Saturday, November 10, 2012

Proposal A Passes!

Thank you Ann Arbor! Our parks are secure for another six years thanks to the passage of proposal A! Here are the election results (68.8% voted yes!) and the article reporting on it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why Vote Yes?

Read this article for why you should vote yes on Proposal A. Save our parks! A yes vote doesn't increase your taxes as it is a renewal of the millage already in place. Keep our park system strong!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lucy Ann Lance Hosts Friends of the Parks!

Lucy Ann Lance hosted Julie Grand and Ingrid Ault to discuss the Parks Millage Renewal on Thursday October 25th. If you have questions about why you should be supporting this proposal, this link will answer them. Click on this link and look for this photo to hear what we had to say!

Yard Signs at the Farmers Market!

Want a support our parks sign? Look for us at the A2 Farmers Market on Saturday October 26th from 8 to 11. Or stop by Trillium Realtors in Braun Ct.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A2 Dems Support Parks!

Yes, it is true! At the Saturday October 13th Ann Arbor Democratic Party meeting, the membership voted unanimously to support Proposal A! We are so pleased to have their support!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yards Signs Now Available!

Hot off the presses and ready for your front yard! Call (734) 665-6632 or email and we will deliver one to your home. Help us spread the word!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Parks Millage Renewal Facts:

1. What is the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage Renewal and what services will it support?

The millage renewal is a six-year millage for 1.10 mills that was first approved by residents of the City of Ann Arbor on Nov. 7, 2006. The current millage expires in 2012. The millage renewal covers 2013 - 2018. It is estimated that each year the millage will generate slightly over $5,000,000 in
The millage funds the following activities:
• Between 60% and 80% of the annual millage funds support City park maintenance activities. Park maintenance activities include forestry and
horticulture, natural area preservation, park operations, park equipment repairs, park security, and recreation facilities.
• Between 20% and 40% of the annual millage funds is designated for City park capital improvements in the following areas: active parks; forestry and
horticulture; historic preservation; neighborhood parks and urban plazas; pathways, trails, boardwalks, greenways and the Huron River watershed;
recreation facilities; and park equipment acquisitions.

2. How much will the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage Renewal cost a property owner on an annual basis?

The estimated annual cost to a homeowner in the first year of the millage renewal, based on a mean taxable value of $108,600 is expected to be $119.46, or slightly less than $10 per month. The current cost to a homeowner for the expiring millage based on a mean taxable value of $108,600
is $119.13.

3. How will the Parks Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage renewal appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 ballot?

The Parks millage renewal will appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 6 ballot in the following form:

Shall the Charter be amended to authorize a tax up to 1.10 mills for park maintenance and capital improvements for 2013 through 2018 to replace the previously authorized tax for park maintenance and capital improvements for 2007 through 2012, which will raise in the first year of the levy the estimated total revenue of $5,052,000.

4. I want to find out if the expiring millage has provided support to my neighborhood park, favorite recreation facility or favorite nature area - how do I do that?

Parks staff has maintained a table detailing work done at the numerous City parks throughout the life of the millage. The table is arranged alphabetically by park name and lists park development, maintenance and improvement projects funded through the expiring millage. A link to the table is below:

5. Is funding for Natural Area Preservation (NAP) part of the proposed millage renewal? What is NAP’s mission?

Yes. Over 50% of the City’s park system is made up of natural park areas. Care for the 1,400 acres of natural areas is managed through the Natural Area Preservation (NAP) program. NAP’s annual operating budget of slightly less than $700,000 is entirely funded through the expiring millage. The millage renewal would continue to fund NAP. NAP’s mission is to protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas, and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. NAP staff and volunteers achieve this by conducting a wide range of ecological stewardship activities to restore the native plant and animal communities throughout the Ann Arbor park system’s 1,400 acres of natural areas. Stewardship activities are prioritized by ecological health assessments of individual sites, their context within the park system, and volunteer interest.

6. Will the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage Renewal be used to purchase new parkland?

No. The millage cannot be used to purchase new parkland. In November 2003 residents of Ann Arbor approved a 30-year Greenbelt millage for the sole purpose of purchasing parkland and preserving agricultural land.

7. What will happen to parks and recreation services if the millage does not pass?

If the proposed millage renewal is not approved in November, more than $5,000,000 in reductions will be required from the annual park budget beginning with the fiscal year 2014 budget that starts on July 1, 2013. This accounts for approximately 45% of the operations, maintenance and capital improvements budget for the park system. Staff and the Park Advisory Commission, along with public input, would discuss how best to approach these reductions during the development of the budget, prior to its submittal to City Council. It is, however, anticipated that if the millage renewal is not approved by the voters some recreation facilities and parks would be closed to meet the $5,000,000 annual budget reduction.

8. Are there guidelines for the administration of the millage renewal?

Yes, City Council approved policies for the administration of the expiring Parks Maintenance and Capital Improvements millage on Aug. 21, 2006. City Council unanimously approved reaffirming these policies for administration for the millage renewal at their Aug. 9, 2012 meeting.

