Ypsilanti City Council

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti voters will decide a total of 10 proposed amendments to the city charter on November 4th, and outgoing Mayor Paul Schreiber hopes they'll reject two of them.

   
Proposal I would give city council the power to remove appointees to board and commissions with a two-thirds majority vote. 

Mayor Schreiber says those decisions are best left to the Mayor.

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Ypsilanti City Council will soon consider the issue of smoking in some city parks.  The city's Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending that the city's three "tot lot" parks be declared smoke-free.

 

Bob Krzewinski serves on the commission.  He's hopeful council will sign off on the idea.

Bob Eccles

By the end of next week the conversion of some 1,675 old sodium-vapor and mercury-vapor street lights in Ypsilanti to LED's should be complete.  Not only will the conversion make city streets brighter and safer, it will also save the city about $120,000 a year.

That's according to City Manager Ralph Lange, who says DTE Energy has 119 post-top lights left to convert. 

Lange says the conversion project cost less than $600,000.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti's recent re-working of its Master Plan was only half of the process of developing a blueprint for future development.  The city's zoning ordinance puts those changes into law, and that document is now up for public review.

Ypsilanti Preparing For Trash Collection Switch

Sep 11, 2014
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The city of Ypsilanti is gearing up for the switch to a new waste hauling contractor, but residents may not even notice the difference.

 

The city switches from Waste Management to Republic Services on September 22nd.  Republic's Municipal Services Manager Scott Cabauatan says there won't be any major changes.

Bob Eccles

A family housing project proposed for the Water Street re-development area would bring with it roads and other infrastructure improvements that could lead to mroe development.  But Water Street Flats is still about a million-and-a-half dollars short of the state funding it needs to break ground.

Future Uncertain For Water Street Flats Project

Aug 29, 2014
Bob Eccles

The future of the Water Street Flats affordable housing project is very much in doubt.  It has received a little over half of the state funding needed to make it happen.  On Tuesday, developer Herman & Kittle will ask city council for more time to secure the additional funding.

 

Edmonds Wins Ypsilanti Mayoral Primary

Aug 5, 2014
Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU News

Amanda Edmonds' victory over Ypsilanti city council member Pete Murdock and community activist Tyrone Bridges in Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary election means she will almost certainly replace Paul Schreiber as Mayor after the November general election.

Edmonds has no declared opponent in the fall, and outside the Sidetrack Lounge in Depot Town Tuesday evening she said she looks forward to bringing the tone of the community and the voice of the people to council.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council recently closed on a deal to sell a parcel of Water Street property for a Family Dollar Store, and there's no time to relax before the next proposal lands on council's plate.

A purchase agreement for Washtenaw County's proposed east side rec center is on council's Tuesday night agenda. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti.

"There will be a public hearing on it," Gillotti says, "and probably a vote on it from city council to potentially accept the offer."

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange's proposed 2014-15 and 2015-16 budgets include $3 million for the fire department.

Some of that money would be used to repair and department's leaky roof.  The plan is to install solar panels on the roof as the repairs are completed.  It's estimated the panels could save the city $20-thousand a year in electricity costs. 

Grants and other funding will be sought to replace aging extrication gear and buy a new fire truck.

Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU News

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night signed off on a handful of budget amendements that direct funds toward non-motorized plan projects, renovation work at the Freighthouse, and future traffic calming projects.

Council member Pete Murdock says the $220,000 for the Freighthouse will go toward upgrading mechanical systems. 

Other amendments include spending $100,000 over the next two budget years on non-motorized projects like the Border-to-Border Trail and a mid-block pedestrian crossing on Michigan Avenue near Water Street. 

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange wants to bolster the city's police and fire ranks, and dedicate more of his time to economic development.

Those needs are reflected in the two-year city budget Lange has presented to City Council which, having concluded a pair of budget sessions, will now fine-tune the spending plan. 

Lange wants to give his assistant some of his duties - along with a $10,000 pay raise - and spend $55,000 to hire another city planner so that he and planner Teresa Gillotti can focus on economic development. 

Smooth Sailing On Ypsilanti Budget Front Thus Far

May 14, 2014
Bob Eccles

The process of approving the city of Ypsilanti's next budget has been sailing along more smoothly than anyone can remember.

That's according to Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, who says city department heads are aware of the city's financial situation, and have crafted their budgets accordingly. 

She says the city may not be where it wants to be, but Ypsilanti is generally doing well. 

City Council has another budget session scheduled for May 22nd, but since the process has been moving along so smoothly, that session may not be needed.

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Ypsilanti businessman Steve Pierce has withdrawn from the race to represent Ward One on Ypsilanti city council.

