The Detroit News agrees with the 9th Congressional District Republican Party! Vote NO on Tuesday, February 23rd. in the Berkley School District (Berkley, Huntington Woods and a section of Oak Park), vote NO in Bloomfield Township & vote NO in Troy.
Editorial: This is wrong time for schools to ask for tax hikes
The Detroit News
A number of Metro Detroit school districts and municipalities are looking for extra funds in next Tuesday's elections. Given the financial stress confronting the region's families, this isn't the time for tax hikes. Officials say they have cut their budgets, but given our high rates of home foreclosures and unemployment, it is easier for government and its workers to make more sacrifices than it is for taxpayers to do so.
The Berkley School District will ask voters to support a massive, seven-year rebuilding and remodeling program for the district that will result in a total of $168 million in spending. The revenue for the spending would come from a tax levy -- 4.27 mills in the first year -- that would support a series of bond issues lasting up to 30 years. (One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in a home's taxable value) A spokeswoman for the district notes that it has a particular problem in that all of its schools were built in the middle of the last century and all are in need of rebuilding, replacing and upgrading at the same time.
But this, frankly, is poor planning. This is a bad year to seek such a large tax hike. The district undoubtedly needs to rebuild and repair its schools, but it should break the millage down into smaller increments and stage it in more affordable amounts. Vote no .
Troy is seeking an additional 1.9 mills for five years to shore up its operating funds. The city's property tax base is shrinking with the decline in the region's property tax values. The city has trimmed staff and won pay reductions from supervisors and health coverage concessions from rank and file workers. And the city argues that homeowners would still see a lower tax bill because of falling assessments. But residents themselves are facing declining incomes and rising health care costs, if they still have their jobs. Perhaps the millage would expire before property values rebound, but we're skeptical that the additional tax would be repealed early if that happens.
Bloomfield Township is in the same situation as nearby Troy, and is seeking 1.3 additional operating mills for 10 years. Supervisor David Payne notes that the township has trimmed staff and cut other expenses. Payne, like his Troy counterparts, contends that homeowners would still see a reduction in their tax bill compared with last year. But our argument is the same -- particularly with a 10-year levy. Vote no.
The Chippewa Valley Schools district, headquartered in Clinton Township, is seeking an extension of a 7.65-mill levy for an additional five years, from 2026 to 2031, for a rebuilding and improvement program that amounts to about $89 million. Since it's not a net increase in the current tax burden, vote yes.
In Van Buren Township, Supervisor Paul White, Clerk Leon Wright and trustees Albert Ostrowski and Denise Partridge are facing a recall election. The issue is their appointment of a new public safety director. White has only been in office since the 2008 election and supervisors should have control of the management of the Public Safety Department. Unhappy residents can always turn him and the others out at the next regular election. Vote no on the recall.
From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100217/OPINION01/2170314/1008/opinion01/Editori#ixzz0fpOwNujb