Monday’s City Council meeting will feature two new faces — newly elected members Chip Smith (D–Ward 5) and LSA senior Zachary Ackerman (D–Ward 3) — and a variety of topics of discussion, including the selection of a police chief, winter housing for the homeless and potential relocation options for the historic Arthur Miller House.
The meeting will be held in the City Council chambers in Larcom City Hall at 7 p.m.
Resolution to appoint the new chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department
City Administrator Steve Powers announced Thursday he would recommend City Council appoint James White, an assistant chief with the Detroit Police Department, as the new AAPD police chief.
White was one of three finalists in the running for Ann Arbor police chief, including Interim Police Chief Jim Baird. Interviews with the finalists were conducted in the beginning of November.
John Seto, former AAPD police chief, announced his retirement in May after 25 years with the department. In September, he accepted a role with the University as the director of Housing Security and Safety Services, which is where he began his career.
If he’s confirmed, White will assume the position Jan. 11, 2016.
Winter shelter plans
City Council is slated to vote on approving an allocation of up to $89,040 for the Winter Emergency Shelter and Warming Center Response.
The Washtenaw Housing Alliance and the Office of Community & Economic Development came together to form a winter shelter workgroup in late August to address winter shelter needs in the city. In reviewing shelter operations from the 2014-2015 winter season, the group found that while the city’s response worked well overall, there were challenges with logistics and transportation.
Consequently, the group recommended the council provide funding for two overnight warming centers in Ann Arbor, which provide a temporary shelter for homeless individuals at night in churches and community centers. It also recommended $11,000 in funding for hotel and motel vouchers, as well as $18,000 to fund transportation to the warming centers.
In their recommendations, the group assumed Ann Arbor will have an extreme cold-weather winter, and prioritized those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Eight out of 10 council members will need to vote in favor of the request for it to pass.
Arthur Miller House relocation
The council will hear a report from City Administrator Steve Powers about potential plans to relocate the historic Arthur Miller House.
At the Oct. 19 council meeting, a resolution was approved directing Powers to report on the feasibility of relocating the Arthur Miller House to Liberty Plaza.
The house, located at 439 S. Division St., was noted playwright Arthur Miller’s first residence when he attended the University in 1934. The University has indicated plans to repurpose the land for other purposes, prompting concerns from historical preservation groups that the building might be lost in the process.
As part of the council’s directive, city staff and the city’s interim building official inspected the building to ensure the house can be successfully relocated and will still be usable by the public afterward.
The inspection assessed compliance with Michigan building codes and the condition of building generally, as well as consulted with a building relocation company to determine whether the house could be moved.
The council will be hear the report’s findings and the company’s budget estimate for a move.
Indigenous Peoples Day
Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5) will present a resolution to name the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The date would coincide with Columbus Day, which also falls on the second Monday of October.
Several cities in Michigan, such as Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Alpena, have approved similar resolutions. Many cities have adopted the holiday, which honors the contributions and culture of Native Americans, as an alternative celebration to Columbus Day.