Milan city council members say badly maintained roads are one of voters biggest complaints. But are residents willing to pay more taxes to fix the problem?
On November 3 voters in Milan will decide whether to amend the city’s charter to increase road repair funding.
Mayor Michael Armitage says residents have been asking the city to address the issue for years. He says, “Ever since taking office I’ve heard from residents that they would be supportive of a millage if it was dedicated for roads.”
Armitage says Milan is one of many communities in Michigan that are looking for ways to raise money for road repair because they feel state lawmakers have been slow to pass funding legislation.
“We can’t just keep relying on state funds to fix our roads. They’re getting worse and worse. And like a lot of communities we need to come up with our own solutions and our own ways of getting it done.", Armitage says.
The resolution that will be on the November ballot will increase property taxes in Milan by one mill and dedicate the funds to roads. Milan City Councilman Brent Moyer has been advocating for such a measure since he was first elected eight years ago. He says although there seems to be a lot of support for the tax increase among residents and officials, it took a long time for the city council members to agree on the details of the amendment.
“I would consider it a struggle, because I’ve really pushed for it. I was on the council...for eight years. I’ve really pushed for it. Every single budget cycle we would talk about it...we would talk about roads and I was constantly reminding that people...had been asking that we do something more permanent. So as far as I’m concerned it took a really long time to get here.”
Moyer says the biggest concern he’s heard from residents so far is how the money will be used once major road repairs are finished. “Those concerns have been raised from the very beginning," he says. "My answer to that early on is that we have a lot of dreams about infrastructure, about capital improvement, and so my idea is that we will never run out of reasons to spend money on capital improvement."
Moyer says raising one mill of the city’s property taxes translates to about $150 for the average homeowner each year. Milan voters will decide on the issue, as well as a mayoral race and three city council seats when they head to the polls next Tuesday.
- Amanda LeClaire is an assignment reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her: email@example.com