The Ann Arbor City Council is joining Washtenaw County in expediting the creation of a new revenue stream action to fix the city’s roads.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Councilmember Christopher Taylor (D–Ward 3), the Democratic nominee for mayor, proposed a resolution in support of a county proposal to levy a 0.5-mill tax for the improvement of existing roads and infrastructure.

The resolution — essentially a show of support for the county’s proposal — passed with a 10-1 vote, with only Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) dissenting. Five councilmembers co-sponsored the resolution, including Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3), Sally Hart Petersen (D–Ward 2) and Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5), along with Taylor.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners created a committee in July to analyze the possibility of using Act 283, which permits the county commissioners to levy taxes without voter approval. The committee’s report is expected to be released Wednesday.

The money collected from taxpayers will only repair existing civil infrastructure, and improvements include surface treatments, repaving and a mixture of maintenance treatments for roads.

“The county has an opportunity to raise a one year millage from the county and from the city,” Taylor said. “Ann Arbor residents demand better roads. To have better roads, we need more money, and I know the county will be talking about their options but I hope they will decide to provide this extra money.”

While the city has no control over the decisions of the Board of Commissioners, Taylor said he hopes to encourage the board, which includes Ann Arbor City Administrator Steve Powers, to pass this millage.

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said the proposal is a good temporary solution in the absence of action by the state because it only applies to one year of taxes.

The board is considering putting this decision on the ballot for referendum in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. If approved, Ann Arbor would receive an additional $2.4 million for road repairs.

In a memo to the Council and Hieftje, Powers said street maintenance and repair is a necessity in Ann Arbor.

This one-year proposal would apply only to infrastructure maintenance in 2015, and the tax would be levied in December 2014.

Councilmember Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) said the millage is not a long-term solution.

“The state enabling constitution allows the county to do this one time, but each year you do it you must specify the roads that will be maintained and the cost of that maintenance,” Briere said. “It is very specific and very directed. If they are able, they could bring it back again next year, but they would have to designate different roads and different costs.”

Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5) said road maintenance is like changing the oil in a car, meaning the more time that passes without a resolution, the more costly the problem becomes. However, Warpehoski said it is the state’s responsibility to find a long-term solution to repair the roads.

Lumm, the only council member to dissent, expressed concerns about raising taxes.

“I certainly think we need to fix the roads, but this is about us taking the decision away from voters on taxes without giving them any time to react,” Lumm said. “Voters should decide all tax questions.”

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