In the News

Sunday, October 24, the Ann Arbor News endorsed Jane’s candidacy.  Here is the text that did not appear in the print version of the Ann Arbor News endorsement.

Over her two terms on council, Lumm has stayed true to her
‘Independent” stance. With a detail-oriented approach to reviewing council matters, Lumm frequently brings forth much-needed debate and perspective before a final vote.

Lumm also has shown a strong loyalty to her ward and regularly seeks out answers and solutions for her constituents while maintaining perspective on the greater needs of the city.

While many of Petersen’s visions for Ann Arbor, like the redevelopment of the North Main riverfront, would be a game changer for the city, there are more pressing matters requiring a more hands-on approach we believe Lumm would be better suited for over the next two years.

Council will see a substantial shake-up this winter, and the city is in a time of leadership transition amid several key staff vacancies. We believe Lumm’s institutional knowledge and willingness to challenge her colleagues and staff will be vital in bridging the gap as new hires are recruited to fill openings.

Here is a link to the full article in MLive]

Here is a link to the Ann Arbor News Letters to the Editor on November 1

Following are a few recent issues and the local news media’s coverage of Jane’s activities and leadership.  Click on a title to go to the news coverage on the issue.

Deer Management

Responding to constituent concerns, Jane raised the issue of growing deer populations and the resulting problems at City Council. Jane’s first Council resolution kicked off the process in May 2014 and her second resolution in August 2014 authorized funds for the City to conduct the study and develop a Deer Management Plan.

On May 18, 2015, Jane authored a budget amendment passed unanimously by Council to increase funding in the city’s FY15-16 budget by $50,000 to reflect the estimated costs of the recommendations included in the City’s May 7, 2015 Final Report. The budget amendment also addressed other recommendations in the report including adopting a feeding ban city-wide.

Throughout the year-long process, Jane has assumed the leadership role on Council, actively participating in the study and public meetings.

Ann Arbor News (May 19, 2014)

  • “The concerns and frustrations being expressed are primarily related to the damage the deer are causing to our natural environment – flowers, shrubs, trees, native species,” said Council Member Jane Lumm, who brought the issue forward at Monday night’s council meeting. “But there are also significant concerns about public safety, deer crashes and public health, ticks and Lyme disease.”

JaneAtCouncilTableCouncil Member Jane Lumm is leading the charge on
the effort to come up with a deer management plan for Ann Arbor
Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News

Ann Arbor Observer (February 2015)

  • When the new group (Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance) approached city council members, it found Ward 2 Independent Jane Lumm most willing to listen.
  • By early Summer, Banet says, “Jane saw she had public support and was willing to stick her neck out” by writing a resolution in collaboration with city administrator Steve Powers.
  • Adopted unanimously by city council in May, the resolution asked staff to prepare a report on options for managing the deer population in consultation with the county parks, the U-M, the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Ann Arbor News (May 18, 2015)

  • Lumm and Kailasapathy want to increase the budget for deer management from $40,000 to $90,000. They propose eliminating $30,000 in funding for public art, while tapping the city’s general fund cash reserves for the other $20,000 with a note that the city would ask the University of Michigan to reimburse the city for that.

Ann Arbor News (May 19, 2015)

  • Later in the meeting, the council voted unanimously to increase the proposed budget for deer management from $40,000 to $90,000. Council members said they simply wanted to make sure there was placeholder funding in the budget for the deer management plan, regardless of method.

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Reimagine Washtenaw Corridor Study

Concerned that the County-led Washtenaw Avenue Corridor Study had not adequately engaged those most impacted – neighbors who use Washtenaw regularly and the corridor businesses – Jane led the effort to ensure the input of the key stakeholders was obtained.

Jane’s two Council resolutions postponed Council action on the study pending further review with the stakeholders and established a date for a public hearing on the Corridor Study at the June 1st City Council meeting. After obtaining agreement from her council colleagues to postpone action to obtain additional stakeholder input, Jane hosted an information forum April 15th with corridor business owners and neighbors who use Washtenaw regularly.

Then, on April 20th and again June 1st , Jane introduced an alternative resolution of support for the study that (compared with the blanket approval of all recommendations Council was being asked to make) was more balanced, practical and reflective of the corridor’s primary need which is to improve vehicle traffic flow.

The substitute resolution was defeated on 5-6 votes at both meetings; on June 1st, Council passed the resolution of blanket support.

Ann Arbor News (February 18, 2015)

  • “At the end of the day, the amount of public input was almost non-existent,” said Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward. Expressing skepticism of the ReImagine Washtenaw vision, Lumm said some people might not like that the corridor is “auto centric,” but one of its primary purposes is to provide access to the state highway. She cited statistics that there are more than 45,000 average daily vehicle trips on Washtenaw Avenue, making it the second-busiest roadway in Ann Arbor next to South State Street.
  • Fundamentally transforming the corridor “based on the concepts of placemaking, complete streets and walkable communities,” Lumm said, might not be very reasonable, practical or beneficial on Washtenaw Avenue. “The recommendations here for narrowing vehicle lanes to 11 feet from the existing 12-14 feet, for continuous buffered bike lanes, and for mid-block crosswalks, likely will make vehicle flow and congestion worse, and perhaps less safe,” she said.
  • Lumm said there are many businesses along the corridor whose very survival depends on auto travel and access.

