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Wyandotte voters OK bond for $39M in school upgrades

The Detroit News

Voters in eight communities headed to the polls Tuesday for measures ranging from public safety proposals to school millage renewals and technology upgrades.

Wyandotte voters easily passed a bond referendum allowing its public schools to spend $39 million on facility improvements.

The measure was approved 1,482-829.

The money will allow the school system to improve the security, technology and energy conservation at its buildings, including new roofs and windows.

“I am so proud of Wyandotte citizens for supporting our students,” said Superintendent Catherine Cost. “It’s going to make a huge difference.”

A facilities review in 2014 found that the school district needed $70 million in repairs and replacements.

The passage allows the district to extend its school millage 26 years, expiring in 2042.

In Plymouth, voters narrowly defeated a 1.5 millage that would have boosted funding for the Plymouth Public Safety Department for five years.

The millage, which would have raised $700,000, lost 550-594.

It would have allowed the city to pay for two additional police officers and replace a 41-year-old fire truck.

City Commissioner Dan Dalton said he was disappointed by the results.

“We’ll move forward and look at other options and go from there,” he said.

He said some residents just didn’t believe the public safety funding was a priority, he said.

The money would have allowed the police to use an officer to focus on the growing bar and restaurant district in downtown, said city officials.

Supporting the police was a no-brainer, said Plymouth resident Kevin Plagens.

Plagens, 53, who was among the first to vote Tuesday at the Community Cultural Center, said the police haven’t had any funding increases.

“Plymouth is a small community but our police department needs whatever help it can get,” he said.

In Plymouth Township, two millages for police and firefighters were easily renewed.

A levy of 0.56 mills was approved by a 3,138-603 margin, while a tax of 1.6 mills was passed 2,987-753.

The vote allows the levies to continue for 20 years.

Plymouth Township resident Ryan Darichuk said the two measures were easy to support.

“It’s not an increase. It’s simply voting to (keep) what we have,” he said.

In Hazel Park and Eastpointe, where a joint public financing mechanism to fund fire and rescue services was on the ballot, voters approved a 14-mill levy. Passage allows for the creation of the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority, which will ease financial woes in the two communities, which are in different counties.

In Dearborn Heights, School District No. 7 was seeking approval of a bond referendum that would allow it to spend $4.6 million in technology improvements.

But the measure was narrowly defeated in a 346-382 vote.

Hamtramck Public Schools hoped residents would renew a 18.18 millage, allowing it to run through 2025.

But that, too, was rejected by a 384-528 tally.

In Macomb County, Ray Township residents renewed two millages for its Fire and Rescue Department with 67 percent of the vote.

A 1-mill tax that will allow the department to replace a fire vehicle was approved in a 255-124 vote.

A 1.5-mill tax for fire department operations was approved 256 to 124.

The vote will allow the millages to continue until 2020.