Voters Approve All Three Local Ballot Proposals
May 8, 2019
Tuesday’s election proved to be a success for three different ballot proposals
A capital millage request from the Brighton Area Fire Authority was approved by a roughly 60-40% margin. It is for .89-mills over a 12 year period and will help replace broken fire stations, add critical space to existing stations to support additional on-duty staffing and training, and provide the means to continue the apparatus replacement plan. It’s a new millage that would be in addition to the authority’s current operational millage of 1.5 mills set to expire in 2020. Fire Chief Mike O’Brian thanked the community for the support and says they’re excited to be able to continue to grow with the community. He says they’re ready to roll up their sleeves and are already getting to work on some of the projects, adding it will be pretty exciting over the next 12 years to make sure they can shape up the fire department and be ready to respond when the public calls as it continues to grow. O’Brian says the intention is to fill some gaps with facilities as some need to be repaired while others have leaky roofs, broken windows and cracked parking lots with big holes. Other facilities such as the Dorr Road station will most likely be their priority project out of the gate as O’Brian says they need to get an addition on that station to provide 24-hour staff coverage as soon as possible. He says this will be a phased project over the 12 years with purchasing apparatus, repairing facilities and adding new buildings so it will take time to work the projects, and pay and finance them. O’Brian says it will be a continual process and they will keep the public informed because these are their facilities and their fire department – adding they’ll utilize all media from Facebook to WHMI to tell people what’s happening with the projects. He says they think that’s really important and stressed they do not take the millage lightly. O’Brian says it was a big ask of the community and they want to make sure they’re spending the money appropriately but also letting the public know where the money is going to help better the community. O’Brian says they are just very grateful and what was neat during the process as being out and talking with the public about the millage and where the Fire Authority is going. He added it’s overwhelming how supportive the community is and they are so appreciative.
Voters in the City of Brighton narrowly approved a 2.5-mill Headlee Override ballot proposal, 777-721, specifically for public streets, sidewalks, curbs, drainage structures and necessary rights-of-way improvements. It will generate approximately $1.15 million per year for a seven-year period. Following the unsuccessful August 2018 ballot request to raise the City’s millage rate by 4.3466 mills to address the City’s failing street system by 128 votes, the City went back to voters with the reduced request that appeared on Tuesday’s ballot. Brighton Mayor Jim Muzzin thanked voters for giving them the opportunity to improve the roads, saying there is definitely a need and he feels they’ve proven that. Muzzin thinks the important thing from his chair was that Council listens to the voters. Last August, voters defeated a ballot request and Muzzin says what they heard from voters was that they were asking for too much money, asking for too long of a period and they weren’t specific enough as to what the money would be spent on. Muzzin says they decided to come back and lowered the amount, got more specific on what it would be spent on and then reduced the request from ten to seven years. The general need has been determined to be around $2 (m) million annually. Muzzin told WHMI $1.1 (m) million will come from Tuesday’s vote and they are still working to come up with the needed $850,000 in either cuts, concessions from employees and new economic development to maintain the roads and maybe make a little improvement. He says they are looking forward to starting work and noted there will be a big emphasis on communication with residents and businesses.
Meanwhile, the Howell Public Schools bond proposal passed, also by a roughly 60-40% margin, and will provide the district with $39 (m) million dollars to fund improvements to each of its eleven buildings. It will help fund infrastructure repairs, security enhancements at each school, and improvements in educational areas, sports and performing arts facilities. Due to the district’s expected declining debt levy, officials say the proposal is not expected to result in a tax increase for residents. Instead, the debt levy is expected to decline from 6.3 mills to 6.2 mills. Howell Public Schools Superintendent Erin MacGregor told WHMI after the initial defeat of a sinking fund request in November, they took feedback from the community and repackaged it with a bond. He says they just feel really good about the community response and looking at the past week. MacGregor noted last Friday students raised $135,000 for two local charities and then having the community support the district and kids via the bond Tuesday night is just a great feeling. He says they are extremely thankful for the community support and the fact they are valuing HPS but also see the need to invest in buildings so kids, staff and families have the best learning environments. MacGregor says the funds will allow for facility upgrades across the district and will impact every building. He says they will now be getting to work timelines but every building within the next few years will see significant upgrades beginning with secure vestibules to new flooring, new roofs and HVAC improvements. He says all of the items will help buildings run smoothly and efficiently and make sure kids, staff and families have the best experience and learning environments possible.
Detailed election results can be found on the Livingston County Clerk’s webpage. A link is provided.