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Beline Obeid

Move to Farms denied by Woods

December 05, 2013
Grosse Pointe Woods — It’s a conundrum.

Residents of Provencal Road, the private drive bordering the Country Club of Detroit, receive their city services, including public safety, water and trash collection, from the city of Grosse Pointe Farms. And it is to the Farms these residents pay their rather substantial property taxes each year.

Except for seven of those taxpayers.

Their residences, the first seven houses running east from Chalfonte, are actually located in Grosse Pointe Woods, and the owners pay their property taxes to the Woods. The Woods then reimburses Grosse Pointe Farms for the city services it provides to the residents.

With a total collection of $56,552 in city taxes on the seven houses, the Woods pays the Farms an “offset of elimination of assistive services” fee of $31,668, resulting in a net revenue to the Woods of $24,884.

Citing a lack of voting rights if questions should arise over those city services provided by the Farms, the seven residents approached both the Woods and the Farms to request they be allowed to be annexed by Grosse Pointe Farms.

“We appreciate the municipal services currently provided by the city of Grosse Pointe Farms and look forward to having the same voting rights within the city of Grosse Pointe Farms as those of our immediate neighbors on Provencal Road,” the residents said in their written request for annexation to Farms city officials.

However, before the Farms can agree to annexation, Grosse Pointe Woods would have to agree, which brought several of the Provencal residents to the Woods city council meeting Monday night. Provencal Road resident John Davis addressed the council.

“There is no access from the Woods to Provencal and all our services are provided by Grosse Pointe Farms,” he said. “We are subject to ordinances from the Farms, but have no voting rights or a say in the Farms.”

Recognizing the annexation would cut Woods revenue by nearly $25,000 per year, Davis said the seven residents are willing to pay that sum to the Woods for a period of two years. After that, Davis said, the Woods should have been able to make up the loss in revenue from Provencal with the additional revenue expected from The Rivers project on Cook Road.

That wasn’t enough to convince Woods city officials, and the request was denied by a unanimous vote of council.

“We did not think it was in the best interest of Grosse Pointe Woods,” said Mayor Robert Novitke.

Following the vote, Davis said the residents were disappointed, and had not yet discussed future options.

“We tried,” he said, “but I can’t say what our next step will be.”

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