At Monday night’s Ann Arbor City Council meeting, several minor resolutions passed and the installation of Smart Meters — electrical devices that trace the use of energy in an individual’s home, powered by DTE Energy — in Ann Arbor was the hot topic during the public commentary portion.

Smart Meters have come up in other Council meetings in the last few months without much interest, but at Monday’s meeting “Smart Meter” seemed to be a buzzword, evoking strong sentiments from Ann Arbor residents who spoke.

According to councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2), issues concerning Smart Meters include potential harm from radiation and lack of privacy.

“People obviously have concerns about the health effects, and also there’s been this issue raised by lots of people about the invasion of privacy,” she said in an interview after the meeting.

Lumm added that she doesn’t share the same concern.

“I personally don’t think DTE’s going to turn around and disseminate … this information in nefarious ways,” she said.

During the general public commentary section, Michael Benson — president of the Rackham Student Government and a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering — said Smart Meters are a “non-issue” for emitting dangerous radiation.

“They just said a number of things that were blatantly false,” he said.

Benson added that while Smart Meters do produce radiation, the level doesn’t exceed the level produced by common appliances such as iPods and cell phones.

“The power levels we’re talking about here are well within the FCC’s allowable healthy variant,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense for me personally, from a policy point of view, to ban something that is well within what the experts say is OK.”

City Council also passed resolutions approving contracts for general maintenance around the city. The projects, each valued at $100,000 or greater, included work on water mains, pavement markings and landfill maintenance.

An additional $1.4 million for contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was approved to give coverage to current and retired city employees and their dependents.

The Mayor’s office also officially proclaimed July 15, 2012, as Huron River Day. A new triathlon will be held on Huron River Day with kayaking on the Huron River replacing the traditional swimming event in triathalons.

Managing Editor Giacomo Bologna contributed to this report.

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