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Council Discussions on Millage Ballot Initiatives Continue

Dearborn officials are now exploring the details of a proposed millage increase, plus advisory questions about how the money will be allocated.

Talks of what will be on November’s ballot for Dearborn voters are heating up amongst Dearborn City Council members, as the deadline approaches for the approval of ballot language.

A meeting on Monday afternoon at City Hall proved to be the first concrete look at what residents might be voting on this fall, including adding 3.5 to 5 mills to taxpayers’ loads, with a sunset provision, and asking residents what the “essential services” really are in Dearborn.

Public discussions of a millage increase have been happening since as early as April, but council members and Mayor Jack O’Reilly have not yet agreed on how many mills the ballot proposal will ask for.

Councilwoman Nancy Hubbard saw it as all or nothing. “Let’s go for the full five (mills),” she said Monday.

In dollar amounts, five mills on an approximately $100,000 household would mean about $270 per year above what taxpayers are paying out now, which Hubbard pointed out would not be that much spread out over several payments.

But Councilman David Bazzy said he believes the council should be more cautious in what they ask for.

“I don’t know anybody in the city that thinks they’re not paying too much in taxes right now,” Bazzy said. “It’s a dangerous roulette wheel to go for the five mills. It’s a situation where people don’t really trust public servants anymore. They don’t trust that we’ve … done the best job in managing their money over time.

“It’s a significant amount of money for an average person who feels that their house is overtaxed already.”

Whatever the measure asks for, the ballot initiative will likely not identify specific funding categories that the mills will go toward.

Instead, Mayor O’Reilly proposed that voters be presented with advisory questions on the ballot, asking them to identify what the “essential activities” are in Dearborn, such as pools, libraries, leaf pickup and recreational services.

The advisory results would not be binding, but would be used by the City Council to determine where the pool of millage funds would be used to best serve residents.

“You’re simply asking the people who show up and vote what’s their opinion on their issues, and that becomes guidance,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t think there’s a better way to test what people think.”

At this point, everything is still very much up in the air. The brief Monday afternoon meeting is tentatively set to reconvene on July 12, though no official meeting notice has been posted.

Ballot language is supposed to be turned in to the state by July 8, but Attorney General Bill Schuette has given Dearborn the go-ahead to take an additional few weeks to come up with their concrete proposal.

The city will need full approval from Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder in August to officially place the questions on the November ballot.

marooned in Dbn June 29, 2011 at 08:24 PM
As far as this taxpayer/voter is concerned...it makes no difference what "language" they want to introduce to the ballot. I assure you all that this taxpayer, as far as his vote is concerned, considers this proposal DOA on voteing day. I hope that every other voter feels the same way or we will all be eventualy be taxed out of our houses in this fair city. As far as any possible recall of city politicians go, by all means...get THAT proposal's language cobbled out and placed on the same ballot. That should give a proper consensus to our elected "leaders".
marooned in Dbn June 29, 2011 at 08:26 PM
It may be that we will have to pull a Pelosi and pass the thing so we will know whats in it then.
Jane Ahern June 29, 2011 at 08:44 PM
What is your reaction to Councilwoman Hubbard recommending that the city ask for the full 20 millage points? She is aware of residents' feedback and community priorities, so what are your thoughts on that bold suggestion?
Dearborn Taxpayer June 29, 2011 at 09:43 PM
Brutely honest, it's time for Nancy to retire. John Jay Hubbard said the exact same thing during his time on the Charter Commission but thankfully he couldn't win support to put "the full 20 mills" in the last Charter revision. These folks are trying to support a legacy that simply is no longer relevant to today's realities. We need new and fresh thinking from our elected leaders, not the same old thing from 50 or even 20 years ago. If the city levies 20 mills, I will be gone. I will move my family (with 2 young children) and business to a more modern and less costly suburb! It's all about value for money and in my opinion Dearborn is headed in the wrong direction...
Nanjac July 12, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Dearborn was once a beautiful city, what happened...........it has been happening for years. We have residents that don't care and do what they want, not what should be done. Where the Mayors been? Police have to visit homes because of family dsputes and kids fighting.

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