In Macomb, Armada, Romeo schools seek OK for upgrades

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Voters in Macomb County on Tuesday will decide races for mayor and city council in several cities, including Warren and Sterling Heights, as well as bond issues for Armada and Romeo schools.

Turnout likely will be light, with 15 percent to 20 percent of the county’s registered voters expected to make it to the polls, Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh said.

In Armada, school officials are going back to voters for a second time this year asking for a $4.1 million, eight-year bond for new technology. Voters rejected a similar measure in May, 57 percent to 43 percent.

On that same ballot, voters statewide resoundingly rejected the Proposal 1 road funding initiative and at the time, political experts said the defeats of several local school bond issues appeared to be collateral damage.

Armada intends to spend the money on technology, including new servers, an updated phone system, security cameras, about 1,200 new computers districtwide, as well as 750 laptops that can also be used as tablets. The existing computers are about nine years old, officials said.

“This is how students learn these days, with mobile devices,” said the district’s superintendent, Michael Musary. “By having this new technology it will enhance our ability to make our students and staff more productive.”

Residents won’t see their tax bills increase but will pay more over time because the district is extending the repayment period of its existing debt by two years to 2030. The average tax would be 0.73 mills, which would cost $73 a year to owners of homes with assessed at $100,000.

In Romeo, the district is asking for a renewal construction bond that would generate $2.1 million a year for four years to pay for projects including new security systems, roof and boiler replacements and parking lot paving. Voters have renewed the construction bond three times since 2004, according to the school district’s website.

The tax would be 1.25 mills, which would cost $125 a year to owners of homes assessed at $100,000.

Seven cities have nonpartisan mayoral races, including Warren, where Mayor Jim Fouts has held the post for two, four-year terms in the state’s third-largest city. He’s challenged by Karen Spranger, who filed an unsuccessful recall petition against Fouts in 2014.

This would be Fouts’ third and final four-year term under Warren’s term limits. City voters also will select six council members, a clerk and treasurer.

In Sterling Heights, Mayor Michael C. Taylor is running for the post he was appointed to late last year after longtime Mayor Richard Notte, 76, died of pancreatic cancer. Taylor was the mayor pro tem at the time. He is being challenged by Paul M. Smith, a former councilman who has faced criticism for inflammatory signs depicting violence against President Barack Obama.

Twelve candidates also are running for six spots on the Sterling Heights City Council.

The race for the open mayor seat in Fraser pits Councilman Paul A. Cilluffo against Joe Nichols, a manager for a property restoration company. Current Mayor Doug Hagerty isn’t running. Voters will also select four council members in Fraser.

Voters in Eastpointe will select a mayor and three council members. Center Line will elect two council members and voters will elect three in Richmond.

Three cities in the county have mayors running unopposed for additional four year terms: Ted Kedzierski in Grosse Pointe Shores, who has been in office since 2011, Roseville’s Robert R. Taylor and St. Clair Shores’ Kip C. Walby, also elected in 2011.

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