2015-05-07 / Front Page

Voters reject city street tax

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com


Councilman Dennis Pinkston and City Manager Adam Zettel await results as the polls close Tuesday in Swartz Creek. 
Photo by Lania Rocha Councilman Dennis Pinkston and City Manager Adam Zettel await results as the polls close Tuesday in Swartz Creek. Photo by Lania Rocha SWARTZ CREEK — City leaders will have to come up with a new plan for fixing the streets after voters rejected a millage request in Tuesday’s election.

The vote count ended with 729 ballots in favor of the 5.7-mil property tax levy, and 831 against, for a margin of about 47 percent to about 53 percent.

“That’s pretty close,” said City Manager Adam Zettel.

More than 44 percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots. That was well over the 10 percent Genesee County Clerk John Gleason had predicted for the election that also included a statewide proposal aimed at raising money to repair M-routes and other roadways within the state’s jurisdiction.

A precinct-by-precinct breakdown of the vote showed that voters in Precincts 1 and 2, which include Winchester Village, supported the local proposal.

The final vote in Precinct 1 was 250 yes, 198 no. In Precinct 2, the vote ended at 207 yes, 113 no.

Voting in Precinct 3 was close, with 121 ballots cast in favor of the millage, 158 against.

Precinct 4 voters soundly defeated the request by a vote of 151 to 362.

Precinct 4 includes both Yarmy Drive and Parkridge Parkway which, along with Worchester Drive, were designated for the first round of repairs had the millage passed.

It also includes Springbrook Colony condominiums, where residents own and maintain their own roadways.

(Zettel noted that the city had offered to negotiate a plan to make those roads public.)

Zettel said there are likely multiple reasons why the levy failed.

“How Proposal 1 impacted us is unclear,” he said. “I certainly do believe that there was a lot of confusion.”

Councilman Dennis Pinkston, who served on the 15-member Save Our Streets committee, agreed.

“We knocked on doors and handed out (pamphlets),” said Pinkston. “We had 150 signs out. And we still ran into people who didn’t know anything about it. How could they not know when their neighbor had a sign in their yard?”

In the days before the election, some voters still didn’t know the difference between the state’s Proposal 1 and the local millage request, he said.

Zettel said when the City Council reconvenes as a whole, they will explore other options, with much consideration to what the state’s next move is likely to be.

“We’ll let the dust settle and see what the state is willing to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, the city can’t afford to initiate the work that was bid in the hope that the millage would pass.

And that means the streets will continue to crumble for a while longer.

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