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
In August, voters in the city of Ypsilanti will be deciding whether to raise property taxes by 0.98 mills to fund public transportation.
If passed, the proposal would override the Headlee rollback and allow the city to collect a full 20 mills of property taxes from residents and amend the city charter to dedicate that increase solely for the use of public transportation.
The main focus of the proposal is to generate revenue to continue bus service from the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. The Headlee override is expected to generate $281,429 in 2011, if voters approve the proposal.
City Council approved putting the proposal on the August ballot unanimously during Tuesday night's meeting. The vote came after a public hearing where four residents spoke—none against the proposal.
“I would not be an Ypsilanti resident if it were not for the public transportation service,” said Ypsilanti resident and former city planner Richard Murphy. “It's critical to... provide a stable funding source.”
When City Council agreed to an arrangement with the AATA in Sept. 2009 to fund bus service in Ypsilanti until 2011, it also said it would put forth the ballot proposal if discussions of a county-wide transportation millage did not come to fruition. The agreement had Ypsilanti fund bus service in the city for two years and the AATA use federal grant dollars to make up the city's $123,000 shortfall of the total $264,000 cost for bus service.
If the proposal passes and a county-wide millage is put in place to fund public transportation, than the millage would not be levied unless needed to supplement the millage, which would require approval from City Council.
During audience participation, Resident Beth Bashert said she supported the proposal, but with a mayoral race and three elections for City Council she said it would be hard to find people to organize and execute a campaign effectively by August.
“It's coming up in two and a half months,” Bashert said. “Who is going to run the campaign?
“I don't know who is going to fight for it and it needs a champion,” she said.
Mayor Paul Schreiber agreed that it would be difficult to convince voters to increase property taxes and said it is important to find someone with the time and desire to campaign for the proposal.
Ypsilanti resident Ingrid Koch said she was involved in Keep Ypsi Rolling, a 2006 effort to dedicate existing millage rates for bus service. The measure was unsuccessful, but Koch said she would be campaigning for the new proposal.
City Council to discuss local bus millage