Editorial: Vote yes on zoo renewal

The Detroit News

When taxpayers dip into their pockets for a tax increase, they should have the expectation that the money will be used well, and as promised. The zoo millage passed by Metro Detroit voters eight years ago meets that criteria.

The Detroit Zoo on Aug. 2 is making an early request for a 10-year renewal of the 0.10 mill property tax, which expires in 2018.

Since the adoption of the special levy, which costs roughly $10 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home, the zoo has improved and expanded its facilities, enhanced its exhibits and found more ways to connect with the community.

Perhaps more important, the millage allowed it to break away its management from the city of Detroit and operate under the direction of an authority, bringing efficiency and accountability.

While originally expected to raise $15 million a year, the 2008 collapse in property values has held revenues to about $11 million. Still, it accounts for one-third of the zoo’s operating budget.

Supporters of the zoo have kept up their end of the bargain, maintaining strong fundraising and philanthropic efforts.

The zoo millage request should get a Yes vote from voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.