Ann Arbor News (April 21, 2015)

  • “Council has been asked to not just accept the Reimagine Washtenaw study, but to support and endorse all of its recommendations”, said Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the Second Ward, who remains skeptical of the vision. “Those recommendations are significant and dramatic and will form the blueprint for future action” she said.
  • Lumm pushed for the postponement to give the public another chance to weigh in on the Reimagine Washtenaw vision. She argued that since the recommendations would fundamentally alter the second busiest corridor in the city, it’s worth getting the extra public input.

Ann Arbor News (June 2, 2015)

  • After months of debate and discussion, the Ann Arbor City Council voted 10-1 to offer an endorsement of the Reimagine Washtenaw Vision. The lone dissenter was 2nd ward Council member Jane Lumm, who lives off Washtenaw Avenue and shares concerns she’s heard from others that elements of the study could create even worse traffic congestion
  • Lumm proposed a substitute resolution Monday night that would have offered an endorsement of improving conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders but emphasizing the highest priority must be improving traffic flow.
  • The substitute resolution, similar to the one Lumm proposed two months ago was voted down by the same 6-5 split as in April

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Sidewalk Snow Removal Ordinance

The ongoing Council discussions regarding revising the city’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance is a good example of Jane’s continually bringing a refreshing, common sense perspective to the council table and voice of reason in shaping balanced, practical and reasonable policies.

During this debate, Jane has been the leading voice on Council to retain the ordinance’s existing one-inch threshold/trigger (rather than to require property owners to remove snow and ice every time it snows, even a trace).

Jane also introduced amendments supported unanimously by her council colleagues to provide discretion to the City’s Community Standards Officers in enforcement of the ordinance.

Ann Arbor News (March 3, 2015)

  • Council Members Jack Eaton and Jane Lumm, who don’t support eliminating the one-inch threshold, cast the dissenting votes Monday night.
  • “This is obviously a very big deal,” said Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward who shared similar objections. Lumm said it doesn’t seem fair and reasonable to expect homeowners to shovel their sidewalks every time there’s even a trace of snow. Responding to Lumm’s concerns, Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, proposed an amendment to keep the one-inch threshold in the ordinance, but the council voted 6-5 in favor of doing away with it.

Ann Arbor News (March 16, 2015)

  • Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward, said she continues to be troubled by — and won’t support — the major elements of the ordinance changes that passed at first reading, particularly eliminating the one-inch threshold. “In my view, the added work, which would be quite substantial for literally thousands of residents, just isn’t justified by the benefits that would result,” she said.
  • She said she also has concerns about changing the enforcement process to allow just one warning per property per season, as well as the proposed change making property owners responsible for clearing bus stops.

Ann Arbor News (March 17, 2015)

  • The council voted unanimously in favor of changes proposed by 2nd Ward Council Member Jane Lumm to give the city’s community standards officers some discretion when it comes to enforcement, allowing them to make judgment calls about whether there’s “reasonably unimpeded passage” on a sidewalk.

Ann Arbor News (July 7, 2015)

  • To increase enforceability of the ordinance, the new rules would give residents only one warning per season before tickets can be issued by the city. Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward, said Monday night she’s still not comfortable with giving residents only one warning per season. She said that seems harsh and she doesn’t want to see residents with good intentions hit with hundreds of dollars in fines because they were slow to clear their sidewalks.
  • Lumm said there are practical considerations in terms of how that plays out for people such as seniors and the disabled, and people who spend chunks of time out of town in the winter and contract with a service provider for snow and ice removal. “So, if you’re out of town, you’re not going to see that warning necessarily,” Lumm argued. “And then you’ve got suddenly this fine to deal with.”
  • Lumm said she has heard from a number of people who’ve checked with snow removal contractors in town that they don’t come out until there’s two inches of snow on the ground. She said the proposal under consideration presents a financial hardship for residents who will find it a burden to meet the city’s expectations.

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Ann Arbor City Budget

The city budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year was approved by City Council on May 18th . The City Administrator presents his recommended budget in April and Council has until the end of May to adopt/amend the proposal (or the Administrator’s recommendation is automatically adopted).

Click here for Jane’s primer on understanding the city budget

Jane initiated five amendments to the Administrator’s proposal (1) funding for Deer management (2) establishing a streetlight fund and process (3) adding two police officers (4) restoring Fall leaf and holiday tree pickup and (5) restructuring the city’s pension plan for new hires. Jane co-sponsored two initiated by CM Kailasapathy.