Pierce says he filed essentially just to make sure there was a name on the ballot.  Incumbent council member Ricky Jefferson announced he wasn't running again just days before the filing deadline. 

Pierce withdrew to clear the way for the other person who filed on time - Nicole Brown - to run.

"I think she's going to do a fabulous job in representing Ward One," Pierce says, "so I'm looking forward to having her as my next  city council member."

Bob Eccles

This year's Ypsilanti Heritage Festival will look as bit different than in past years, as new attractions are added and others decide to strike out on their own.

Among the elements that won't be part of the festival this year is Chautauqua at the Riverside, which is moving to October this year. 

David Nickerson is chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival board.

"With that being primarily presented at Riverside Arts, especially this last year we noticed that people weren't necessarily flowing up out of the park and to that event and to the venue," Nickerson says.

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The Ypsilanti Mayoral race has become a little more crowded.  

Bob Eccles

The last two Ypsilanti City Council members whose terms expire in November have submitted petition signatures to run for re-election.

City Clerk Frances McMullen says Brian Robb and Daniel Vogt submitted signatures.  Robb represents Ypsilanti's 2nd ward, while Vogt represents Ward 3. 

McMullen says a couple of people have also taken out petitions to try and get on the ballot to run for Ricky Jefferson's seat on council.  The Ward One representative announced last week he won't seek re-election when his term expires in November. 

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Ypsilanti City Council member Ricky Jefferson says he will not seek re-election.

Jefferson has represented Ward One since winning election in 2010, and told WEMU news earlier this month that he was interested in another term.

In a statement to supporters, neighbors and business owners, Jefferson said he has pondered the decision for months with his wife, his Pastor and his advisors, and came to the conclusion that "this is the best decision for my family, my supporters and me."

Pete Murdock

Ypsilanti City Council member Pete Murdock says he's filed nominating petitions to run for Mayor.

Murdock says Ypsilanti has done a lot to "right its ship", and he'd like to help maintain that direction.

"We've done a lot of things financially and things are looking a little better than they were four years ago, six years ago," Murdock says. "I think I have the experience and knowledge to provide that leadership."

Murdock says public safety and economic development will continue to be big issues, and he's hopeful the AAATA transit millage will pass next month.

Ypsilanti Residents Glad Road Repairs Are Coming

Apr 16, 2014
Bob Eccles

People who live and work along Prospect Road in Ypsilanti are glad to hear the city has approved spending some money to patch up the road and improve driving conditions until the road is completely re-built next year.

Jim Mufarreh owns Prospect Party Store at Prospect and Forest.

"Long time coming," Mufarreh says. "It's well-needed. It's terrible out there. It's a terrible road. It's been needed for years."

Mark Naess lives in the area, and he says the road is almost undriveable.

Ypsilanti City Council tonight is expected to consider a resolution to spend $249,000 to fix some of the city's worst roads. 

Council member Ricky Jefferson says the city has already had to pay on a couple of claims of bent wheel rims, and the problem is only going to get worse if it's not addressed.

The resolution up for council's consideration would target four specific sections of city streets:

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The terms of three Ypsilanti city council members expire in November, and at least two of them are seeking re-election.

Ricky Jefferson represents the city's first ward, and he tells WEMU news he'd like another term in office.

Daniel Vogt represents ward two. He says he'll file for re-election soon.

Council member Brian Robb's term also ends in November. He hasn't indicated whether he'll seek re-election. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber won't seek another term, and Growing Hope executive director Amanda Edmonds is running to take his place. 

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution asking the state to withdraw its appeal of the federal court ruling that says Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The vote was six to one, with  Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voting "no", arguing that the issue should be allowed to finish its journey through the court system.

The resolution will be forwarded to Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

City Council also approved improvements at two city parks requested by council members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock.

Water Street Development Plans Coming Along

Mar 21, 2014
Bob Eccles

Interest in Ypsilanti's Water Street redevelopment area continues to grow, as the three projects currently proposed  make their way through the process.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says most of the interest lately is from residential developers. 

She says the Family Dollar store is close to closing, with construction beginning in April or May.  The Water Street Flats developer finds out in July whether they've received the state tax credits needed to move forward.  And a purchase agreement for the Washtenaw County Recreation Center is expected in the next month or so.

Bob Eccles

Developers of the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town have secured a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehiabilitation Act tax credit from city council.

Project partner Tyler Weston said the city also approved a Brownfield plan for the project, so the next step is to ask Washtenaw County for Brownfield tax credits.

"What Brownfield allows us to do is essentially get paid back for site improvements at the property" Weston explained.  He said those improvements include things like added parking space and structural improvements to the building.

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