Tecumseh City Council opts for millage request for road funds
In a struggle to find funds to repair and maintain local streets, the Tecumseh City Council on Monday voted to put a five-year 2.25 millage request on the November ballot. The decision was made in a 6-1 vote with councilman Ron Wimple dissenting.
The millage will raise approximately $2.5 million through the sale of bonds dedicated strictly for roadwork.
Council first voted against a second option for road funding by collecting fees for trash collection. The fees would have generated funding that could have been used for purposes other than roadwork, including the hiring of an additional police officer.
Councilmen Larry Van Alstine Jr. and Troy Wright voted in favor of the collection of trash fees, but lost support by the majority of council. Van Alstine noted that there wasn’t a department in the city that has not had funding reduced, including public safety.
Van Alstine and Wright, however, in a second motion to approve the millage levy, sided with the majority vote.
“The focus should be strictly on roads and should be addressed immediately,” said councilman Jack Baker. “Down the road, and in the near future, I believe we will be able to hire a new officer.”
Councilman Wimple said, “The concern I have is that we’re going back to the taxpayer. We need help from the state, federal and county level. Taxing our way out is not the answer.“
“Voter approved millage is the way to go,” said Baker. “We need to be transparent as to what we will do with the money.”
City Manager Kevin Welch and attorney Scott Baker will prepare the ballot language for council approval at the August 4 meeting.
If voters approve the millage request in November, a spring 2015 start date for road projects would begin, according to Welch.
In other action, council approved a resolution setting a public hearing to create a SmartZone LDFA District with the City of Adrian. The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 7:35 p.m. in council chambers.
The SmartZone is similar to the LDFA (Local Development Finance Authority). According to the Michigan Economic Develop-ment Corporation, LDFA is a tool designed to promote economic growth and job creation using tax increment financing to fund public infrastructure improvements for eligible properties.
If approved, Tecumseh and Adrian will become a satellite SmartZone to one currently in Ann Arbor. The agreement would be for 15 years.
The Tecumseh SmartZone District would include the city’s Business and Techno-logy Campus, Van-Rob Tecumseh, Tecumseh District Library, Tecumseh Middle and High schools, as well as the administrative building. It would also include the district set up in Adrian.