With the economy recovering and property tax revenues rising, the latest city budget increases staff in safety services, though not in other city departments. Whether this is enough to help the mayor and his allies retain control of council, or whether the decade of cuts and wrangling about the budget will be enough to wrest it away, will be known only after the election. But lines have been drawn, and July will see the battle joined.
Independent Jane Lumm’s victory over Stephen Rapundalo last fall trimmed the council party’s majority to seven votes. Though all the challengers are running as Democrats, they’re a very different flavor from Hieftje and his allies—and just two more victories in August’s primary would be enough to shift the balance of power away from the mayor.
This article has been edited since it appeared in the July 2012 Ann Arbor Observer. The wards contested by Eaton-Teall and Armentrout-Warpehoski have been corrected.
[Originally published in July, 2012.]