This coming May, Brighton voters will be asked to approve a scaled-down millage request to fund street improvements in the city.

The City council, meeting Thursday night, approved going to the voters on May 7th with a request for 2.5 mills over 7 years, which would generate about $1.15 million annually. Last August a Headlee Amendment override, which was earmarked for improving the city’s streets, lost by the relatively slim margin of 128 votes. The override would have totaled 4.35 mills and would have generated $1.85 million per year over 10 years.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Nate Geinzer said that he heard three things from no voters after the millage defeat: the request was too large, the term was too long and the wording on the ballot proposal too vague. Over a period of months council came up with a plan for just what the voters said they wanted: a smaller millage request for fewer years. Council debated the wisdom of going with the request in May, as opposed to August or November. Two on council – Renee Pettengill and Kris Tobbe - felt that May was not a good time because a Brighton Area Fire Authority millage request for .89 mills for 12 years to fund upgraded gear, equipment, land purchase and building construction will reduce the street millage’s chances.

Geinzer tells WHMI the problem with delaying the request any longer is that the revenues wouldn’t be available until the 2020-21 fiscal year. The motion to place the issue to fund needed street improvements in the city on the ballot in May passed 5-2. Mayor Muzzin, Mayor Pro-tem Shawn Pipoly and Council Members Susan Gardner, Jim Bohn and Jon Emaus all voted yes. Pettengill stresses that her “no” vote was only because of the date of the ballot issue. She said improving the city’s streets is vital, but voted no because she thinks the May date will result in less chance of passing due to the fire authority vote. (TT)