The Howell Downtown Development Authority heard from the mayor and city manager on the public safety assessment that was turned down by City Council.

Howell Mayor Nick Proctor sits monthly with the DDA and sounded disappointed in sharing the news that the proposed public safety assessment that would help fund the police department was turned down. City Council voted 4-3 against it, with Proctor the deciding vote in opposition. The assessment would have affected all property owners in the city to the equivalent of 3 mills, or roughly $202 annually. Proctor said it wouldn’t have made the city’s financial problems go away, but it would have mitigated them. With the district for the assessment remaining approved, he shared that in his mind “it’s still a viable option.” City Manager Shea Charles said the decision doesn’t directly affect the DDA, but they were sharing the information for the sake of the businesses in their district. Charles pointed out that Howell is not unique in their current struggle, and that they are going through the same financial stress that all Michigan communities are going through.

Charles said that he believes the fiscal model for funding communities to be fundamentally broken. The decline of revenue sharing, Proposal A, and Headlee Amendments allowing millages to be rolled back have made it difficult for some communities to recover from the 2008 recession. Charles said the city lost 27.6% of its taxable value 10 years ago, and has only recovered 6% back since.

City Council will look at their options, which include a Headlee Override and possible service reductions, during a budget work session June 18th. (MK)