Voters in Royal Oak passed three millages during the Nov. 8 general election. Two of the millages were for the city of Royal Oak, while the other was for Royal Oak Schools.

Voters in Royal Oak passed three millages during the Nov. 8 general election. Two of the millages were for the city of Royal Oak, while the other was for Royal Oak Schools.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Royal Oak voters pass 2 city millages, 1 for public schools

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published November 21, 2022


ROYAL OAK — Voters in Royal Oak decidedly passed three millages on Nov. 8 for the city and school district.

Two millages in the city and one for Royal Oak Schools were on the ballot during the general election. All three passed with more than 60% of the vote.

The first of two city millages was a charter proposal called the Parks, Forestry, Recreation, Playgrounds And Animal Shelter Millage. The ballot language stated, “City of Royal Oak Charter Amendment authorizing the levy of a five-year tax millage of up to 0.700 mills for parks, forestry, recreation and playgrounds including animal shelter purposes, commencing December 2022. It is proposed that Section 11(e) be added to the City Charter of the City of Royal Oak authorizing the levy of up to 0.700 mills ($0.70 per $1000 of taxable value) for a period of five (5) years, 2022 to 2026, inclusive, to be used for parks, forestry, recreation and playgrounds, including animal shelter purposes which will raise an estimated $2,175,794 when first levied in 2022.”

Out of the 31,733 people who voted, 22,770 people voted yes and 8,963 voted no.

The second of the two city millages was the Senior Services Millage Proposal. The ballot language for the question stated, “Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the City of Royal Oak, Michigan be increased by 0.2000 mill ($0.20 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of five (5) years, 2022 to 2026, inclusive for the sole purpose of providing fundings for services, activities, and programs for “older persons” pursuant to the authority provided by Act 39 of PA 1976, specifically MCL 400.576? It is estimated that, if levied, the 0.2000 mill would raise approximately $622,000 when first levied in December 2022.”

Out of the 31,224 people who voted, 19,227 people chose yes and 11,997 voted no.

City Manager Paul Brake said the city was “thrilled and honored” to have the support of the voters on these two initiatives.

“I think the timing on both projects really coincides with pretty extensive vetting or homework that we’ve been doing on our end,” he said. “We just recently reviewed the draft copy of the Parks and Rec master plan, and that’s identified a lot of capital improvement needs. Upkeep of, you know, replacing playground equipment, resurfacing basketball courts, tennis courts, any number of issues. Also accessibility, making the parks barrier free. So having those types of guidance (are going) to help us to make better informed decisions.”

Brake also stated that with the senior services millage, which will provide a dedicated funding source for senior services, programs and the senior center, Royal Oak will be looking to a task force for recommendations on what to do next and that more discussions will come in December.

For Royal Oak Schools, voters passed the Building And Site Sinking Fund Tax Renewal Proposition.

The ballot language stated, “This proposal, if approved by the electors, will renew and restore the authority, last approved by the electors in 2013 and which expires with the 2022 levy, for the School District to levy a building and site sinking fund tax, the proceeds of which will be used to make improvements and repairs to the School District’s facilities. Pursuant to State Law, the expenditure of the building and site sinking fund tax proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for teacher, administrator or employee salaries, maintenance or other operating expenses.

“Shall the Royal Oak Schools, County of Oakland, State of Michigan, be authorized to levy one (1) mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation), for a period of ten (10) years, being the years 2023 to 2032, inclusive, to create a building and site sinking fund to be used for the construction or repair of school buildings, school security improvements, the acquisition or upgrading of technology and other purposes, to the extent permitted by law?  This millage would provide estimated revenues to the School District of approximately $3,434,697 during the 2023 calendar year, if approved and levied.”

Out of the 31,506 people who voted, 20,808 people voted yes and 10,698 voted no.

“We were very pleased that the community supported the renewal of the sinking fund,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. “We’re looking forward to being able to use the funds not only for facility updates, but now also for instructional technology.”

The millage will allow Royal Oak to do large-scale projects at its buildings, such as roof replacements, lighting and surveillance camera system installations. Instructional technology updates, Fitzpatrick said, are something the district wasn’t able to do under the current millage.

“Instructional technology would be anything that the students can use to enhance their instruction,” she said. “So I can’t buy business office computers, but I can buy devices for the students, such as Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, (and) desktops.”