ELECTION 2015: Southern Michigan locales decide on road taxes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/6/2015

Voters in communities throughout southern Michigan cast ballots on Election Day on efforts to aid local governments pay for needed road and bridge work. Specifically, voters decided this week whether to charge themselves more to raise additional revenue for transportation projects.

Three communities in the Detroit area decided whether to boost revenue for local roads.

In the city of Allen Park, voters approved a question to increase the local mill rate by 1.9015 mills for reconstruction, resurfacing, repairing, maintaining and improving streets within the city for the next decade. The tax in the community located along Interstate 94 is estimated to raise $1.38 million in the first year.

The mill rate is the rate at which property taxes are determined. Every person who owns real estate is required to pay property taxes.

A short drive south to the city of Southgate is where 77 percent of voters decided to renew a 2-mill levy ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, repairing and other improvements to streets for five years. The tax is estimated to raise $1.54 million in the first year.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of voters in Grosse Ile Township opted against approving a question to benefit local roads. The community located along the Detroit River asked voters whether to issue $18.8 million in general obligation bonds to pay for reconstructing, resurfacing and improving roads, as well as fixing water mains along township roads.

The estimated average annual millage to retire the bonds is 2.1167.

Two communities in the Ann Arbor area approved questions to raise revenue for transportation. Passage of one question in the city of Milan allots one mill for road and street improvements.

In nearby Scio Township voters endorsed increasing the tax rate by 0.3627 mills for 10 years for public transportation services. The tax is estimated to raise about $403,000 in the first year.

In St. Clair County, voters in the border community of St. Clair opted against renewing a 2.5-mill rate for streets that is set to expire in 2017. They also decided against approving a 1.5-mill increase.

The 2.5-mill levy is estimated to raise $470,066 annually and the 1.5-mill tax is estimated to raise $283,150 per year.

Voters in one community in neighboring Lapeer County decided to tax themselves for street and sidewalk improvements. The ballot in Imlay City, which is located along Interstate 69, included the question to increase the tax rate by 2.5 mills for five years. The tax is estimated to raise $265,868 in the first year.

In southwest Michigan, voters in one Berrien County community approved a question to benefit road work. The Pipestone Township ballot asked voters whether to levy a $60 property tax for the next four years to pay for road maintenance, repair and replacement.

The tax is estimated to raise $85,000 in the first year.

For more 2015 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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