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Parks millage passes, public art and library measures defeated

By Adam Rubenfire, Daily News Editor
Published November 7, 2012

Two of three local ballot proposals before Ann Arbor voters were defeated on Tuesday.

Proposal B, which would have approved a 3-year tax that would garner $459,273 in revenue to fund public art projects, was defeated after a vote of 44 percent in favor and 56 percent opposed.

The proposal was backed by Citizens for Art in Public Places, which held several fundraisers at area restaurants and halls, including an event at Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje’s residence.

The public art millage would have also extended funds to temporary art and performance art, which previously could not be funded with city funds.

By a slightly smaller margin, Proposal C, which asked voters in Ann Arbor and surrounding townships to approve a $65-million bond for 30 years to finance the erection of a new library facility in place of the current building at Fifth Avenue and William Street, fell short of passage in a vote of 45 percent in favor and 55 percent opposed.

Margaret Leary, the president of the AADL Trustees and former director of the University’s Law Library, said in an Oct. 18 interview that the library building doesn’t fulfill many standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and has a difficult and expensive upkeep.

Ellie Serras, chair of the Our New Library ballot committee, argued that the library currently does not have the capacity to suit resident demand, and is not energy efficient.

However, Katherine Griswold — the treasurer of Protect Our Libraries, a ballot organization that opposed the proposal — was weary of city officials’s ability to stay within budget on a library construction project. She also noted that the interest rate on a bond could cause actual costs to skyrocket.

The only item that succeeded was Proposal A, which asked voters to renew a 2006 millage that gives $5 million a year to help support and maintain city parks. It passed with 68.4 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

60 to 80 percent of the millage funds will go toward city park maintenance and the remainder will fund capital improvements to parks, such as new facilities or equipment.

Park officials have indicated that the millage will fund several new projects, which may include trail improvements at the Leslie Science and Nature Center, tennis court replacements at Windemere Park and recreational field improvements at Veteran’s Memorial Park.


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