After vacating her seat on Ann Arbor City Council during an unsuccessful attempt at the 2014 mayoral race, Sally Hart Petersen said she hopes to regain a spot.
Petersen pulled petitions from the city clerk’s office to run as a Democrat in city’s Ward 2 earlier this week. She will have to gather signatures from 100 voters to secure her name on the August primary ballot.
Petersen is running for the seat of Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2). In an interview with The Ann Arbor News earlier this week, Lumm said she said she would “most likely” seek re-election this year.
Petersen served on City Council for two years as a Democrat for the Second Ward before losing to Christopher Taylor in the mayoral race last year. She plans to run for City Council to continue working on projects started during her previous terms.
“I still have so much unfinished business I want to continue to work on,” she said in an interview with The Michigan Daily.
One of those projects involves economic development for Ann Arbor.
“I feel very strongly that the city needs to pursue a sustainable fiscal policy so that we can earn more revenue in order to pay for all of the wonderful things that we want to do in our community,” Petersen said.
Petersen said Ann Arbor’s main revenue comes from property taxes, so Ann Arbor needs to focus on maintaining and introducing more companies and jobs to the city to promote economic activity and increase property tax values.
Petersen added that, as a result of major budget cuts in 2009 and 2010, Ann Arbor’s basic city services have suffered.
“Now the economy is better, but we need to increase our bottom line so that we can restore services to where they were,” Petersen said.
Petersen also plans to improve relations between the city of Ann Arbor and the University.
“There is this pent-up resentment among the city and among the city’s residents that the University of Michigan doesn’t pay taxes, and we have to provide all these services to U of M employees and students, for which they’re not compensating the city,” Petersen said.
However, she said City Council must put aside this resentment and find ways to collaborate with the University to promote job and company growth in Ann Arbor.
Petersen, who is currently chairwoman of Ann Arbor’s Commission on Disability Issues, said she also intends to raise awareness on City Council about issues faced by people with disabilities.
Specifically, Petersen noted that the current crosswalk ordinance in Ann Arbor creates ambiguity and poses a danger to residents with disabilities. The local ordinance states that drivers must stop for pedestrians waiting on the curb. However, because University police officers follow state law, they can’t enforce the ordinance.
“There’s some ambiguity that, through better communication, the city and the University can help to resolve,” she said.