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Beline Obeid
At Richard Elementary, Sarah Burdt and her children Sean and Cara submit a ballot. photo by Renee Landuyt.

November 08, 2012
GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Residents soundly defeated two proposals that would have increased property taxes through an override of the Headlee Amendment to the state's Constitution. The first proposal, which asked voters to approve an increase of 1.85 mills over 10 years with the monies going to the city's general fund, was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin, 5,948 to 3,788. A second Headlee override, which would have been used for road construction bonds, was closer, but lost by a vote of 5,217 to 4,389. A citizens group headed by three former city council members, Lisa Pinkos Howle, Joe Sucher and Pete Waldmeir, organized a campaign against the proposals, saying that the city had not made enough cuts to the city's budget. They claimed $600,000 could be trimmed from the city's budget without affecting city services.

City officials maintained the additional revenue was needed to offset the loss in property tax values, which have been declining in the past five years.

Passed in 1978, the Headlee Amendment to the state's constitution required cities to reduce millage rates when tax revenue increased greater than the rate of inflation. Local governments have the option of overriding the Headlee Amendment by a vote of the people, which could authorize millage rates that are set by city charter. In Grosse Pointe Woods, the charter mandates a maximum millage of 20 mills.

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