Link to Council Budget Amendments and Discussions

Ann Arbor News (May 18, 2015)

  • Council members are considering a wide range of changes to City Administrator Steve Powers’ recommended budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Here’s a quick roundup of drafted budget amendments:
    • Deer management – Lumm and Kailasapathy want to increase the budget for deer management from $40,000 to $90,000. They propose eliminating $30,000 in funding for public art, while tapping the city’s general fund cash reserves for the other $20,000, with a note that the city could ask the University of Michigan to reimburse the city for that. The city’s administration recently recommended council move forward with hiring sharpshooters to conduct annual deer culls in the city.
    • New streetlight fund – Lumm and Kailasapathy propose using $125,000 to establish a dedicated fund for new streetlights, using savings from forgoing a renovation of the council chambers. They also are already proposing putting another $100,000 into the fund in 2016-17.
    • Police staffing – Lumm is proposing a $154,470 budget increase to hire two additional police officers, increasing the Ann Arbor Police Department’s full-time employee count from 149 to 151. The proposal leaves it up to the police chief to determine how the officers are deployed, but Lumm suggests they do community engagement work. Lumm’s police staffing proposal requests the DDA consider allocating at least $154,470 to support public safety efforts in the downtown area. If the DDA isn’t willing to cooperate, Lumm suggests finding the money elsewhere in the city budget, possibly by cutting expenses in the human resources and field operations units, and holding the administrator’s operating contingency at last year’s level of $182,974.
    • Leaf and tree pickup – Lumm and Kailasapathy propose increasing the budget by $747,080 to restore holiday tree pickup and bulk collection of leaves raked into city streets. Both services were eliminated during a previous round of budget cuts in 2010.
    • City pensions – Lumm proposes issuing a directive to the city administrator to prepare a revised pension plan design for new hires that moves the city away from a defined-benefit plan to a defined-contribution plan and results in lower costs to the city. She wants the administrator to work with the council’s budget and labor committee to bring forward a new plan design by Dec. 31, 2015, with the intent that the revised plan will be applied to all new employees hired after Dec. 31, 2016, unless in conflict with existing collective bargaining agreements for unionized city workers.

Ann Arbor News (May 5, 2015) – On Proposed FY15-16 Water/Sewer Rate Increases

  • Council Member Jane Lumm said she supported past utility rate increases because taking care of the city’s infrastructure, including the water and sewer systems, is a top priority. “The city’s water, sewer and storm water infrastructure is large — about $400 million in assets — and like most cities, the infrastructure is old and the capital replacement costs are significant,” she said.
  • “I’ll support reasonable increases if they’re for infrastructure and capital, but not if they’re largely paying for administrative costs,” she said.

Ann Arbor News (April 7, 2015) – On Addressing The City’s Legacy Costs

  • Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward, said she was concerned about the pension provisions. She wants to see the city transition from a defined benefit plan to a less-costly defined contribution plan. “Several of our recent bargaining unit agreements have included language stating that the new hires in the unit would move to an alternate pension plan at the same time nonunion new hires move, and this agreement does not have that language,” she said.
  • She added, “There are a number of economic reasons the majority of employers have already made the change to defined contribution structures. They’re more predictable, lower cost, and less volatile. Plus it’s reasonable to ask if it’s fair to taxpayers that they pay for city employee benefit plans more generous than they themselves enjoy.”
  • Lumm said she’s been raising the same concerns for years and she hasn’t gotten much support from the city’s leadership, but she’s going to continue to press the issue because the city needs to gain better control over legacy costs.

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 2nd Ward Residential Developments – South Pond Village and Woodbury Club Apartments

There are three large residential developments proposed in the Second Ward:

  • South Pond Village – 73 single family homes on 36 acres near Arborland
  • Nixon Farms (North and South) – 472 carriage and town houses on 102 acres on West side of Nixon Rd just South of M-14
  • Woodbury Club Apartments – 282 apartment units on 54 acres on East side of Nixon Road just South of M-14

As the proposed development projects progress through the planning review and council approval processes, Jane has actively worked with neighbors to ensure their concerns and issues are addressed.

For the South Pond Village project, Jane initiated the proposal supported unanimously by her council colleagues to postpone a decision on approval of the project site plan pending further staff review of site access alternatives.

Ann Arbor News (June 16, 2015) – On South Pond Village

  • Council members sent the site plan back to city staff Monday night, specifically asking for further exploration of a primary access drive from the north, off East Huron River Drive. They acknowledge they might run into issues with impacts to wetlands, and it might not prove to be the best solution, but some council members made it known they can’t support the site plan at this point.
  • “I’m not convinced we’ve done the necessary due diligence on access alternatives to conclude the proposal here is, in fact, the best access alternative,” said Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward.
  • Lumm, who questions traffic impact studies that have found South Pond Village would not change the level of service at the Chalmers/Washtenaw intersection, said she expects an exhaustive, deep-dive exploration of site access alternatives.
  • She said she still has files from her time on council in the mid-1990s when the Woodcreek development was proposed, and site access was a big issue then, just as it is today, and it warrant closer examination.

Ann Arbor News (June 16, 2015) – On Woodbury Club Apartments

  • Council Member Jane Lumm, an independent from the 2nd Ward, said she’s glad the various requests for approval are coming to council one at a time.
  • Lumm said it’s important to consider the collective impacts of the developments, and residents have justifiable concerns about traffic. “Traffic is a problem now, and together the projects add over 1,650 new parking spaces — 564 for Woodbury and 1,100 for Nixon Farms,” she said. “Obviously that’s a lot of new vehicles and traffic added to an already problematic area.”
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