City Council approves renovation of pumping stations and amendment on signage

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Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D-Ward 3) looks back during Monday's meeting of the City Council Buy this photo

By Aaron Guggenheim, Managing News Editor
Published June 18, 2013

The Ann Arbor City Council met Monday night to discuss a number of resolutions and ordinances, including some minor amendments to previous ordinances.

The council discussed and approved, among a number of issues, collective bargaining with unions representing the Ann Arbor Police Department, minor amendments to the 2014 fiscal budget that would put it into closer alignment with expected expenses and resolutions to provide weapons screening services and sobriety programs for the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor.

Contract to improve Ann Arbor Pumping Stations passed

Council members approved a major contract with Shaw Electrical Company, expected to cost $3.53 million, to renovate the electrical components of the Barton and South Industrial pumping stations, which provide much of the drinking water for the city.

The project will help improve an “integral part” of the city’s drinking water system, a memorandum passed to council members stated.

“Neither site is compliant with National Electrical Code and (this) creates an unsafe working condition for city staff,” the memorandum read.

The Shaw Electrical Company, which had the lowest bid for the project, will work to replace the primary and secondary switchgears at the Barton Pump Station and replace the electrical controls and a check valve at the South Industrial Pump Station.

The measure was passed unanimously without discussion.

Signage ordinance amended

Another amendment the council discussed was related to further limiting the nature of signs that could be placed within Ann Arbor, specifically ruling out certain digital signage.

Councilmember Chris Taylor (D-Ward 3), who proposed the amendment, said his proposal would help limit the blight of increased signage in Ann Arbor.

“They are very present in the mindscape and landscape of the city’s citizens,” Taylor said. “It is good they do not expand beyond their current boundaries or current character.”

Councilmember Sally Peterson (D-Ward 2) disagreed with Taylor, and said limiting the nature of signs would hurt local business and industry.

“Preserving the status quo moves us backward and not forward and undermines the economic development opportunities of some of our locally grown business,” Peterson said.

She added that the amendment, by not being clear enough in relation to sign placement, promotes blight rather than alleviates it.

The measure was passed with only two dissenting votes, cast by Peterson and Councilmember Marcia Higgins (D-Ward 4).