Voters to consider Headlee override

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — City administrators continue looking for ways to reduce the city’s budget — and balance a projected $5 million deficit — and will also ask voters if additional revenues should be generated via tax levy.

Last month the city council approved a ballot question set for a May 8 special election seeking voter approval of an override to the Headlee amendment rollback.

Under the terms of the Headlee amendment, municipalities are required to reduce levies relative to property values and the rate of inflation. Currently, Headlee limits Taylor to 8.42 mills; the override would allow up to 9.5 mills to be levied.

Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand said the additional amount would cost most Taylor homeowners less than $50 annually, and would generate an estimated $1.4 million in revenue.

Taylor faces a projected $5 million deficit, and must soon submit a deficit reduction plan to state treasury officials.

Failure to bring its budget in line may result in Emergency Financial Management assuming authority over the city’s administration.

For nearly a year, Taylor officials reduced service hours, cut down on expenses and laid off employees in an effort to bring the city’s finances in line. Lamarand said the ballot question to consider taxes may be another avenue to consider.

“It was our understanding in meetings with council that they didn’t want to just focus on cuts,” Lamarand said. “We could just cut our way out of deficit, we needed to generate revenues.”

Lamarand said it remained to be seen if voters will approve a tax increase, or if another solution needs to be found.

“We need to get our costs in line with what residents can afford,” Lamarand said.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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