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November 12, 1946 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1946-11-12

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TUE9Dt1Y, NOVEMBER 12, 1944















(With Apologies to Aldermen Saunders and Frederick Who Voted Against the So-Called Settlement with the Regents)

The Honorable
The Common Council of the City of Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Re-Lucking, Plaintiff v City of Ann Arbor, et. a. Washtenaw Cir-
cuit Court, In Chancery, No. 374q
Honorable Sirs:
Please let me call to your Council's attention a few very important
facts and legal rules-which bear upon and govern the present Resolution
of the Regents of the University-
offering the City of Ann Arbor about $20,000 annually for future
police protection to the University.
(1) The Government's Payments to the Taxpayers of Washington.
(2) The Present Chancery Action cannot be settled without the
Court's approval.
(3) Circuit Judge Toms' Rulings on October 22nd, 1946.
(4) The Plaintiff's Offer to have your Common Council vote on
the Regents' Resolution.
(5) Conclusion of Letter-and the Congressional Committee's Recom-
mendations for Government payments to the Taxpayers of Washington,
D. C.
At the end of this letter, you will find the Recommendations-
contained in the Report of the Sub-Committee on the District of
Columbia, of the Committee on Appropriations of the United States Con-
gress-as presented by Senator O'Mahoney, Chairman.
The recommendations ask the Federal Government to contribute an-
nually-a sum of money to the Taxpayers of the City of Washington, for
running the City of Washington-
based on and proportionate to the assessed value of all taxable prop-
erty-as compared with the assessed value of all non-taxable real property
and buildings in the District of Columbia, belonging to the United States.
Thus-by this Recommendation-
(a) The Federal Government would pay annually to help the tax-
payers operate the City of Washington, one-third of that City's total an-
nual expense-since the assessed value of all taxable real property, in the
District of Columbia in 1945 was about $1,300,000,000 and the assessed
value of the real property of the United States Government was about
On this basis-of proportionate Values of real property as so recom-
mended for Washington-
the State of Michigan should contribute annually to the City of Ann
Arbor-for its budget of running expenses-at least three-fifths thereof-
or on the basis of $725,000 as the present City of Ann Arbor's annual
expenses-at least $400,000 should be paid annually to Ann Arbor by the
State of Michigan-
At the end of this letter-your Common Council will find the "Recom.
mendations" of this Joint Committee of Congress-for Help to the Tax-
payers of the City of Washington.
Please read them carefully-and note how well they apply to the
State of Michigan and the Regents and your own Taxpayers of Ann
SECOND: This pending chancery case, in which the City is a party
defendant, is a class taxpayers' action filed in behalf of all taxpayers in the
and is governed by Circuit Court Rule No. 16 which reads in part, as
"Section 1. If persons constituting a class are so numerous as to
make it impracticable to bring them all before the court, such of them,
1 or more, as will fairly insure the adequate representation of all may,
on behalf of all, sue or be sued, when the character of the right sought
to be enforced for or against the class is .3*:*
(c) Several, and there is a common question of law or fact af-
fecting the several rights and a common relief is sought.
Notice of such suit shall be given to th eother members of the
class in such manner as the court, by order, shall direct. The suit
shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the
court after such notice to the members of the class, given in such
manner as the court shall direct.
To properly protect the Taxpayers' Rights and Interests, I, as plain-
tiff, was obliged to obtain from Judge Robert M. Toms, an order to
show cause why the City of Ann Arbor should not be restrained from mak-
ing any settlement with the Regents-unless it was approved by the Court.

THIRD: Last Tuesday morning, October 22nd last, Circuit Judge
Robert M. Toms came to Ann Arbor and heard:

It was conceded by all present and affirmed by Judge Toms that the
Resolution of the Regents for payment to the City for police protection-
did not compel the Regents to pay even for a year-but that either
the Regents or the City could terminate the arrangement at any time
The Plaintiff then asked the Court what would be the duty of the
City to continue police protection to the University, if the Regents termin-
ated the $20,000 "as long as satisfactory" arrangement for police protec-
Judge Toms replied that since the City was under no duty now to
furnish any police protection to the Regents (or fire protection for that
matter) that if the Regents terminated the above $20,000 a year payment
arrangement, then the duty and status of the City would immediately be as
it is now, namely, that the City was under no duty whatever to furnish any
police protection to the University or the Regents.
This ruling of Judge Toms, both Messrs. Laird representing the City
and Mr. Louis Burke representing the Regents, emphatically agreed and
reaffirmed time and again in open Court.
FOURTH: The Plaintiff's consent to submit the Regents' Offer to
your Council.
At the conclusion of two hours of argument, the Plaintiff suggested to
Judge Toms that the Order to Show Cause be dismissed without prejudice
-so that your Common Council could vote upon the pending offer of the
This arrangement was agreed to by Messrs. Laird and Burke-
and thereupon a suitable order was entered permitting your Common
Council to exercise its discretion at its next meeting on the Regents' offer
(by Resolution) and at the same time preserving the right of the plaintiff
and the taxpayers of the City of Ann Arbor to thereafter insist and claim
that any settlement must be approved by the Court.
(a) The Trial Balloon-
Had your Common Council a year ago simply given a notice to the
Regents that at the end of sixty days-
no more police or fire protection would be furnished the University-
Your Council would have had a satisfactory settlement made by the
Regents almost instantly:
There was absolutely no necessity for, throughout the past eighteen
months, long negotiations with the Regents-
which now, after this long period of talk and talk and more talk-
have only resulted in a police protection arrangement, which may be term-
inated by the Regents at any time.
Undoubtedly, the part of the Regents' Resolution now before your
Council dealing with police protection payments,
was made as a trial balloon-
to see what your Common Council would do with such a proposition.
If you now accept it-knowing that in thirty days you may be back
where you are now with no arrangement whatever made by the Regents for
payment of future police protection-
then You many expect that a like proposition will be put up to your
Council by the Regents, covering fire protection and other City services.
(b) The $97,000 Offer.
Asto this offer by the Regents as a part construction cost for enlarg-
ing sewer disposal facilities-
it is my understanding that nearly fifteen times that amount must be
spent soon by the City to relieve present congestion and lack of facilities-
due very materially to the great increase in the number of students at
the University-at least one-third of whom are from outside the State of
It seems to me that the offer of the Regents for this purpose of en-
largement of sewer facilities, etc. is very niggardly and that the Regents,
who are merely the State of Michigan, should have offered six or eight
times that much.
While the Resolution of the Regents does not state in so many words
that the sum of $97,000 is in full settlement of all obligations of the State
of Michigan to contribute for such a purpose-
no doubt, if your Council accepts the proposition, you will find that
the State and Regents will take the position that it is in full payment of any
obligation by them for the future. Thus, the City alone may be paying out
over $1,000,000 for sewer construction facilities (to be constructed in the
next few years) necessary in large part to the big growth of the State's
University of Michigan.

