven to one last night to levy a .07 mill public act 88 tax.
Bill McMaster is the chair of Taxpayers United and served as director for the Headlee Amendment campaign in 1978. McMaster says the tax is unconstitutional because it wasn't approved by voters.
County officials however say voter approval isn't needed because the act is from 1913, well before the Headlee Amendment was approved. They say the state legislature recently reviewed Act 88 and didn't change it.
Election Day is tomorrow, and in Ann Arbor's 4th ward, the outcome is just about certain. Democrat John Eaton, or Jack, as he prefers to be called, defeated current councilwoman Marcia Higgins in the August Primary, and appeared to be unopposed for the general election.
But, as WEMU's David Fair reports, voters do have the option of a registered write-in candidate:
Washtenaw County has launched a new website to educate motorists on the environmental and financial costs of unnecessary idling. The website is part of a larger educational campaign being run by Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County officials.
Jeff Kruchmerrick is the Environmental Program Supervisor for Washtenaw County. He explains that there is some simple advice people can follow if they want to help cut down on unnecessary idling.
Kruchmerrick adds that unnecessary idling costs Americans millions of dollars each year and is responsible for about 5 percent of the gas used in the US each year.
The Ann Arbor School Board will likely eventually renew their contract to participate in a consortium of three county-wide high school options, but have frustrations on the agreement. The board discussion last night took place after a large number of Washtenaw International High School and the Early College Alliance spoke in favor of their programs.
Washtenaw County could soon have two communities certified as Redevelopment Ready. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation took over the program two years ago and is in the middle of re-certifying Ypsilanti, while Ann Arbor joins the list of eight new communities to be evaluated.
If you've been itching to do your civic duty, this may be the chance you've been waiting for. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, more than a dozen Washtenaw County boards and commissions are seeking volunteers who'd like to serve.
Safehouse Center in Washtenaw County provides shelter to women and children in need of protection. It serves those impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse. There is rarely a time in any given year that the shelter isn't full to capacity. As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, WEMU's David Fair took occasion to talk with the Executive Director of Safehouse Center. Barbara Neiss-May has made it her life's work to serve those in need.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has confirmed two cases of measles in Michigan this year with one more possible case they are currently investigating. Michigan is one of 16 states with confirmed cases of the highly contagious, viral disease.
Washtenaw County Public Health Epidemiologist Laura Bauman says there have been no reported cases of measles in Washtenaw County so far. She says the two infants who came down with the disease were not vaccinated:
The Washtenaw Housing Alliance was awarded special recognition by the Michigan Social Security Disability Outreach, Access, and Recovery, or SOAR, State Planning Group last week for its efforts to fight homelessness.
The SOAR program is a streamlined process aimed at getting eligible adults suffering from homelessness and mental illness or substance abuse access to disability income benefit programs much quicker than they otherwise could.
Julie Steiner is the Executive Director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. She says Homelessness in Washtenaw County is a growing problem:
The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office wants drivers to pledge not to text and drive. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, students attending Eastern Michigan University's Homecoming football game this past weekend seem to already be on board.
The Medicaid expansion bill signed into law by Gov. Snyder earlier this week will have a major impact on health care in Washtenaw County.
Both it and the upcoming state health insurance marketplace will affect many of the people already receiving coverage through the Washtenaw Health Plan. Many people currently receiving health coverage through the Washtenaw Health Plan will lose that coverage and be required to get it instead through either the newly expanded Medicaid or the upcoming health insurance marketplace.
Krista Nordberg is the Director of Enrollment and Advocacy at Washtenaw Health Plan. She says there will likely be timing issues with these changes.
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is taking applications to fill a recently vacated seat on the Road Commission. The selected applicant will represent the general public for the remainder of a six year term that ends in 2018.
Resumes must be submitted by September 25. The commissioners will choose an applicant during their October 2 meeting, and the appointment will take effect on January 1, 2014.
The Washtenaw County Commissioners have approve the purchase of a new case management system for the County's Trial Court. The commissioners voted eight to one last night to purchase the system for $2.3 million.