Bond, tax questions await November voters

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Two questions will face voters on the November general election – bond and millage questions that represent small tax increases officials hope make a big difference in city operations.

Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause said that, if approved, the ballot questions would result in little increase for taxpayers, the majority of whom have seen lower tax bills in recent years.

“Property taxes in Lincoln Park have consistently gone down for the last three years,” Diaz Krause said. “I hope people will weigh that and consider how badly they want new roads.”

To address roadwork and infrastructure improvements, voters will be asked to approve a bond proposal to borrow up to $30 million to be paid over 10 years. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $40,000 would pay about $245 per year if approved.

City council approved the ballot question in August as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize downtown streets and generate interest from businesses. Several miles of residential streets were identified as needing repair work along with public facilities and parks.

Along with infrastructure, the most pressing challenge facing city officials has been addressing annual budget deficits to maintain existing staff and services. In August city council approved a ballot question seeking voter approval to restore the current 19.33 mill property tax to 20 mills with a Headlee Amendment override.

The resulting change for most Lincoln Park homeowners would be about $33 annually, Diaz Krause said.

“It would be for general operating expenses,” Diaz Krause said, and is expected to help maintain services at current levels if approved. Current projections indicated that the city may face a deficit of about $1 million for the 2013-14 budget.

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