The Brighton City Council surprised some people at its meeting Thursday night and voted to place a 10-year limit on the Headlee override ballot issue.

Brighton Voters will be going to the polls in August to cast ballots on a request to override the Headlee Amendment so that the city can levy the full 20-mills authorized under the city charter. The city currently levies about 15.65 mills. The $1.85 million in annual revenues derived from the extra tax money would be used to upgrade city streets, which overall are in a state of serious disrepair.

According to Headlee, taxes cannot exceed the rate of inflation or 5%– and must go according to the lower of those two figures. Initially, the Headlee override request had no expiration date, meaning if passed, it could continue in perpetuity. But in getting feedback from the public, council realized that a sunset clause – or termination date –would have to be put on the ballot question if it had any chance of passing. Staff asked for a 15-year term on the millage, and while a few on council favored that, others came out in favor of a shorter term. And member Jim Bohn urged a lower amount of 2 mills be placed on the override.

After lengthy discussion, council voted unanimously to ask the voters for a 4.3-mill override over 10 years. The city will be holding public informational town hall meetings on the Headlee override issue in the coming weeks. According to City Manager Nate Geinzer, those meetings will take place on June 13th and 27th, and July 11th and 25th, all of them at 6 p.m. The locations haven’t yet been finalized, but when that happens the city will let the public know through the local news media, including WHMI, and through social media. (TT)