Washtenaw County Ballot Proposals: Taxes for Roads, Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: Both of these ballot proposals PASSED. With 66.35% turnout, 70.94% of voters approved the tax for road construction. The tax to support services for veterans was approved by 73.18% of voters countywide. For more results, check the Washtenaw County elections site.

There are two Washtenaw County tax proposals for voters to decide on Nov. 8: 1) for maintenance and construction of roads and non-motorized paths, and 2) to fund services for veterans. Both proposals were put on the ballot by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners.

Remember: Ann Arbor voters will also be weighing in on a City of Ann Arbor proposal on mayor/council term length, and on a tax proposal by the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan.

For a list of all ballot proposals in communities throughout Washtenaw County, check out the county elections websiteAnd if you're ready to see a SAMPLE BALLOTclick here.


WASHTENAW COUNTY BALLOT PROPOSAL:

Washtenaw County Road & Non-Motorized Path Tax

Washtenaw County is asking voters to approve a four-year property tax to fund maintenance and construction of roads, bike lanes and non-motorized paths in Washtenaw County. It would allow the county to collect up to 0.5 mills annually for four years, starting in December 2016.

This tax would replace an 0.5-mill tax that the county levied in 2014 and 2015. To levy that tax, the county relied on an early 20th century law that, according to the county, allowed it to levy the tax without voter approval. Earlier this year, that decision was challenged in a lawsuit filed by Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation and three local residents (Ted Annis, William Gordon and Robert Guysky). The lawsuit, which also focuses on a veterans affairs tax levied by the county, was dismissed by the Michigan Court of Appeals on Aug. 17, 2016.

In addition to setting the ballot language, the county board’s resolution regarding this millage states that 20% of the revenue in any year shall be used for non-motorized transportation throughout the county – such as bike lanes and paths – administered by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission. There are several other clauses that describe how the funds will be allocated – information that won’t appear on the ballot. (Click here to see the full resolution, passed by the county board on July 6, 2016.)

A campaign committee to support this millage – called Just Fix The Roads – was formed by Lew Kidder in July 2016.

So how much is 0.5 mills? It depends on the value of your property. If you own a home with a $200,000 market value and a $100,000 taxable value, you’d pay $50 per year.  (Check out our Voter Vocabulary glossary for a more detailed explanation of how to calculate a millage.)

Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:

PROPOSITION TO AUTHORIZE THE LEVYING OF .50 MILLS TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO MAINTAIN, RECONSTRUCT, RESURFACE, OR PRESERVE ROADS, BIKE LANES, STREETS, AND PATHS

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed each year for all purposes on real and tangible personal property in Washtenaw County, Michigan be increased as provided in Section 6, Article IX of the Michigan Constitution and the Board of Commissioners of the County be authorized to levy a tax not to exceed one half of one mill ($0.50 per $1,000 of state taxable valuation) for a period of four (4) years, beginning with the December 1, 2016 tax levy (which will generate estimated revenues of $7,302,408 in the first year), to provide funding to the Washtenaw County Road Commission, Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the various cities, villages, and townships of Washtenaw County to maintain, construct, resurface, reconstruct, or preserve roads, bike lanes, streets, and paths in Washtenaw County?

YES/NO

In the News: Washtenaw County Road & Non-Motorized Path Tax

Washtenaw County Road Commission Info Page

Court dismisses lawsuit accusing county of illegally levying $24 million in taxesMichigan Daily, Aug. 25, 2016

Lawsuit claiming Washtenaw County illegally collected $24M in taxes dismissedMLive, Aug. 24, 2016

Washtenaw County to seek millages for roads, veterans in NovemberMLive, July 7, 2016

Link to Washtenaw County board resolution putting road millage on the Nov. 8 ballot – July 6, 2016

10-year road repair millage could appear on November Washtenaw County ballotMLive, July 2, 2016

Washtenaw County road tax likely to appear on November ballotMLive, June 2, 2016

Commissioners vote against placing road tax on August ballotMLive, May 5, 2016

New lawsuit alleges Washtenaw County illegally collected $24M in taxesMLive, April 14, 2016


WASHTENAW COUNTY BALLOT PROPOSAL:

Washtenaw County Veterans Affairs Tax

Washtenaw County is asking voters to approve an eight-year property tax to fund services for veterans in Washtenaw County, including funding for the county’s department of veterans affairs. It would allow the county to collect up to 0.1 mills annually for eight years, starting in December 2016. (Click here to see the full resolution placing the tax proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot, passed by the county board on July 6, 2016.)

This tax would replace a similar tax that the county levied annually since 2008, but which only raised funds to pay for services for indigent veterans. To levy that tax, the county relied on a late 19th century law that, according to the county, allowed it to levy the tax without voter approval. Earlier this year, that decision was challenged in a lawsuit filed by Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation and three local residents (Ted Annis, William Gordon and Robert Guysky). The lawsuit, which also focuses on a road tax levied by the county, was dismissed by the Michigan Court of Appeals on Aug. 17, 2016.

For an owner of a home with a $200,000 market value and a $100,000 taxable value, a 0.1-mill tax would cost $10 annually. (Check out our Voter Vocabulary glossary for a more detailed explanation of how to calculate a millage.)

Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:

PROPOSITION TO INCREASE THE TAX LIMITATION FOR THE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR THE PURPOSE OF FUNDING WASHTENAW COUNTY’S OBLIGATION TO  PROVIDE FINANCIAL RELIEF  AND SERVICES FOR WASHTENAW COUNTY VETERANS, INCLUDING THE PAYMENT OF ELIGIBLE INDIGENT VETERAN CLAIMS, AND TO FUND THE OPERATION OF THE WASHTENAW COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed each year for all purposes on real and tangible personal property in Washtenaw County, Michigan be increased as provided in Article 9, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution and the Board of Commissioners of the County be authorized to levy a tax not to exceed one tenth of one mill ($.0.10 per $1,000) of state equalized valuation of such property for eight (8) years beginning with the December 1, 2016 tax levy (which will generate estimated revenues of $1,535,993 in the first year of the millage) for the purpose of funding Washtenaw County’s obligation to provide financial relief and services for Washtenaw County veterans, including the payment of eligible indigent veteran claims, and to fund the administration of the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs?

YES/NO

In the News: Washtenaw County Veterans Affairs Tax

Court dismisses lawsuit accusing county of illegally levying $24 million in taxes – Michigan Daily, Aug. 25, 2016

Lawsuit claiming Washtenaw County illegally collected $24M in taxes dismissed – MLive, Aug. 24, 2016

Washtenaw County to seek millages for roads, veterans in November – MLive, July 7, 2016

Link to copy of Washtenaw County board resolution putting veterans affairs millage on the Nov. 8 ballot – July 6, 2016

New lawsuit alleges Washtenaw County illegally collected $24M in taxes – MLive, April 14, 2016

 

 

PROPOSALS ON THE NOV. 8 BALLOT:

Ann Arbor

Increasing Term Length for Mayor & City Council

Washtenaw County

Road & Non-Motorized Path Tax
Veterans Affairs Tax

Regional Transit Authority (RTA)

Regional Public Transit Tax



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