Seeking a third term in office, Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor discusses his priorities ahead of the upcoming Nov. 8 general election against candidate Eric Lipson.
Taylor has served as Mayor of Ann Arbor since November 2014.
After serving three terms on Ann Arbor City Council, Taylor states that he’s focused on prioritizing Ann Arbor’s Community Climate Action Millage.
According to Ann Arbor’s government website, “Ann Arbor’s Community Climate Action Millage is a request for funding to support the city’s ambitious climate and equity goal – achieving a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. The millage would provide the resources needed to immediately begin creating, implementing, and scaling programs and services to make progress locally and regionally towards this goal.”
“The community climate action millage will mean direct services for people today,” said Taylor. “This will provide expanded recycling and composting, particularly to multifamily units where they’re currently underserved in energy efficiency programs. Particularly for lower income areas where they’re generally underserved, which will improve health, comfort and of course, cost support for the purchase of electric appliances, which are going to improve the carbon footprint, but also be cheaper and more efficient to use.”
The first step to the Community Climate Action Millage is called the A2ZERO proposal, which is the City of Ann Arbor’s plan for achieving a transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.
However, Taylor says the A2ZERo plan is currently hampered by a lack of funding.
“We have some funding for it, but it’s not adequate,” Taylor said. “To the voters, we’ve rolled out a request for additional funding, so that we could achieve community wide equity driven carbon neutrality for the city by the year 2030.”
Some of the goals of the Community Climate Action Mileage plan include powering Ann Arbor electrical grid with 100% clean and renewable energy, Cutting the miles traveled in vehicles by at least 50% and switching to electric appliances and vehicles
Taylor states that in addition to his plan for community-wide carbon neutrality, he also wants to focus on Ann Arbor’s affordable housing.
“Our tools are limited, we cannot implement rent control, that subject it’s limited by state law,” Taylor said. “However, we can take action, and we can alter the playing field. What we do is that we ourselves build permanent affordable housing. And that’s something that we’re going to do.”
Ann Arbor recently passed an affordable housing millage. According to an article published by Michigan NPR, this millage will help construct, acquire or subsidize up to 1,500 housing units for people making 60% or less of the median area income.
The millage will also provide support services, including eviction prevention, to help homeless people find and retain housing.
“We want as many folks working in Ann Arbor, who want to live in Ann Arbor, to have that opportunity,” said Taylor. “Washtenaw County, back in 2015, was determined to be the eighth most economically segregated county in America. And because this is America, that means racial segregation as well. We know that the housing policies of the past 50-100 years are informed by white supremacy and goals with respect to keeping people apart. That’s not what we’re looking for in the future. We’re looking to bring people together and provide them with places to live in our city.”
Regarding current ordinances, Taylor states that his favorite accomplishment this year was the ordinance requiring all public bathrooms to provide sanitary products, including pads and tampons, to users at no cost.
“Ann Arbor is the only city in the United States that requires menstrual products in all public restrooms,” Taylor said. “That’s something that we accomplished, it is common sense. It should be a cultural expectation in the city of Ann Arbor and it is.”
This ordinance became effective Jan. 1 applying to all public restrooms in the city of Ann Arbor without regard to gender designation.
With the election set on November 8th, Taylor states that his, and city council’s mission is to continue to improve basic services and enhance quality of life.
“I’m incredibly excited about the work that we can still accomplish,” said Taylor. “We’re going to focus on roads, we’re going to focus on water, we’re going to focus on police and parks to make sure that we work on quality of life issues. We’re going to work on affordability, with respect to housing in particular, we’re going to focus with respect to equity and how we do our business.”