Monday’s Ann Arbor City Council meeting continued the discussion on approving the addition of Ypsilanti Township as a member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and finally reached a vote on divestment from fossil fuel industries.
A resolution asking the pension board to was passed Monday evening following an amendment from Councilmember Christopher Taylor (D–Ward 3) that softened the resolution language to “request” action from the pension board rather than “urge” the board.
Arguments for and against the resolution echoed those voiced at previous meetings: Those in favor are looking to support the mostly symbolic resolution, whereas those opposed raised concerns of the implications of actually divesting.
LSA sophomore Laura Hobbs, an organizer of the Divest and Invest Campaign on campus, said in an interview Monday evening that the passed resolution was a success for the group — even with the lighter wording.
“Ann Arbor really made the decision tonight to join a handful of other cities nationally that have committed to divestment,” Hobbs said. “However it’s worded, I think taking that step is great.”
Council votes on expanding AAATA to include Ypsilanti Township representative
The decision to add Ypsilanti Township as a member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority was postponed by an 8-3 vote following a long discussion between members of City Council and Michael Ford, the chief executive officer for The Ride.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje spoke in favor of adding membership, saying the seat is long overdue and won’t affect specific budgetary issues. Ford repeatedly stressed to council members that Ypsilanti Township has met all the requirements laid out in the past and the proposal asked for including the township only as an AAATA member.
In an interview after the meeting, Ford, having spoken with several council members before Monday night, said he was surprised by the postponement and had the impression the proposal was generally supported.
“I think there was a lot of good information provided ahead of time,” Ford said. “We’ve been here before: We went through a county-wide process, we shift directions, they asked us to move us this process forward, we bring it back and it get delays a little bit more.”
Several council members, including Marcia Higgins (D–Ward 4), Sumi Kailasapathy (D–Ward 1) and Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2), among others, said while they would likely support the proposal, many of their questions have yet to be answered because Ann Arbor residents haven’t yet had the opportunity to be involved.
“I want to be able to hear them fully support it, and knowing that my constituents have had every opportunity to have their questions answered,” said Sally Petersen (D–Ward 2).