TO THE EDITOR:
I’m writing to let your readers know why I’m supporting the Farmington millage — and why I’m encouraging folks in Farmington to join me in voting yes.
This Nov. 6, we’ve got a lot on the ballot. Whether you’re a Democrat cheering for the “blue wave,” a Republican hoping to hold the house and senate, or you’ve got strong opinions on marijuana, there’s a lot at stake.
Farmington has a lot at stake in this election, too. Because on Nov. 6, we vote on the millage that will determine whether the Farmington way of life we know and love will continue. We decide whether it’s worth $18.75/month — 62 cents/day, for the average homeowner — to support the investment we’ve made in the city we call home.
For me, it’s an easy “yes.” Here’s my 3-point Reader’s Digest rundown: 1) Farmington is crazily underfunded, and it’s not the city’s fault; it’s the state’s.
Because of Michigan law, our city lost a ton of funding from property taxes during the Great Recession. Taxable value fell 36 percent. Home values are back up now, but here’s the catch: Michigan law won’t allow the taxable value of homes to increase as quickly as it fell. That means today, the taxes we pay to the city are 18.6 percent less than they were 10 years ago.
But we all know the bills don’t go down just because you have less money. The reality is, city expenses have risen over $670,000 in the last 10 years, while operating revenues have increased a meagre $23,000. The end result is that the city is trying to still provide the services we want, using less funding than we had 10 years ago.
To make up that difference, the city has been spending a bit of its savings each year. Now we’re at the point where in five years, those savings will be gone – unless we take action. And taking action is the point of this proposal.
The millage is to compensate for what the state won’t do to help. It’s taking action to close the gap, fund what we love, and start investing in our future again.
2) 100 percent of the new funding will stay local! Every dollar will be invested straight back into the Farmington community.
Some of the funds will go toward city services. Like our public safety team, with their two-minute response time that’s one of the fastest in the state. Our farmers market. The Civic Theatre, ranked the best movie theater in Metro Detroit.
I’m a longtime volunteer at the Gov. Warner Mansion. That’s a city service. So are things like snow plowing and leaf pickup, that add safety and convenience to our daily lives. And I think all of us want to continue those city services, because that’s a big part of what keeps Farmington great.
The rest of the funds – 50 percent or more – will be put toward new projects that are on hold right now because we don’t have the funds. When this passes, we’ll be able to start improvements!
That would mean projects like repairs to streets and sidewalks… water and sewer maintenance… park improvements… finally hitting “go” on the Farmington Road streetscape.
It’s Farmington investing in Farmington, and we all stand to benefit.
3) What’s the cost? For the average Farmington homeowner, it’s $18.75/month, or 62 cents/day, for the next 10 years.
Currently, we are paying less in taxes now than we were 10 years ago. If this passes, we will still be paying less than we were 10 years ago. And the increase? It’s the price of one “dinner out” a month. Or three cups of coffee at Starbucks.
* * *
The proposal is the very last question on the back of your Nov. 6 ballot. And for those of us in Farmington, the outcome of this proposal will continue to directly affect the quality of our lives long after the governor, state reps, and senators have finished their terms of office.
So in the days between now and Nov. 6, when you’re raking your leaves to the curb…
When you dodge that same damn pothole in your neighborhood street…
When you see a memo on Facebook about holiday tree lighting at the Warner Mansion and hit “interested” because let’s face it, we’re all ready for election season to be over…
…think of the kind of community we enjoy, and the future we want to create, long after the ballots have been cast. Please, join me in voting “yes” to keep our city beautiful, our property values strong, and our future bright.
Farmington City Council