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Feb 22

The First 2400 Hours

Comments (2) 10:00 AM posted by admin |

The whole first 100 days concept in politics can probably be credited to FDR. During his first 100 days, beginning on March 9, 1933 and ending on June 16th of the same year, FDR sent an unprecendented number of bills to Congress, all of which passed easily. He gave us the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. He gave us the New Deal.

February 21st marked my first 100 days in office as well as the first 100 days of the new Ypsilanti City Council. While my own version of the Farm Security Administration Act failed miserably, these are the highlights.

On November 21st, we granted more than $3M worth of tax abatements over twelve years to Stewart Beal to rehabilitate the Thompson Block at 400 and 408 North River in Depot Town. It was the second use of the Obsolete Properties Rehabilitation Act in the City. The hope is that it will help bring the Thompson Building back to its glory days. The resolution passed unanimously.

In politics, it’s supposedly never wise to admit your mistakes, so I won’t. I will say that we didn’t give the market time to work, and as a result, we made a hurried decision. The decision to grant the OPRA sent an awkward message to the new business owners on the north end of Depot Town who successfully turned an obsolete building that had been vacant for a helluva lot longer than the Thompson Building into a productive property.

On December 5th, we passed a resolution approving the purchase of the Parkview Apartments by the Ypsilanti Housing Commission. The resolution was basically to encourage Representative John Dingell to encourage the Department of Housing and Urban Development to sell the property to the YHC. In May of 2005, as the result of a giant political debacle, New York City’s most notorious landlord purchased the Parkview Apartments at auction. After a lengthy court battle, the sale was nullified. There was an even lengthier bankruptcy court battle. Long story short, the residents who still live there have been punished by the inaction of government at all levels. I was very much in favor of the Chesapeake Community Advisors plan to rehabilitate the property through the use of tax credit financing. However, after all of the double speak taking place over Certificates of Occupancy, my faith has been greatly shaken. It’s a good thing that same vote wasn’t taking place today.

On December 7th, we hired a new City Clerk.

On December 8th, we saw the collapse of the latest incarnation of the Water Street Project.

On December 19th, we granted a Special Use Permit to Sharryl Sullivan giving her a small wine maker license for her business venture, U-Brew, located at 1486 washtenaw Avenue. We helped a new business open in Ypsilanti at a time when new businesses are desparately needed.

December 19th also saw the passage of a resolution to purchase a new aerial truck for the Ypsilanti Fire Department. Anyone who has been conscious for the past year has heard all about the fabled thirty-one year old truck. After years of hard work, the Fire Department was finally able to secure a Homeland Security Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant worth $607,500. It was the largest such grant ever issued in the State of Michigan, and perhaps the most significant accomplishment for Ypsilanti in the past five years. We should take delivery of the truck in September. That should give us plenty of time to make the garage doors to the fire station larger so the truck fits inside.

Finally, on February 6th, City Council unanimously reaffirmed the 2004 TIF reimbursement for the Pennisular Park Planned Unit Development. This was sort of an odd vote. A much stronger statement would have been to simply ignore the request of Edwards Communities, but in the end, we sent a carpetbagger packing for the second time in less than a year.

Hopefully the next 100 days will see:

  • the development of a plan for Automatic Mutual Aid, a process in which neighboring fire departments respond to all fire calls with us and us with them, so that we can provide even better fire protection to the residents of Ypsilanti and surrounding communities.
  • the relocation of dispatching from the Police Department to the Fire Deparment so that we can begin to capture additional Act 289 monies as well as position ourselves to cooperate much better with the surrounding townships.

And, with any luck, maybe I can resurrect my Farm Security Administration Act bill.

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  1. Comment by murph
    February 22, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

    What exactly does your FSA bill entail? Preemptively approving elaborate community gardens for the rest of the parks system and promising a chicken in every backyard?

  2. Comment by brobb
    February 23, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    I would prefer to focus on the photography aspect in my FSA bill. I would even have Roy Stryker head it up for us.

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