Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Ypsi Township looks to millage rate increase

The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees was presented with a dismal revenue forecast at Tuesday evening's regular meeting. Photo by Christine Laughren

The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees was presented with a dismal revenue forecast at Tuesday evening's regular meeting.

Officials eye 2 or 3 additional mills for police services

By Christine Laughren
Jul. 22, 2009    ·    12:32 a.m.

The Charter Township of Ypsilanti will likely consider a millage increase for law enforcement.

The increase, briefly discussed at Tuesday evening's township board meeting, would likely keep police services secure as major losses in revenue are projected for the coming years.

Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said a temporary millage increase of 2 or 3 mills would most likely be discussed at special meetings yet to determined. The Township must file ballot language by Aug. 25 in order for the measure to go before the voters in the November election.

A recent survey, sent out to 3,000 township residents with a 16 percent rate of return, showed several residents were in favor of maintaining police, fire and solid waste services as top priorities according to Stumbo.

Although Stumbo ran for election on a platform against new taxes, she said police services are important to keep the community thriving.

“We have to make sure - in order to attract economic development - we have a safe community, and we have a clean community,” Stumbo said Tuesday night.

The township is searching for ways to tackle a two-year budget as it faces steep losses in taxable value and state shared revenue. Township officials estimate a 30 to 40 percent decline in taxable value by 2013.

Following its announcement to close and sell the Willow Run Transmission Operations Plant. General Motors also filed a petition with the Michigan Tax Tribunal to have its taxable value in Ypsilanti Township reduced from $166 million to $45 million in preparation of the company shutting the facility down.

Paired with the loss in tax revenue from the ACH/Ford plant and residential tax-payers challenging their assessments, the township estimates approximately $400 million in lost tax revenue by 2011.

In 2009 the township lost $187,000 in state shared revenue and anticipates less from the state in coming years as it deals with its own budget crisis.

A presentation given Tuesday by David Williamson, the township’s financial advisor, showed anticipated losses to the township’s general, fire, police and environmental services budgets. Williamson reported revenue losses would result in deficit fund balances to the budgets if cost reductions and other structural changes were not taken.

The township has had a mill rate (amount of tax per $1 thousand of property value) of 10.4 since 2003 according to Stumbo. Accordingly, a house located in the township with an assessed valued of $200,000 would have property tax set at $2,080 annually.

The township supervisor said she thinks a 3 mill increase would be best to recoup the six deputies lost when the township went from 44 to 38 deputies contracted through the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department. She said a 2 mill increase would sustain the 38 deputies currently contracted.

“Ultimately, it will be up to the people,” she said before the Township Board’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The township has already taken measures to set its budget straight including leaving 20 positions in the municipality vacant. The board is also considering reductions to compensation packages for elected officials and non-union employees.

According to a memo sent by Stumbo to the board of trustees July 13, changes and adjustments made to health care packages, benefits, reimbursements and paid holidays could save the township a little less than $120,000.

Stumbo said special meetings to discuss possible millage increases and the townships budget would be held in the near future. Voters in November will also be facing a 2-mill increase for schools proposed by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

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