A Headlee Override request will be before voters in the City of Howell next year and council is not taking the summer off when it comes to informational planning.

The City of Howell has a fairly stable budget for the coming year but the next foreseeable fiscal years will be very difficult. Therefore, council decided the put the question to voters next year as the city is now at a point that decisions have to be made, meaning either significant service reductions or alternate revenue sources. Since the state has imposed the broken model on municipalities, staff and council say they’re left to look to the local level and present the choices but it’s very difficult and there’s a lot of work to be done.

Council further discussed the matter during a June meeting. Staff met with a committee of Mayor Nick Proctor, Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor and Councilman Bob Ellis to discuss strategy and recommend two or three work sessions over the summer. The goal is to have a package of information ready in September or October and then finalize ballot language finalized.

City Manager Shea Charles says council has targeted May for consideration of a Headlee Override election and talked about laying out what additional information members would need such as ballot language etc. He says they’ll work on that throughout the summer and into fall. Then in November or early December, Charles says council would adopt final ballot language, which would determine the amount of the official ask and so on.

The ballot language is due to the Livingston County Clerk by February 6th, 2018 in order to get the proposal on the ballot for the May 8th, 2018 election. Meanwhile, staff is seeking a legal opinion on campaign finance regulations to ensure efforts to inform the public are within legal guidelines. (JM)