Sterling Heights prepares for election

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 21, 2015

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The city of Sterling Heights is getting ready for the May 5 election on Proposal 1.

At the April 7 City Council meeting, council members pulled for separate discussion an item off the consent agenda that would’ve placed a council meeting on election day.

Some residents complained about the timing, adding that at the first May meeting, the council will discuss and vote on the city budget.

Resident Jeff Norgrove said the council should follow tradition and have the meeting the next day, May 6, so that active members of the community can see the budget meeting.

“This is the first time since I’ve been here that this has been done,” he said. “It is a budget adoption, and I think that’s very serious. And yes, quite frankly, I think most of the people who are going to be working the polls are the serious political people in this city, or they wouldn’t be doing it.”

The City Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Joseph Romano dissenting, to pull the issue off the consent agenda to discuss it. After discussion, council members voted the exact same way to make May 6 the day of the first council meeting that month.

Romano said he wanted to make the council meeting a Tuesday, like usual.

“I think we’ll get a much better turnout, if in fact anybody wants to speak about the budget,” he said.

Taylor said it was a close call for him, and there were good reasons on both sides, but he was swayed to make the next meeting a Wednesday to give the election workers a chance to participate.

“I think some of our most concerned citizens are the ones that take the 13 hours out of their day on Election Day to be involved with the elections,” he said. “And so I don’t want those folks to be cut out of this system.”

City Manager Mark Vanderpool said the scheduling rules come from the council’s governing rules and procedures, and not from the city charter.

On Proposal 1, voters will decide whether tax changes, including raising the state sales tax and switching the gas tax to a wholesale formula, will go into effect. Supporters say the changes are necessary to raise revenue to fund direly needed road repairs, while opponents have complained that the measure is burdensome and confusing.

Meanwhile, the city recently announced that City Clerk Mark Carufel’s office is looking for election inspectors for May 5. Candidates were invited to apply at the City Clerk’s Office in Sterling Heights City Hall.

“This position is a great way for residents to become involved in this community’s democratic process,” Carufel said in a statement.

New candidates are required to go to a 90-minute training session in which they learn how to use computers for elections and keep operations flowing.

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

 

PROPOSAL 15-1
A proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6% to 7% to replace and supplement reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government caused by the elimination of the sales/use tax on gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles operating on public roads, and to give effect to laws that provide additional money for roads and other transportation purposes by increasing the gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

The proposed constitutional amendment would:
• Eliminate sales / use taxes on gasoline / diesel fuel for vehicles on public roads.
• Increase portion of use tax dedicated to School Aid Fund (SAF).
• Expand use of SAF to community colleges and career / technical education, and prohibit use for 4-year colleges / universities.
• Give effect to laws, including those that:
• Increase sales / use tax to 7%, as authorized by constitutional amendment.
• Increase gasoline / diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation, increase vehicle registration fees, and dedicate revenue for roads and other transportation purposes.
• Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects.
• Increase earned income tax credit.

Should this proposal be adopted?

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