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January 4th, 2019
Ypsilanti Historic District For our Historic District residents: Michigan Historic Preservation Network and MI Impact Coalition wish you a wonderful New Year! We are looking forward to reinstating the Michigan State Historic Tax Credit in 2019 with the support of newly sworn-in Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
This was a question from MLive to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and her answer :
Are you considering more programs specifically, or would you use the tools that are in place right now? I think using the tools that are in place. But when [Governor Snyder] came in, he got rid of the historic building credits. He didn’t embrace the brownfield redevelopment credits… They serve an important public purpose, putting unusable property back into use, or keeping a historic building in a lot of our downtowns that need revitalization, making that a priority. Those are two obvious examples, in my mind, of ways that the public benefits from some of this economic development policy.
We also wanted to share this John Gallagher article in yesterday’s Free Press:Michigan Lame Duck Failed State on Historic Tax Credit.
We anticipate working with you all in early 2019 as the historic tax credit bills are re-introduced and passed.
Please Save the Date for the Michigan Historic Preservation Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 in Lansing. We will need you to be in Lansing to visit and educate your Legislators about the value of the credits to your community. Thanks for your passion, hard work and support!Happiest of New Years!
Nancy M. Finegood
Executive Director, Michigan Historic Preservation Network
Arts & Culture Commission: Update
During my campaign, I discussed forming an Arts Commission. My perception is that Ypsilanti has a dynamic arts, music and culture scene. This blossoming has happened independently of much support from the City, resulting primarily from many individuals’ and organizations’ efforts. It is a strong testament to the depth and strength of our community that we have so much going on!
The idea behind the Arts & Culture Commission is that it could do several positive things for our community and the arts movement here in general;
I am pleased to tell you that the first steps towards forming the Commission are in place. I am personally not knowledgeable about arts, current music, or culture. As a community organizer, I recognize a need and an opportunity for our community in this arena. I do not need to be the expert, as it turns out there are some amazing people willing and able to help right here!
A small committee is working with myself and staff to plan a beginning outline of how this commission might work. This committee is not the commission, let me be clear on this. This initial group is merely here to help the City move to the first step which will be a Community Meeting to discuss this idea and get a sense of what the community vision is for this Commission and our arts scene in general. I am honored to have some very strong leaders on this committee including: Jennifer Goulet, Lynn Settles, Emily Tuesday, Deb Polich, Athena Johnson and Ariel Moore. This group has local, state, and national perspectives on community arts and economic development that will be helpful.
This meeting is happening mid January. Shortly after that, expect an announcement of a public meeting for engagement, ideas, direction, and interest assessing. Following that, it goes to Council. Commissions in our City are formed by Ordinance. After community input is gathered, the ordinance will be drafted and voted on over 2 Council meetings.
There it is folks, the birth of a commission.
At our last City Council meeting of 2018, we received a report on the status of our Police and Fire Pension fund. You can read the report we received starting on page 20 of the link below, which is the entire packet of the agenda from that meeting.
Like many municipalities in Michigan, our pension fund is heading towards being in a bad position. We are currently at about 57% of funding our pensions fully. This puts our city fund below the amount allowed by the state of Michigan regulators. All municipalities are required by state law to keep our fund over 60% and ideally it would be funded at 100%.
These legacy costs are a big expense for many cities, not just Ypsilanti. Contributing to the problem (for all cities) are a combination of the following factors: reduced workforce to pay into the pension, the economic downturn, our state government reneging on revenue-sharing agreements, and more. Let’s be clear, our city made a promise to our police and fire service members. We owe them the money they earned during their service to our community. We will honor those legacy costs.
That does not make it less of a challenge to meet these costs. It is likely that our city will have to make some painful choices in the coming year or two, including the possibility of a millage to bring our pension fund balance within compliance of state law.
My commitment to transparency with the city includes sharing news that may be hard to hear, not just good news. I will continue to bring you updates on this issue.
If you want to becoming involved in addressing this challenge, our Police and Fire Retirement Board is in need of a new member. You can see more about that role here: https://cityofypsilanti.com/247/Fire-and-Police-Retirement-Board
Link to report on our Police and Fire Pension Fund: Starting on page 20 https://cityofypsilanti.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12182018-1127?packet=true
Link to Public Act 345 regulating Police and Fire Pension Funds: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(2loviwfwqzhwllkfzuljizqt))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectName=mcl-act-345-of-1937
Saturday 1/5/19 2-4pm at Cultivate Coffee & Tap House, 307 N River Street, Ypsilanti
Come learn the Japanese art of folding paper & use your creativity to create new things. All supplies provided! Recommended Age 8 + (Kids are welcome but may want to have a grown up to help along the way with more difficult folding).
Intersections: Art Show and Hip Hop Concert at Riverside Arts Center
Friday 1/4/19 6-10pm at Riverside Arts Center, 76 N Huron Street, Ypsilanti
A showcase of Ypsi-based creatives. Gallery opens at 6pm. Hip Hop concert starts at 8pm featuring Scalelyfe, Tony Areon, Keena Winterz, Ward 1 Productions, Pro’le, Chace, Smok333, Zigidty, Jameelski, & DJ Helluva
There will be many MLK Day events to choose from sponsored by EMU, beginning Thursday January 17 through January 22. The Monday 1/21 Keynote Address will take place at the Student Center Auditorium at 2pm, and will feature Keith Boykin, New York Times bestselling author and TV's leading commentator on politics, race and sexual orientation. All events are free and open to the general public. See the entire schedule of events here: https://www.emich.edu/mlk/schedule/index.php
The Ypsilanti City Council will hold a Town Hall Meeting on January 15, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be located at the Ypsilanti Community/Senior Center at 1015 N. Congress, Ypsilanti. The meeting will discuss the potential of an Amtrak train stop in the City of Ypsilanti. The City invites all residents to attend this meeting or to send written comments to the City of Ypsilanti. The City will provide necessary auxiliary aids and services, such as signers for people with hearing disabilities or audio tapes of printed materials for people with vision disabilities, upon two days’ notice to the City of Ypsilanti: Those requiring these aids or services should contact the City of Ypsilanti at: City Clerk's Office, One South Huron Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 (734) 483-1100
The regulations surrounding medical marijuana in the state are constantly changing and constantly being challenged in court. Last week, the State ordered all provisioning centers (dispensaries) who were operating while they were going through the state licensing application process to shut down. This includes five of the seven provisioning centers in the City. The two provisioning centers operating are located at 539 S. Huron and 1090 Huron River Drive. All of these seven have permits from the City- which is something these businesses must acquire before being licensed by the State. Due to the ever-changing nature of medical marijuana licensing at the State level, we cannot predict what this closure means for these businesses.
The City has a cap in place for the number of provisioning centers we will permit within the City; that is currently set at 7. All seven of these permits are currently spoken for. We are, however, accepting applications for new provisioning centers; these will not be reviewed until and unless a permit becomes available. As a reminder, all of the Medical Marijuana Provisioning Centers cannot sell recreational marijuana.
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