What Issues Will You Be Voting On?
On Nov. 7, Ann Arbor voters will weigh in on two ballot proposals: 1) a countywide tax for public safety and mental health services, and 2) a renewal of the special education tax levied by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD). Scroll below for a summary of those proposals.
Several other communities – Sharon Township, Webster Township, Chelsea Area Fire Authority and the school districts of Lincoln, Northfield and Saline – will have ballot proposals as well. Check out the county elections website for more info.
If you're ready to see a SAMPLE BALLOT, click here.
Washtenaw County: Public Safety & Mental Health Services
Washtenaw County government is asking voters to approve a new 1-mill tax to support public safety and mental health services. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners authorized putting it on the ballot at their July 12, 2017 meeting.
Anyone who owns property in Washtenaw County would pay the new tax. It would be levied at 1 mill for eight years, starting in December 2018. It would raise an estimated $15 million in its first year.
The proceeds would be distributed in three ways:
- Thirty-eight percent (38%) would go to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff Jerry Clayton, for public safety services.
- Thirty-eight percent (38%) would go to the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Department. They provide services for the mentally ill.
- Twenty-four percent (24%) would be divided among communities that have local police forces, including the cities of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti, as well as in Pittsfield Township and Northfield Township.
For the 24% divided among municipalities with their own police forces, there are no restrictions on how that money is spent. That is, the proposal does not stipulate that those communities must spend the tax revenues on public safety or mental health services.
The Ann Arbor City Council has already passed a resolution indicating how the city's share – an estimated $2.2 million annually – would be allocated: 20% to improve pedestrian safety; 40% to support the goals of the city’s Affordable Housing Needs Assessment (as described in the Washtenaw County Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis) and to increase workforce housing; and 40% to support the goals of Ann Arbor’s Climate Action Plan.
Sheriff Jerry Clayton and Trish Cortes, executive director of the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health department, made a case for this new millage at an April 20, 2017 county board working session. Click here to watch a video of their presentation.
A ballot committee called Yes To Our Mental Health & Public Safety is supporting the proposal. The committee's treasurer is Martha Darling. Click here for campaign finance information on the Yes To Our Mental Health & Public Safety ballot committee.
A ballot committee called No To Illegal Millage opposes the proposal. The committee's treasurer is William Gordon. Click here for campaign finance information on the No To Illegal Millage ballot committee.
Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:
Washtenaw County Community Mental Health and Public Safety Preservation Millage
For the purposes of using the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Department to improve the treatment of people with mental health needs, provide increased financial support for mental health crisis, stabilization and prevention, and for continued law enforcement services provided by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and for local governments which have their own police force, shall the limitations on the total amount of taxes which may be levied against taxable property within Washtenaw County, Michigan, as provided for by Section 6 of Article IX of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, be increased up to the amount of $1.00 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation (1.0 mills) for a period of eight years, beginning with the December 1, 2018 levy and extending through the 2025 levy, which shall raise in the first year an estimated $15,433,608.00 to be used as follows: 38% shall be allocated to Washtenaw County's Community Mental Health Department for mental health crisis, stabilization and prevention, and to meet mental health needs in an appropriate setting, thus reducing the burden on the jail and improving care; 38% shall be allocated to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office to ensure continued operations and increased collaboration with the mental health community; and 24% shall be allocated to jurisdictions in the County which maintain their own police force (currently Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Milan, Saline, Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township and Northfield Township) in proportion to their respective 2016 population values?
In the News: Washtenaw County Public Safety & Mental Health Services Tax
County Commissioner Chair LaBarre Pitches Mental Health, Public Safety Millage – The Saline Post, Oct. 11, 2017
League of Women Voters/Saline High Debate Team Forum (video) – Community Television Network, Oct. 10, 2017
Washtenaw County Sheriff Discusses Controversial Millage Proposal With Dexter City Council – The Sun Times News, Sept. 20, 2017
New tax could help Ann Arbor go solar, switch to electric vehicles – MLive, Aug. 7, 2017
8-year public safety, mental health tax on Washtenaw's November ballot – MLive, July 13, 2017
City Council debates use of potential millage funds – Michigan Daily, July 4, 2017
Ann Arbor council votes 8-3 on how it'd use millions in new tax money – MLive, July 4, 2017
Lawmakers say mental health cuts put Michigan counties in bad spot – MLive, May 23, 2017
'Community crisis' has Washtenaw County officials talking tax increase – MLive, April 21, 2017
Washtenaw Intermediate School District: Special Education Tax Renewal
The Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) is seeking an 8-year renewal on a tax to support special education services. The request is for 0.9719 mill and would be levied from 2018 through 20125, raising an estimated $15.2 million in its first year.
The WISD board voted to put the millage on the ballot at their Aug. 8, 2017 meeting.
This tax is in addition to the 1.5-mill, 10-year special education tax that voters approved in May 2016. The proceeds from that tax cover costs to provide special education services in Washtenaw County that are otherwise not reimbursed by the state and federal government.
This proposal will be on the ballot for voters who live in the following school districts, which the WISD serves: Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Lincoln, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake and Ypsilanti.
Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:
SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL
This proposal will allow the intermediate school district to continue to levy special education millage previously approved by the electors.
Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Michigan, be increased by .9719 mill ($0.9719 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 8 years, 2018 to 2025, inclusive, to provide funds for the education of students with a disability; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2018 is approximately $15,200,000 from local property taxes authorized herein (this is a renewal of millage that expired with the 2017 tax levy)?
The WISD is providing information about the millage request on its website – click here.
In the News: WISD Special Education Tax Renewal
[We'll update this page with news articles when available.]
What if I don't live in Ann Arbor?
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