LP voters asked for tax renewal, override

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — While the city’s financial decisions have been turned over to a state-appointed emergency manager, voters will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a tax override to help shore up the general fund.

Local issues on Tuesday’s primary election ballot include a Headlee Amendment override proposal for the city, and a millage renewal for Lincoln Park Public Schools’ repair and improvement fund.

City officials approved in May a ballot question seeking voter approval for an override of the property tax-capping Headlee Amendment to aid its struggle for a balanced budget and reduced deficit. Previously, voters rejected a similar proposal in November 2012, but Mayor Thomas Karnes said the city’s financial picture has, obviously, grown even more critical since then.

The Headlee override would restore property taxes up to 20 mills — residents are currently taxed at just under 19 mills. If approved, the maximum amount allowed would cost the average homeowner about $30 annually.

Karnes said the amount generated — an estimated $250,000 — would help the city continue its shortfall reduction. Recent concessions from employee unions have, he said, cut as much as possible from the city’s now skeletal budget.

Homeowners within the school district will be asked to approve a millage renewal to create a sinking fund for construction and repair of school buildings, improvement and development of sites and furnishing of equipment and technology.

The 10-year millage would levy 1.4436 mills, generate $757,833 in its first year, and cost the average homeowner $48 annually.

The sinking fund was first approved in 2004 and is dedicated to certain building issues and cannot be used for salaries or operations.

Along with the ballot proposals, Lincoln Park voters will be asked to select judicial candidates for the vacant 25th District Court seat currently held by retiring Judge Michael Ciungan.

Attorneys Todd Barron, Greg Clifton and Nicholas Tsalis are seeking the seat, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election.

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