A resolution to postpone the adoption of ballot language for a new Macomb County Jail passed, which means the Macomb County Board of Commissioners will consider putting the jail proposal on a 2020 ballot. Pictured previously, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham speaks to the BOC.

A resolution to postpone the adoption of ballot language for a new Macomb County Jail passed, which means the Macomb County Board of Commissioners will consider putting the jail proposal on a 2020 ballot. Pictured previously, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham speaks to the BOC.

File photo by Alex Szwarc


Macomb County board postpones adoption of ballot language for new jail

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published July 29, 2019

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MACOMB COUNTY — The plan for a new Macomb County Jail was further examined by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners earlier this month.

The July 18 BOC Records and Public Safety Committee meeting looked at the results of a poll conducted July 5-8, in which a majority of residents opposed a proposal to raise property taxes to fund a $371 million new jail.

A pair of resolutions were also on the table regarding ballot language and authorizing a millage election.

The first resolution, presented by Commissioner Rob Leonetti, was to postpone the adoption of ballot language.

The resolution states that Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham submitted a request to the board for it to authorize a ballot proposal levying the millage for the Nov. 5 election.

For that to happen, the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office estimated that the countywide proposal would cost approximately $400,000.

The board determined it more cost-effective to consider placing the proposition on a ballot for which there would be no additional expenses incurred by Macomb County taxpayers.

“It was a resolution to postpone the election for the jail, not just the ballot language, to a 2020 date,” said Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet, who represents most of Macomb Township. “The resolution says we will consider postponing it to a 2020 election date. The goal of the resolution was to make it clear that it wouldn’t be on the November 2019 election, because that would cost the county $400,000.”

The resolution to postpone the adoption of ballot language passed, which means the BOC will consider putting the jail proposal on a 2020 ballot.

Also postponed from the June 20 full board meeting was a resolution authorizing a millage election for constructing, equipping, operating, maintaining and financing a new county jail; expanding correctional programming; and certifying ballot language.

“This vote was about whether or not to adopt the jail plan as the plan we would move forward with,” Drolet said. “From my perspective, it was unfortunate that it overwhelmingly passed.”

The resolution passed in a 10-2 vote, with Drolet and Commissioner Phil Kraft voting “no.” Kraft represents Lenox Township, Chesterfield Township, New Haven and New Baltimore.

The funding mechanism recommended is a 20-year, 0.98-mill county tax: 0.78 mill would fund the $371 million proposed new jail, and 0.2 mill would support the operation and personnel costs associated with it. For a home worth $150,000, 0.98 mill would cost $73.50 per year for just over two decades.

The board’s next step, as it relates to the jail proposal, is deciding which 2020 election it will be placed on — March, August or November — and how the language will be structured.

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