November 5th, voters will be asked to elect a new Detroit mayor while other communities, like Sterling Heights and Clinton Twp., will ask voters to approve new safety protection and street millages. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Residents in Macomb County communities will be asked Tuesday to approve proposals to help buoy dwindling general funds, improve roads and finance public safety, as well as select new mayors and council members.
In Eastpointe, residents will decide whether to pass two millage proposals backers say would help reduce the city’s deficit. A third would offload administration of the city’s pension funds to a statewide organization.
The first proposal would allow the city to levy a maximum amount of 20 mills for general operations.
The city’s current overall millage for general operations is 19.17 mills (12.17 mills and a separate levy of 7 mills). If voters support the proposal, the City Council would be able to authorize an additional 0.83 mills. The cost to the average homeowner would be an additional $37.35 in property taxes annually.
The passage of the second proposal would override the Headlee Amendment, allowing for the maximum millage levy of 20 mills for general operations.
City Manager Steve Duchane said it would raise an estimated $355,000.
“We are running $2.8 million structurally deficient in the general fund. In the next couple of years, we will be out of cash,” Duchane said. “The bad news for most of our municipalities in Michigan is the property value crash in 2008 left the value of the millage severely eroded.”
Voters also will decide whether to approve a third proposal allowing the city to join the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, a statewide organization that provides benefit administration.
Voters in Sterling Heights will select six city council members and determine the outcome of the city’s Safe Streets ballot proposal.
The proposal would allow the authorization to levy an additional millage of not more than 2.5 mills from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2020.
Police and fire protection would get 1.7 mills, providing funding to avoid the loss of 45 police officers and 20 firefighters. Local street improvement would receive 0.8 mills.
If fully levied, the millage would raise $10.4 million in the first year.
Clinton Township is asking voters to support police and fire with two millages. The passage of a seven-year, 1-mill levy for police would raise $2.5 million, which would be used to buy equipment and hire officers.
If township voters support a nine-year, 1.25-mill fire levy, it will raise $3.1 million when first levied this year.
Lt. Paul Brouwer of the Clinton Township Fire Department said since the economic downturn in 2008, the department’s staffing has fallen from 99 to 62.
“We had seven companies staffed daily. Now we are down to five,” Brouwer said. “This millage will allow us to get up to 76 people in the department and allow us to open another fire truck and have six staffed daily.”
Other ballot questions:
New Baltimore: Voters will decide whether to pass a 1-mill road levy, to be collected from 2014 to 2023. If fully levied, it is estimated to raise $339,866 in the first year.
The city grew quickly in the early 2000s and roads were put in to accommodate that growth, but many weren’t put in properly, said Marc Levise, assistant to the mayor.
Armada Area Schools: Voters are being asked to decide whether to levy 18 mills on all property except principal residences and other property exempted by law. Also, voters will decide whether to pass an operating millage renewal for a building and site sinking fund. The levy would be 0.8394 mill for 10 years starting in 2015.
Richmond Community Schools: A bonding proposal asks for approval to borrow $12.9 million to erect, furnish and equip an addition to the high school for science classrooms and purchase school buses, etc.
Romeo Community Schools: A school bus bond proposition to borrow $5.1 million to buy buses.
Van Dyke Public Schools: Officials are asking voters to approve an 18-mill operating renewal. The millage would generate an estimated $3.7 million in 2014.