(c) As to the provision for release of the free beds at the University,
I can offer no suggestion to your Council-and it is a relatively insignifi-
cant item.
(d) The Supreme Court Appeal.

On that vital question-I regret to say that your Common Council
not only wobbled badly, but did not take any position at all.
I, personally, think that was very poor strategy and that when You
now get a proposal from the Regents to pay $20,000 for police protection
(which is probably only one-third of what the amount should be) and
which "arrangement" can be terminated at any time by the Regents, your
Common Council has only itself to blame.
(e) The Court of Claims Action.
Judge Toms having ruled that the plaintiff could not maintain the,
suit against the State of Michigan in the Washtenaw Circuit Chancery
Court-because the State did not consent to be sued (even to enforce its
own Constitutional mandate-that the State maintain the University) the
plaintiff filed substantially the same complain against the State of Michi-
gan in the Court of Claims at Lansing. This case is now in progress.
(f) The Order to Show Cause.
That the order of October 7th last, preserved the plaintiff's rights
and permitted him to perform his duties as a class action plaintiff and rep-
resentative of all the taxpayers.
Judge Toms overruled the City's motion to dismiss-thus leaving the
question of necessity for the approval by the Court of all offers made by
the Regents open for future Court action.
This ruling thus protects the rights of all taxpayers-since not only
the plaintiff-but any intervenor in this case would have the right to ap-
peal to the Supreme Court of Michigan from the Washtenaw Circuit
Court's decision on any settlement made between the City and the Regents.
It appears to the Plaintiff to be
an immoral, unrighteous spectacle for the State of Michigan (ke-
gents) to take in nearly One Million Dollars annually from (1) Football,
(2) Outside Engineering services and (3) University Hospital treatments
for State Patients-and


pay nothing to help the Taxpayers operate the City of Ann Arbor,
an example of surpine weakness on the Part of the City's Govern-

that after eighteen months of negotiation with the University Regents,
--the only "arrangement" for annual City running expense-now about
$750,000 - yet obtained is about $20,000 for Police Protection to
$750,000,000 of property-an "arrangement" that the Honorable Regents
have the legal power to put an end to-next April Fools Day-if it wishes
Very Respectfully yours,
Recommendations" of Congressional Sub-Committee, filed
"Suggested Recommendations
It is believed that it is the desire of the Federal Government
to assume its proper share of the expenses for the upkeep and
operation of the National Capitol. This finding is based upon
the following facts:
1. The District of Columbia is the seat of the Federal Gov-
ernment set aside for Federal purposes, with full legislative powers
retained by the Congress.
2. The area of the District of Columbia is fixed. It cannot
expand. Therefore, when the Federal Government purchases
property the tax revenue previously received on such property is
lost to the District and cannot be replaced. The residents of the
District in fairness should not be expected to make up such loss
in revenues by increased taxes.
3. The enormous increase in the expenses of the District of
Columbia during the past 10 years has been occasioned by the tre-
mendous expansion of the Federal Government, with no com-
mensurate increase in the payment by the Federal Government.
During the past 6 years there has been no change in the amount
of the annual payment.
4. The residents of the District through increased taxes have
adequately, fairly, and cheerfully provided their share of the cost
of operation and upkeep of the National Capital.
It is believed that the annual payment to the District of Co-
lumbia should be based on a definite formula, by the operation of
which the amount of the payment would be automatically comput-
ed, thereby eliminating the controversy which has continued
through the years both as to the amount and method of payment.
Such a formula is presented herewith, together with drafts of two
bills for the consideration and choice of the committee, as follows:
(1) The first bill provides a definition of 'land owned by the
United States in the District of Columbia (which excludes land
devoted to highway purposes, park areas, and land used exclusive-
ly by the District Government and states the exact acreage to be
used in the formula. Based on the total revenues of the District
of Columbia during the last complete fisca lyear, exclusive of the
annual Federal payment and trust funds, the formula provided is
that the annual Federal payment will bear the same ratio to such
adjusted revenue as the land so defined to be owned by the Uni-
ted States bears to the remainder of the land area of the District.
Under this bill the formula would apply to the revenues of the
general fund, the water fund, and the highway fund.

(2) The second
formula would apply
fund of the District,

bill is similar to the first one, except that the
only to the revenues covered into the general
exclusive of the Federal payment.



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