December 2017 - March 2018
Post-election Controversy Emerges and the City Council Majority Responds
Passage of the Mental Health and Public Safety Millage led to an increase in citizens' interest in how the resulting funds would be used. Ann Arbor residents favoring improved mental health and public safety services were disappointed, and in some cases dismayed, and often surprised the City Council majority intended to spend a portion of the revenue from the Millage on climate change actions having nothing to do with mental health or public safety services. Informal conversations about this frustration were commonplace in December 2017 and early January 2018.
Those desiring a change in City policy began to see each other in organized meetings of two or three people in late January 2018. The first organized meeting with a City official that we are aware of is a meeting of two people with Mayor Taylor in February. The movement continued to grow. Advocates formed Citizens for Mental Health & Public Safety in mid-March.
Advocates for using the funds solely for mental health and public safety services emphasized two points:
This is what most people thought they were voting for. Accountability to citizens demands the funds be used for mental health and public safety.
The benefits to the Ann Arbor community from using the funds for mental health and public safety would be greater than those achieved with spending on climate change actions.
Position of the Ann Arbor City Council Majority
The City Council majority* who favor spending 40% of the Mental Health and Public Safety Millage revenues on climate change actions maintain the voting public were informed of the Council's intent at the time of the election. The majority state: a) they announced their intent prior to the election in the form of a City Council resolution, b)this resolution was covered in the local news outlet, MLive, and that this coverage led to widespread awareness, and c)they and others disseminated the information to email contacts in their address books.
*The majority includes Mayor Christopher Taylor and Council members Zachary Ackerman, Julie Grand, Graydon Krapohl, Chip Smith, Chuck Warpehoski, and Kirk Westphal. See details of the Council members' positions.