Garden City seeks police, fire millage

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Wayne County voters in two communities and two school districts will decide Tuesday whether to approve millages to fund police and fire services, fix roads and pay for general operations.

Garden City officials are seeking the renewal of a public safety millage, while Northville’s residents will decide the fate of a tax hike for road repairs.

Operating millages will be on the ballot before voters in the Clarenceville and Hamtramck school districts as well.

Residents in Garden City will decide whether to renew a five-year, 3.5-mill tax to pay for public safety services.

City manager Robert Muery said the proposal won’t result in a tax increase for property owners because it’s a renewal.

If approved, city officials estimate the measure will raise $1.7 million its first year.

“That roughly translates into 17 public safety positions ” Muery said. “Without that money, we’re going to have to make cuts and we don’t have that many people to begin with.”

He said the city of about 27,000 residents has 30 police officers and 18 firefighters.

In Northville, officials are asking voters to approve a 15-year, 2.25-mill increase to fund road and street improvements. Northville covers a 2.2-square-mile area equally divided between Wayne and Oakland counties.

The increase, if approved, will cost the owner of a home with a market value of $250,000 an additional $280 a year, according to officials.

They estimate the millage will raise about $750,000 in its first year. Combined with the city’s existing 1.1-mill road and street levy, the millage would increase the annual budget for street resurfacing and reconstruction from $350,000 to more than $1 million.

“It will allow us to make our street system in Northville significantly better than it is now,” said City Manager Patrick Sullivan.

Sullivan said if the millage passes, the city will be able to improve about 16.6 miles of roads and streets — or about two-thirds of all its roads — over the next 15 years.

According to a study of the city’s pavement by an engineering firm, the condition of Northville’s streets is rated at 51 on a scale of 0-100.

Sullivan said the millage will help the city raise the rating to 60 in the next decade and 70 in the 10 years after that.

Officials in the Clarenceville school district, divided between Wayne and Oakland counties, are asking voters to renew a 10-year, 19-mill non-homestead property tax to pay for its general operations.

If it passes, the millage applies only to local businesses and industrial and commercial properties, according to officials.

Officials said the millage represents about $2.3 million — or 11 percent — of the district’s general fund revenues. If the measure fails, district programming will have to be cut, officials said.

Hamtramck Public Schools seeks voter support to renew a 10-year, 18.18-mill non-homestead property tax to cover general operations. Fifty-eight percent of the city’s voters rejected the same proposal in February.

Approval of the district’s measure will not result in a tax increase for homeowners.

However, Hamtramck Schools will lose more than $1.8 million annually and school programs would have to be cut or reduced if the tax issue fails, officials said.

In addition, 20 municipalities from Allen Park to Westland will hold elections for mayor, city council and other offices.

Cities with contested mayoral primaries:

■Garden City — Mayor Randy Walker is running against two challengers, David Fetter and E. Wallace.

■Higland Park — Incumbent DeAndre Windom faces Jemille Williams, Mamie Posey Moore, Elen Robinson and Hubert Yopp.

There are also a number of uncontested mayor races in Wayne County on Aug. 4.

The following mayors are running for re-election in their cities unopposed:

■Gibraltar — Jim Gorris

■Grosse Pointe Farms — James Farquhar

■Grosse Pointe Park — Robert Denner

■Harper Woods — Kenneth Poynter

■Rockwood — Daniel Guzzi

■Southgate — Joseph Kuspa

A number of mayoral races in the county are also uncontested because incumbents are not seeking re-election. They are:

■Inkster mayor Hilliard Hampton announced earlier this year he was not seeking re-election, leaving Byron Nolen and Walter Starghill, Jr. to square off for the office.

■Livonia mayor Jack Kirksey is term-limited. Brian Meakin, John Pastor, Leo Weber and Dennis Wright are all vying for the office. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.

■Riverview Mayor Tim Durand announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. John Price and Andrew Swift are campaigning for the job.

■Wayne Mayor James Hawley also announced in April he would not make a re-election bid. Bob Boertje and Susan Rowe are hoping to succeed him.

Source: Wayne County Clerk’s Office and Detroit News research