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Debate Over Water Street Millage Held At EMU

Ypsilanti residents will decide in August whether to approve a 2.3 millage to pay off debt from the Water Street Project. Officials from both sides made their case to residents last night.



Officials debated the urgency of passing a 2.3 millage on the August ballot.

City officials say the millage will allow the city to more quickly pay down debt from the Water Street Redevelopment Project.  Steven Pierce is the founder of Stop City From Increasing Taxes, a citizens group opposed to the Water Street millage. 

He says, 

“I’m running into, we’re all running into a lot of undecided voters. And they’re torn because we care very deeply about this community. We love Ypsilanti, it’s our home, it’s where our businesses are, it’s where our families are, and we don’t want to see us fail. But we also have to look and say, 'Is this the right thing? Is a tax increase the right thing for the success and sustainability of Ypsilanti?'"

Pierce may have convinced some potential Ypsilanti home owners.  Joanie Recker works in downtown Ypsilanti.  She’s looking to purchase a house closer to her work, but says the city’s property taxes are already too high. 

“I plan to vote 'no'. I do think that even though the millage is going to be a wash. I don’t believe that it’s a wash. If you have the opportunity to lower your taxes, it’s not a wash.”

The debate is only one of many public events the city will hold to push passage of the millage before August.  Edmonds says the city’s financial health depends on it.

She says,

“We would not have supported this as a council if it was a tax increase, but there is no net tax increase. And people are saying, 'Ok, deal with the things that’s pulling us down and not increase our taxes.' That’s a win-win...we’ve been tasked by the voters to come up with a plan to move forward, and this is the plan.”

Ypsilanti voters will decide whether to pass the millage on the August ballot.

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— Amanda LeClaire is an assignment reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her aleclair@emich.edu

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