A host of regional and local ballot proposals were approved in the Tuesday, Aug. 7 primary election, and voters will face more come the Nov. 6 general election — although exactly how many state constitutional amendments and local funding questions voters will decide on remains unknown.
STATE BALLOT PROPOSALS
Across Michigan, voters will decide whether to repeal Public Act 4 of 2011, the law that gives expanded powers to emergency financial managers. Following a lengthy legal battle over the size of the font on circulators’ petition headings, the state Supreme Court approved putting the measure on the November ballot earlier this month.
In addition, the Michigan Board of Canvassers meets today, Wednesday, Aug. 15 to consider placing the following four ballot initiatives on the general election ballot:
• A proposed state constitutional amendment that would require utilities to obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources;
• A proposed constitutional amendment that would establish the Michigan Quality Home Council, provide certain information to consumers, require training of providers, and provided limited collective bargaining rights;
• A proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution that would establish a new right for employees to collectively bargain; and
• A proposed constitutional amendment to establish eight new casinos at specific locations in Detroit, Clam Lake Township, DeWitt Township, Pontiac, Clinton Township, Birch Run Township, Grand Rapids, and Romulus.
According to Fred Woodhams, spokesman for Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, the state Board of Canvassers has until Sept. 7 to place the following initiatives on the statewide ballot:
• One that would require voter approval of a new international trade crossing (Detroit-Windsor bridge); and
• One that would require a statewide vote of the people, or super-majority (two-thirds) approval by both the state House and state Senate before taxes could be raised in Michigan.
The Board of Canvassers is still reviewing the hundreds of thousands of signatures collected by supporters of those two proposed ballot issues.
A series of other statewide ballot measure petitions — including for the legalization of marijuana; the elimination of the state Senate and term limits for state lawmakers; a ban on collective bargaining for state employees; and a ban on the need to pay union dues as a condition of employment, among others — had been approved by the state Board of Canvassers “as to form,” but the committees backing their placement on the general election ballot had not turned in enough signatures prior to the deadline.
LOCAL BALLOT PROPOSALS
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
But it’s not just statewide ballot proposals that will face the west Oakland County electorate come November.
The Walled Lake Consolidated Schools will be seeking a renewal of its 10-year, 0.5-mill building and site sinking fund millage during the general election. It generates about $2 million per year for the repair, renovation or remodeling of school buildings, according to Bill Chatfield, the district’s director of operations.
A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value, which is generally equal to half the property’s market value.
City Of Wixom
It’s too soon to tell whether Wixom voters will face a ballot proposal in the Nov. 6 general election, but it’s possible that the City Council will come again before the electorate with a proposal to raise the city’s charter millage cap after an effort to hike it by as much as 4.98 mills in the Aug. 7 primary election failed by about 10 percent.
Given the time constraints involved in submitting the verbiage for a general election ballot proposal, the City Council may opt to hold a special election on a higher charter millage cap in February.
Huron Valley Schools
On Monday, Aug. 20, the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education will be considering ballot language for a possible 10-year renewal of its 18-mill non-homestead operating millage levied on all property, except principal residences and other property exempted by law, which is required for the school district to receive its state per-pupil foundation allowance. It would generate $9.16 million for operations during the first year levied and would be collected from 2013 to 2022.
Waterford Township voters will be facing a pair of ballot questions in November. The first is a 20-year, up to 0.5-mill new millage for Parks and Recreation Department operations, programs, activities and facilities that would generate $965,000 in the first year levied; the second is an annual special assessment district (SAD) for maintenance, operations and equipment for police and fire services at up to 2.95 mills on all real property not exempt from taxation. If approved, the special assessment would generate $5.44 million in the first year it’s collected.
Both would first be levied on the December tax bills.
The Waterford Township Board of Trustees voted on Monday, Aug. 13 to place both issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Milford Township residents will be asked in November to vote on a millage for a proposed skate park. The township is asking for a maximum of 0.25 mills for four years, from 2012 through 2015, before being reduced to 0.025 mills for an additional 16 years, from 2016 through 2031. The levy of 0.25 mills is expected to raise an estimated $190,521 in the first year of the millage collection, if approved.