For the past several months, Wixom Mayor, Kevin Hinkley, and Wixom City Manager, Clarence Goodlein, have painted a picture of “gloom and doom” if a new special millage is not passed on November 8th of this year. The current special millage of 3.50 mills expires at the end of 2016.
During the Wixom City Council Regular meeting on 06/14/16, the council, discussed, debated, and voted on placing ballot language for the renewal of the current Special Millage in the amount of 3.50 mills on the November ballot.
Council members Kennedy, Gottschall, and Smiley made several attempts during the discussion portions of the meeting to lower the amount of the proposed new special millage. Mayor Hinkley, along with Councilmen Ziegler, Beagle and Rzeznik, were set firmly on 3.50 mills.
Council members Kennedy, Gottschall, and Smiley made a case for reducing the millage amount to be put before the voters of Wixom to 1.75 mills. They argued that 3.50 mills equates to about $2.3 million, of which an average of $1.1 million has been “tucked away” to the city’s Budget Stabilization Fund each of the last four years. It made sense to these councilman that the city government could maintain its services with essentially half of what the current special millage was currently collecting. Simply put, 3.5 mills is too much.
Kennedy, Gottschall, and Smiley have stated publicly that they did not want to take the tax increase decision away from the people of Wixom. However, they also wanted to put a better proposal on the ballot than what was being presented to them.
Unable to come up with a super-majority vote, Councilman Gottschall proposed an amendment to the ballot language. Instead of “3.50 mills”, it was changed to “up to 3.50 mills”.
This change to the millage proposal passed.
Council members Kennedy, Gottschall, and Smiley didn’t want a 3.50 millage renewal/increase, but they didn’t want to take the decision-power away from Wixom’s citizens.
This change to the wording of the proposal will allow the annual special millage amount to be less than 3.50 mills each year (but no higher). If passed, the amount will be debated, discussed, and determined by the City Council each year during Wixom’s budget sessions.
So, Wixom has a choice: vote for the 3.50 mills on the Nov. 8 ballot and hope that the council can or will go below the 3.50 mills allowed, or vote it down and make the council come back with a proposal that will be acceptable to the residents of Wixom.