Royal Oak residents show strong support for local proposals at polls

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published August 8, 2016


ROYAL OAK — Voters showed up at the polls Aug. 2 with strong support for two local proposals on the ballot.

According to unofficial election results, Proposal A passed with 88 percent of the vote, and Proposal B passed with 74 percent of the vote.

The passing of Proposal A authorized city officials to renew the solid waste and recycling millage levy for a period not to exceed five years, up to 1 mill, to defray the costs of refuse collection, disposal and curbside recycling.

The 1-mill renewal will continue to cost homeowners about $100 annually for a home with a $100,000 taxable value.

The tax will help pay for trash pickup and disposal, curbside recycling, leaf collection, bulk item pickup, yard waste and branch pickup, household hazardous waste drop-off, street sweeping and establishing a drop-off site for used motor oil and electronics.

The renewal also will fund a switch to single-stream recycling.

“The next step is determining a timeline for conversion of the current (Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority material recovery facility) from dual stream to single stream,” said Director of the Departments of Public Services and Recreation Greg Rassel.

Rassel said the goal is to switch over fully in June or July 2017.

All residents will receive a 65-gallon cart on wheels in which they can put all recycling items without presorting or separating by type. Rassel said residents also may continue to use their existing recycling bin if they prefer.

Rassel said single-stream recycling simplifies the sorting method and makes recycling a much easier process for residents and the city’s collection contractor.

He said the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority has shown that a conversion to single-stream recycling can increase recycling rates by more than 50 percent.

Rassel said it has been a longtime goal of SOCRRA to convert its participating communities to the single stream.

“Royal Oak’s share of that conversion is approximately $3 million, or a little more based on the initial estimate,” Rassel said before the election. “Of that $3 million, about $1.2 or $1.3 million is to provide each resident with a new 65-gallon recycling cart.”

City officials said the millage, popularly known as the recycling levy, has been in effect since 1991.

City officials said Proposal B was more of a housekeeping measure to bring its city charter into compliance with recent higher court findings.

The charter will be changed to state that anyone running for mayor or City Commission must live in the city for one year and be at least 25 years old. This is a change from the original charter, which stated that the candidates for local office must “be at least 25 years old, reside in Royal Oak for at least two years, and be a freeholder (property owner).”

Members of the Royal Oak Charter Review Committee said requiring people to own property in order to run for elected office has been ruled unconstitutional, and residency requirements of two or more years have been struck down by courts; however, a one-year residency requirement has been upheld.

Despite the high number of “yes” votes, overall voter turnout was about 20 percent, according to unofficial Oakland County Elections Division results.

At about noon Aug. 2, Precinct 5 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market reported that about 79 people had come through so far that day, and the flow was slow and steady.

City officials made the decision to switch a couple of precincts the day prior because of the hot weather.

City of Royal Oak Community Engagement Specialist Judy Davids issued a bulletin stating that voters at Royal Oak High School and the Churchill Community Education Center would be moved to a different room with air conditioning within the buildings.

Other election results

Two candidates ran for the Republican nomination to represent District 41 in the state House of Representatives: incumbent Martin Howrylak and Ryan Manier.

Howrylak garnered 83.36 percent of the votes to Manier’s 16.53 percent.

Howrylak will face Democrat Cyndi Peltonen in the November election.

“All three of us were very positive in our campaigns,” Howrylak said. “At the end of the day, it allows the voters to be served by us being honest with them.”

Two candidates ran unopposed for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the state House of Representatives District 26 seat.

Jim Ellison received 99.5 percent of the Democratic vote and Randy LeVasseur received 99.5 percent of the Republican vote. The other votes were write-ins.

Staff writer Terry Oparka contributed to this story.