On Monday evening, City Council met to discuss recycling services, contracting procedure and affordable housing throughout the city of Ann Arbor. There were eleven councilmembers present and about fifteen community members who spoke about various issues. 

Stephanie Mercier, a resident of the 4th Ward and the director of impact investments for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, focused on increasing the availability of affordable housing with allied services. She spoke on a resolution to order and determine an election ballot question for charter amendment for the 2021 Affordable Housing Millage (DC-6). 

Mercier discussed the impact of affordable housing across the country and its success. She said it will help to build thriving families and communities in Ann Arbor.

“I have also seen this firsthand here in Ann Arbor through my work a number of years ago as the housing coordinator for the Shelter Association for Washtenaw County,” Mercier said. “I saw individuals and families transform their lives, improving their health, income, education, stability and family and community connection.” 

Dan Ezekiel, an Ann Arbor resident and chair of the Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, spoke on a resolution to approve a services agreement and land and building lease with Recycle Ann Arbor for Materials Recovery Facility. Ezekiel speculated that this project will save approximately $250,000 to $550,000 per year over the current contract to process recyclables. In addition, he said that this facility will make a positive impact on our region’s carbon emissions and will create at least 20 union jobs.

“Since our MRF was closed as a sorting facility, verse capacity in Southeast Michigan has been at a premium and several towns have cut back or eliminated their programs,” Ezekiel said. “As a result, a restarted MRF will likely attract recyclables from communities throughout the region, and help cities restart their spoiled programs with all the carbon emission reductions.” 

When discussing the purchasing, contracting and selling procedures of Title I of the Code of the city of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-20-21), Councilmember Jack Eaton, D-Ward 4, spoke on the inclusivity of all bidders. 

Eaton discussed a resolution he brought forward a few years ago to better enforce the prevailing wage ordinance and mentioned that it would be an inconvenience to bidders and chase them away.

“I believe that we will end up with more bidders because right now if the advantage goes to a bidder who cuts corners and mistreats employees, a responsible bidder simply won’t bother bidding on work with the city,” Eaton said. “We want a responsible bidder, we want the work done right. We want the employees treated well. And, I think that this is the direction.” 

Daily Staff Reporter Brayden Hirsch can be reached at braydenh@umich.edu.

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