Out of a field of seven candidates for City Council, St. Clair Shores voters sent six, including all three incumbents, on to the general election.

Out of a field of seven candidates for City Council, St. Clair Shores voters sent six, including all three incumbents, on to the general election.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Proposals pass in election in St. Clair Shores

One eliminated in race for City Council

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 9, 2019


ST. CLAIR SHORES — With 16.7% voter turnout in the Aug. 6 primary election, one resident has been eliminated in the race for City Council, while streets, police and fire will be funded by dedicated millages.

According to unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office’s Election Department, St. Clair Shores voters selected incumbent council members Chris Vitale, Ron Frederick and Peter Accica, along with residents Justin Maniaci, Gordon Miskelly and Lawanda Turner — in that order — to proceed to the November general election to select three members of the City Council.

With 891 votes, or 4.4% of the total, Ronald Hurd will not proceed to the November election.

Voter William Dest said that he didn’t see a need for a change in the makeup of the City Council.

“So far, so good,” he said.

Resident Drew Yavor said that when he considered the candidates, “some stood out more than others.”

Proposal A, a charter amendment for a new five-year millage to replace the expiring streets millage — which will levy 1.75 mills for residential street repairs, street construction, street lighting, and related sewer repairs and construction — passed with 70% of the vote, or 5,621 voters in favor. It goes into a dedicated fund and replaces a 1.196-mill levy adopted in 2014.

Proposal B, a renewal of the police and fire millage passed in 2016, is a three-year millage that will levy 4.8486 mills, bringing in $7.28 million in revenue in its first year, beginning July 1, 2020. It was approved by 69.9% of voters, garnering 5,559 votes.

Voter Virginia Pipitone said that she was in favor of both millage proposals.

“All our fire and police, the improvements, are important for constituents,” she said. “It makes St. Clair Shores attractive for people who want to buy here.”

Dest agreed.

“If it has to be, it has to be, and I don’t think they would propose it if they didn’t need it,” he said.

The morning after the election, City Clerk Mary Kotowski said that everything ran smoothly, even with new changes to the law and updated election software.

“This was the first countywide rollout of the electronic poll book. They did a major redo of the voter registration program,” she said. “They moved some stuff around, changed some things; we retrained workers.

“My teams, my poll workers, my AV (absentee voter) board, my staff — they did a great job yesterday with all the changes. I am really lucky as a clerk.”

Kotowski said that, historically, there is low turnout in city primary elections, particularly when the mayor is not on the ballot. Mayor Kip Walby is running unopposed for reelection and so will appear on the November ballot, but he did not appear on the primary ballot.

She said that she expected the two ballot proposals for millages to bring out more voters, however.

Kotowski was happy, though, that the new state law allowing voter registration up until the day of the election helped a half-dozen voters, including four 18-year-olds, be able to vote in the election.

“When they start out and want to vote, they’re going to vote their whole life,” she said. “Being able to help that voter who had moved and didn’t realize they had to re-register. ... In that regard, we had a successful election.”