Oakland County voters reject pot shop proposals, show wide support for millages

The Detroit News

Voters in both Oakland County communities that considered ballot proposals to allow more marijuana facilities within their borders rejected the measures.

Walled Lake residents on Tuesday rejected the proposal by a 60% to 40% margin while Keego Harbor opposed the move by a 65% to 35% margin.

Volunteer Barbara Winter of Hazel Park, stands outside the Ferndale Public Library 
 with signs supporting her candidates.

As for the marijuana proposals, in Walled Lake, voters were being asked to approve the creation of eight facilities where customers can buy cannabis products.

Karen Hughes of Walled Lake voted against the measure. She worried about the drug attracting a bad element to the city.

"We don't need it. We don't want it," she said.

Resident Susan Goodman disagreed, saying people were going to smoke marijuana anyway so Walled Lake might as well approve it.

"It's not harmful. Studies have shown that," she said.

In November 2015, Walled Lake voters approved legalizing use and possession of one ounce of marijuana by those 21 or older in private spaces.

The City Council approved three facilities, which are medical marijuana dispensaries, for the community of two square miles. The council’s action permitting the dispensaries takes effect Nov. 14.

In Keego Harbor, voters decided a similar proposal that would regulate the sale of marijuana wouldn't pass.It would allow eight retail outlets — four for sale of medical marijuana and four for recreational marijuana — in a city of less than 3,000 residents.

In August, the Keego Harbor City Council voted to prohibit medical marijuana centers or recreational marijuana businesses, according to city manager Jared Ottenwess, who questioned whether any areas in the town of a half square mile would qualify if the proposal passed "because of its own restrictions."

Proposals that passed

Oakland Community College was seeking the continuation of a 0.75-mill levy for operating expenses for 10 years. The millage, which would raise $45 million a year for the college, was supported by a 72 to 28% measure.

Berkley schools: A bid by schools for an 18-mill, three-year operating levy that would raise an estimated $267,000 in 2020 passed with a 77 to 23% margin.

Birmingham schools: A school proposal for a 21-mill, 10-year operating replacement levy, which would raise $51.4 million in its first year, passed with a 74 to 26% margin.

Fenton schools: Voters approved a measure to renew a 0.8999-mil, three-year sinking fund for its schools. The fund, which will raise $820,000 in 2020, was approved by a 57 to 43% margin. 

The proposal also extended to voters in Genesee and Livingston counties, where it enjoyed overwhelming support, passing with a 64 to 34% margin in Genesee and a 62 to 38% margin in Livingston. 

Pleasant Ridge: Voters overwhelmingly approved a 0.5-mill, five-year renewal for library services by a 91 to 9% margin. It will raise an estimated $80,106 in 2020.

Melanie Piana, 46, of Ferndale, who is running for mayor, stands outside the Ferndale Public Library Tuesday morning.

Rochester Community Schools: A request for a sinking fund increase of 1.5 mills for 10 years passed with 67% voting in favor. The millage will raise about $7.88 million in 2020 for facility repairs and improvements.

Rochester Hills: A proposal for a 1.0965-mill renewal for 10 years passed with 82% of voters approving. The move will raise more than $4 million in its first year for road improvements.

Huron Valley schools: Voters supported an 11-year, $182 million bond issue for facility improvements and school bus purchases, with an estimated millage of 2.97 in 2020, with 73% of voters approving. 

The voters also favored a Huron Valley school proposal calling for a 0.9109-mill, 10-year sinking fund renewal, which would raise about $2.5 million in 2020. It passed with 77% approval.

Clarkston: Four charter change proposals were approved by city voters. They will require elected city officials to resign to run for another office; allow the City Council to appoint members of the Zoning Board of Appeals; extend the deadline for completing audits of city accounts from 90 days to six months after a fiscal year ends; and allow City Council members to nominate members of the Board of Review. 

Madison Heights: Voters narrowly voted to amend the city charter to change the maximum authorized levy on taxable property from 10 mills to 16 mills and to delete the current authority to separate specific amounts for replacement of vehicles (0.25 mill), advanced life support services through the fire department (0.25 mill) and the public library (1 mill). The vote was a 51 to 49% margin.

Novi Community Schools: Both the 25-year, $185 million bond issue for facility improvements and bus purchases, with an estimated 1.41 mills to be levied in 2020, and the 10-year, 0.4731-mill sinking fund renewal, which would raise about $1.18 million in 2021, passed overwhelmingly. The bonding proposal had 69% voting in favor while the sinking fund millage had 75% in favor. 

Novi Community Schools: Both the 25-year, $185 million bond issue for facility improvements and bus purchases, with an estimated 1.41 mills to be levied in 2020, and the 10-year, 0.4731-mill sinking fund renewal, which would raise about $1.18 million in 2021, passed overwhelmingly. The bonding proposal got 68% in favor and the sinking fund millage renewal had 75 percent support.

Rochester: The following charter amendments passed: Changing the value of property needing voter approval to be sold from $2 per capita to $50,000 state equalized value, indexed to the Consumer Price Index; removing specific compensation amounts for the mayor and City Council; deleting a section on the former city Board of Health; deleting a section regarding the former municipal court and constables, deleting language regarding notice to city of claim for injuries since it is covered by state statute.

Brandon Hall of Ferndale votes while his son Winston, 8, (left), waits at the poll location in the Ferndale Public Library.,

Proposals that were rejected

Lathrup Village: Voters rejected a request for a 15-year, $21.3 million bond issue for street improvements. The bid, which would have levied 4.4843 mills in 2020, lost by a 34 to 66% margin.

Rochester: The amendment for lowering the minimum age for an elective office candidate from 25 to 21 was not approved by a 48 to 52% margin.

Mayoral races 

Berkley: Incumbent Mayor Daniel Terbrack defeated challenger Robert B. Lathrop by a 79 to 20% margin. 

Clawson: Mayor Deborah Wooley was defeated by Reese Scripture, who has served on the town's planning commission and zoning board of appeals. The vote margin was 61 to 38%.

Farmington Hills: Former state representative and ex-mayor Vicki Barnett defeated Councilman Richard Lerner for the mayor’s post by a 55 to 45% margin. 

Ferndale: Current councilwoman Melanie Piana defeated Brian Stawowy for the mayor’s post held by Dan Martin by a 66 to 33% margin.

Madison Heights: Mayor Brian Christian Hartwell defeated challenger Johnnette Eggert by a 83 to 17 percent margin.

Northville: Mayor Ken Roth lost to challenger Brian Turnbull by a 64 to 36% margin.

Novi: Mayor Bob Gatt beat challenger Christine Ingles by a 66 to 34% margin.