The Howell City Council is in the process of finalizing ballot language for a Headlee Override request.

The City is faced with significant budget and revenue challenges, coupled with what officials say is a very broken state fiscal model and reduced revenue sharing. The City has made significant cuts over the years and is running with a staff that’s “stretched very thin” despite their sacrifices during the recession, such as a seven-year wage freeze and lowered benefits.

Council met Monday night to review proposed language for a Headlee Override that’s expected to appear on the November ballot. If approved, a Headlee Override would allow the City of Howell to increase its authorized millage rate for five years by an additional 4.5003 mills. The request would restore the authorized millage amount, which has been reduced by the Headlee Amendment. The proposal would generate approximately $1.4 (m) million per year, beginning in July of 2019.

The revenue would allow the City to maintain continued levels of service as well as infrastructure improvements such as roads. Council reviewed ballot language proposals from the City of Brighton, Ferndale and East Grand Rapids. Members appeared to favor the City of Brighton’s language, since it was more specific about where the money would be going. Councilman Bob Ellis commented he liked the brevity and the fact the language was easy to read. Mayor Nick Proctor liked capping the proposal at five years, referring to it as a performance review for residents and the City.

Staff plans to re-word the draft language and bring it back to council at the July 23rd meeting. The deadline for adopting the language is August 14th. Should anything come up, Council has another meeting August 13th to potentially approve the language and still meet the deadline. (JM)