The administrative policy guidelines are:
1. Adoption of the Funding Distribution Guidelines as stipulated in Attachment A;
2. Annual allocation for maintenance is to be between 60% and 80% and capital improvements is to be between 20% and 40% with a total annual allocation being 100%;
3. Parks and Recreation system’s activities can be funded by funds other than City’s General Fund and Millage to maintain FY 11 level of service and for the purpose of this resolution all funds other than the Millage which are used to support Parks and Recreation system activities shall be considered the same as City’s General Fund support;
4. The Natural Area Preservation Program budget be established at a minimum of $700,000.00 for the first year of the Millage budget, and that its budget be reflective of its proportionate share of the increase or decrease in revenue recognized from the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage proceeds;
5. If future reductions are necessary in the City’s General Fund budget, during any of the six years of this Millage, beginning with FY 2007-2008, the General Fund budget supporting the Parks and Recreation system for that year will be reduced by a percentage no greater than the average percentage reduction of the total City General Fund budget;
6. If future increases occur in the City’s General Fund budget during any of the six years of this Millage, beginning with FY 2007-2008, the General Fund budget supporting the Parks and Recreation system for that year will be increased at the same rate as the average percentage increase of the total City General Fund budget;
7. City Council will verify these expenditures by examining the audit statement for each year;
8. The Millage will not be subject to a municipal service charge;
9. The Millage may be subject to appropriate Information Technology and Fleet charges;
10. If the Millage is not renewed after the six years, the Natural Area Preservation Program will receive the same percentage of any remaining fund balance from the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage as was in the approved budget in the sixth year of the Millage; and RESOLVED, That the City Administrator be directed to develop an annual Millage budget for review and recommendation by the Park Advisory Commission with final adoption by City Council consistent with this resolution.

9. The administrative policy mentions Funding Distribution Guidelines - what are those?

The funding distribution guidelines were developed in 2006 to address the purpose of the General Fund related to Parks and concerns regarding reductions in the General Fund. As a result, activities such as mowing, litter and refuse collection, sidewalk/pathway/parking lot snow and ice control maintenance, and utility costs were identified as basic activities to be funded solely from the General Fund and deemed ineligible for millage funding. Additionally, staffing for recreation facility operations and programs at the following recreation facilities is funded through the General Fund: Mack, Fuller, Buhr and Veterans Memorial Pools; Argo and Gallup Canoe Liveries; Bryant and Northside Community Centers; Veterans Memorial and Buhr Park Ice Arenas; Cobblestone Farm, and the Senior Center.

10. What makes up the City of Ann Arbor park system?

The City’s parks, recreation, and open space holdings are comprised of 157 parks and facilities, totaling approximately 2,088 acres of land. The properties include approximately 492 turf acres, 48 buildings, 34 ball diamonds, 31 tennis courts, 10 soccer fields, 75 playground areas, 87 picnic
areas, approximately 52 miles of multi-use paths, 35 miles of nature trails, four swimming pools, two artificial ice rinks, hiking and nature trails, two 18-hole golf courses, and two canoe liveries. Over 50 percent of the land is unstructured and serves as open space, with approximately 700 acres of woodlands, 500 acres of shrub lands, old fields, and pine plantations, and 200 acres of, wetlands, savannas, and prairies. Additionally, some 800 acres of Huron River water surface are accessible with strategically located boat launching sites. Special facilities include a senior center, two
community centers, historic houses, and the Farmers Market.

11. What are some examples of capital projects that have taken place in the parks over the last six years? What are examples of capital projects that might take place over the next six years?

Recent projects:
The Argo Cascades
Buhr Ice Arena – replaced floor and refrigeration system
Buhr Park – improved parking lot and pathway
Cobblestone Farm Barn – renovated kitchen, replaced wood floor, renovated landscape
Farmers Market –replaced lighting, upgraded electrical system
Fuller Pool – constructed shade structures renovated athletic fields
Gallup Canoe Livery – renovated facility
Huron Hills Golf Course – replaced pump station
Island Park Greek Revival Shelter – renovated
Leslie Park Golf Course – purchased new maintenance equipment
Mary Beth Doyle Park – reconstructed disc golf course
Senior Center – constructed new restrooms
Swift Run – developed off-leash dog park
Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena – renovated locker room, installed dehumidification system, purchased new zamboni
West Park – designed and implemented stormwater and recreation master plan, including new pathways, entrance improvements, seat walls at
band shell, parking improvements, landscaping, boardwalk, and relocated basketball court
Neighborhood park renovations have included: Riverside, Gallup, Mary Beth Doyle, Wheeler, Leslie, Sylvan, South Maple, Garden Homes,
Wellington, Frisinger, Lansdowne, Evergreen, Brookside, Redwood, and Placid Way.
Pathway and game court renovations and reconstructions have included: Bromley, Buhr, Burns, South Maple , Sugarbush, Northside,
Ellsworth, Mary Beth Doyle, Pilgrim, Southeast Area, West, Wheeler, and Veterans Memorial Park.
Upcoming projects include:
• Gallup Canoe Livery improvements
• Trail improvements at Leslie Science and Nature Center
• Tennis court replacement at Windemere Park
• Roof replacements at Cobbestone Farm, Mack Pool, and Veteran’s Memorial Ice Arena
• Baseball and Softball field renovations at Veteran’s Memorial Park, Southeast Area Park, and West Park, and Clinton Park improvements.

Every year additional neighborhood park improvements, game court replacements, recreation facility improvements, and pathway improvements are identified as upcoming projects. For a more comprehensive listing of how the expiring millage has been utilized over the last six years, you can
visit the following link: