By Mike Fossano
Voters across metro Detroit today will decide tax proposals and pare down mayoral and city council candidates. Typically, the August primary turnouts are much lower than their November brethren, according to election officials, since this is typically the time of year when people skip town on vacation. However, some hot-button issues may draw in more voters than usual at the polls in certain areas.
One of those communities is Troy, where voters will choose whether or not to enact a tax proposal that will directly impact the fate of the city’s public library. The 0.7-mill tax would generate $3.1 million for library services over a five-year period with the purpose of providing exclusive funding for the city’s library. The tax would cost the average homeowner $70 a year. City officials have said that the library will close as soon as August 5 (and no later than August 12) if the millage isn’t approved.
Interesting sidenote: In 1971 the Troy Public Library asked famous authors, politicians, and others to write letters to children to tell of the importance of a library. Phillip Kwik, head of public services at the Troy Public Library, recently uncovered these letters. You can read the entire collection here, which features notes from Dr. Seuss, E.B. White, Isaac Asimov, First Lady Pat Nixon, then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan and former Gov. Bill Milliken, among many others.
Also in Oakland County, residents of Southfield and Rochester Hills will trim the list of mayoral and City Council candidates. Voters will also select a county commissioner for District 2 to fill a partial term previously held by the County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr.
In Macomb County, Center Line residents will vote on a 7.5-mills public safety levy and a proposed 4.78-mills bond issue to upgrade the city’s public schools. The 10-year public safety measure would generate $1.4 million a year and cost the average homeowner about $375 a year, while the school proposal would cost about $239 in the first year and $400 annually after that.
In Wayne County, Livonia voters will be asked to approve charter amendments for an additional 1.7-mills for five years for police and fire departments, which would cost the average homeowner $85 a year. Officials also are seeking a tax of .25 mills for the same term for Livonia Senior Services and Greenmead Historical Village, at a cost $12.50 a year for the average homeowner.