A Brighton citizens’ group has been holding a series of meetings in an effort to inform people about the upcoming Headlee override issue that will be on the August primary ballot.

A successful Headlee override would bring in $1.85 million per year in new revenue to be used exclusively to upgrade the streets and roads. The third meeting was held Wednesday evening at the Chamber of Commerce building in Brighton. City Council Member Susan Gardner, one of the organizers of the group, told WHMI that such meetings are being held to inform city voters about what a Headlee override means and the reason why the override is needed.

A survey of city streets in 2016 showed that 75% are either in poor or failing condition. The problem is that the city doesn’t have the funds to fix the streets and needs to have an additional funding source. Those attending were told that as a result of the recession, property values dropped precariously in the city, so that it wasn’t realizing the revenues needed to keep the streets in good condition, let alone to run day-to-day city operations, without major cutbacks. However, although the recession is now over, the Headlee Amendment prevents the city from realizing the benefits of the rising tax values. That’s because it limits tax increases to the cost of living index or the inflation rate – whichever is lower.

It was pointed out that a Headlee override, which would equate to 4.346 mills, would merely bring the city tax rate to the amount listed in the city charter which was approved by the voters back in 1957. The City Council is strongly considering putting a Sunset clause on the override, most likely 15 years, which means that if approved by the voters, the override would expire after the 15 years are up. The City Council is expected to take up the issue of having an expiration date on the override at tonight’s meeting. (TT)