SMART millage officially passes in Macomb Co. — by 39 votes

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
SMART bus picks up riders.

Macomb County's suburban bus system millage has officially passed Friday by 39 votes, according to the county's election department. 

The board of canvassers certified the Aug. 7 election results, with all 338 precincts reporting showing the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation millage passed 77,500 to 77,461. The revised total increased the margin of passage from 23 votes announced election night.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the certified vote results,“ said John C. Hertel, general manager of SMART.

Official results show the millage passed by 39 votes.

Leon Drolet, a Macomb County commissioner who also leads the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, which opposed the SMART millage, said he anticipates the group will file for a recount next week. 

"We have to look and see how the precincts broke down," said Drolet. "We may only need a recount in a few precincts because a lot of things, like human error, are common and every recount I've been aware of in the past changes the vote."

Drolet said the SMART bus system is "Inconvenient for riders and expensive for taxpayers" and thinks replacing it with a voucher system to pay for ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber, would be more efficient. 

"I think the SMART cast is one of the least efficient and most expensive ways for people to get around," he said. "There are more convenient ways than sending a giant bus down a street with just a few riders on it and people have to find a way to get to the bus stops."

Macomb residents pay 0.9926 mills. According to the millage proposal, a resident with a home valued at $200,000 will pay $100 per year under the 1 mill tax. In Macomb County, that is an increase of 78 cents per year.

A person seeking a recount would need to submit a petition within six days of certification. SMART had no comment on the possibility of a recount.

If a recount were pursued, it would cost $25 for each of the 338 precincts in Macomb County, said Michael Grix, an election specialist with the Macomb County Clerk's Office. That's a base of $8,450, in addition to $25 for each absentee precinct.

"It's important that the election outcome is as accurate as possible and we may not need to recount all precincts but rather individual, but we'll see on Monday," he said.

Latest election results from Metro Detroit and Michigan

Voters in Oakland and Wayne counties also voted to continue a millage funding SMART through 2021.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_