Grosse Pointe Park voters to decide on proposed charter changes this fall

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 3, 2023

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Voters in Grosse Pointe Park will have several charter amendments to consider when they cast their ballots this fall.

Besides two proposals which, if approved, would allow the establishment of businesses that sell marijuana in the city, there are two additional charter changes in front of voters. The collection fees proposal, Proposal 1, would change the summer tax collection deadline from the Aug. 31 date in the charter to Sept. 14, which City Manager Nick Sizeland said is the deadline the state has established for summer taxes. In essence, if approved, not only would the city be in keeping with state guidelines, but Park taxpayers would get an extra two weeks to pay their summer taxes.

Sizeland said the city’s attorneys said the city couldn’t just change the deadline, because it was written into the charter.

“We thought the best thing moving forward was to put it on the ballot and go from there,” Sizeland said.

Proposal 2 would eliminate primaries for city elections. The way the charter is written now, if there are more than twice the number of candidates running for election as there are open seats, the city has had to hold an August primary to reduce the number. In the last two local election cycles, Sizeland said, the city has had to conduct primaries to eliminate a single candidate; the most recent example was this year’s August primary, which whittled the City Council candidate list from seven to six. Sizeland said each of these primaries cost the city about $12,000. If voters approve Proposal 2, all candidates running for city offices will be in front of the voters in the November general election.

The language for both ballot proposals was approved by the Park City Council during a special meeting July 31. The tax collection date question was approved 6-0, while the elimination of primaries for city elections was approved 5-1, with City Councilman Vikas Relan casting the dissenting vote. Mayor Michele Hodges was unable to attend the meeting.