Grosse Pointe Woods millage proposal fails by 11 votes

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published August 8, 2018

File photo by Deb Jacques

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — It was so close.

By 11 votes, the Grosse Pointe Woods Headlee Override Millage Proposal for Public Safety and Public Services failed at the polls during the primary election Aug. 7.    

According to the summary report that the Wayne County Clerk’s Office released Aug. 8, there were a total of 5,865 voters between absentee voters and those who hit the polls Aug. 7.

According to the report, there were 2,938 voters who turned down the proposal, and 2,927 voters who were in favor of it.

Grosse Pointe Woods officials placed the millage initiative on the ballot in an attempt to restore revenues lost to declining home values and losses in state revenue sharing over the past 10 years. According to city officials, Grosse Pointe Woods has lost approximately $6 million since 2003 in shared revenue funding.

If the proposal had passed, it would have increased taxes by 4 mills to provide funding for purposes including police and fire services, Department of Public Works improvements, and infrastructure updates throughout the city.

That would have included road improvements, the hiring of two additional public safety officers, maintaining staffing levels in the city, the repair and maintenance of facilities, and equipment in the Public Safety and Public Works departments.

Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert Novitke said the failed millage will impact staffing levels, the city’s road improvement program and replacement of aging equipment.

“It’s disappointing, but I don’t look at it as doom and destruction,” Novitke said. “The only good news with such a close vote is how many people realized the importance of this millage request.”

“A number of residents came out and voted. Some were for it and some were against it. You accept the results and you move forward,” Public Safety Director John Kosanke said.

Kosanke didn’t want to speculate as to whether the city would go out for another millage.

“Nothing has been discussed. We’re going to wait and see,” he said.  

City officials have a 10-year pavement capital improvement plan to fix a number of roads throughout the city by either reconstructing or resurfacing them. Reconstruction is the total and complete removal of the street and pouring of new concrete. Resurfacing occurs when the existing asphalt is ground off, any underlying defects are repaired, and a new asphalt surface is installed. The millage would have generated funding toward the program.

“It was a close race. It would have been great if it had passed. It’s unfortunate that 50 percent of the voters turned down additional police protection and the road program,” Director of Public Works Frank Schulte said. “I feel disappointed we will not have any funding for the proposed 10-year road program.”

Several roads are slated for work over the next few months. Next year, city officials had hoped to resurface Oxford Drive from Jackson Avenue to the western city limit, and also Virginia Lane, which is a dead end to Vernier Road.

In the District 1 state representative race, current District 1 state Rep. Tenisha Yancey won the Democratic Party nomination Aug. 7 with 7,573 votes to Shaun Maloy’s 1,919 votes. Republican candidate Mark Corcoran ran unopposed for the Republican Party nomination and received 2,927 votes, and Gregory Creswell ran unopposed for the Libertarian Party nomination and received 25 votes.

In the District 2 state representative race, Democrat Joe Tate won the Democratic primary with 2,950 votes, beating out Kinda Makini Anderson, Carol Banks, Willie Bell, Latisha Johnson, E. Regina Jones and Carla L. Tinsley-Smith. Republican candidate John Palffy ran unopposed and received 2,544 votes to earn the Republican nomination.

Democrat Adam Hollier and Republican Lisa Papas came out on top in the District 2 state Senate race Aug. 7. The two will vie for a four-year term in the general election. Hollier also won the Democratic primary to run unopposed in November to complete a partial term in the district that will end Dec. 31, 2018.

In the state Senate race for District 1, Democrat Stephanie Chang received 16,422 votes to win the Democratic nomination, beating out James Cole Jr., Nicholas Rivera, Stephanie Roehm, Bettie Cook Scott and Alberta Tinsley Talabi. Republican Pauline Montie ran unopposed for the Republican nomination and received 8,426 votes.