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Posted on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

Chelsea voters to choose three City Council members; Sylvan Township voters decide on 4.75 mil tax levy

By Lisa Allmendinger

Chelsea voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose three candidates from among a large field of seven candidates, while neighboring Sylvan Township voters will cast their votes on a 4.75 mil tax increase for up to 20 years.

In the most crowded City Council race in many years, the three incumbents Rod Anderson, Bill Holmberg and Kent Martinez-Kratz face off against a former Chelsea Village Manager Harry “Jack” Myers small business owners Erin Brayton and Indira Ghosh, and Realtor and research associate Marcia Parker for the four-year seats.

Sylvan Township voters will be asked to approve a 4.75 mill tax levy for 20 years to pay for about $13.2 million in sewer and water system debt payments when they go to the polls.

The millage would mean a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would be taxed $475 per year. Currently, residents pay less than 1 mill for township operations.

During the proposed 20-year tax levy, residents will pay off a $5 million water system and a $7.5 million sewer system. In the first two years, it will pay a debt to the county of $1.213 million for money advanced by the treasurer to the township for “township sewer special assessment installments which were voided by court judgment and water special assessment installments which were declared uncollectible,” according to the ballot language.

If voters turn down the millage and the township defaults on its May payment, the county would ask for a court judgment and residents could face an 8-10 mill tax levy, basically double what’s being asked for in this millage.

The township only has enough money in its water and sewer fund to make the Nov. 11 interest-only payment of $175,000. In 2012, it will owe $350,000 for the bonds and in 2014 the payment will increase to $969,000 when the principal payments start to kick in.

The debt stems from a lawsuit brought by Norfolk Development Corp. which sued the township alleging breach of contract, among other things, for a special assessment district that was calculated to collect $8 million to pay for new sewer and water systems. Subsequently, the courts voided the district.

In the first year, the proposed tax levy is estimated to raise about $853,860, and if approved, it would be collected on the winter tax bill.

In the meantime, the planned development has yet to break ground on 162 acres on Sibley Road. Called Westchester Farms, the development was supposed to include 262 homes and 64 townhouse condominiums.

The township’s current taxable value is $183,428,000 down by 6.21 percent from the previous year.

But beginning in 2013, the estimated revenue from the millage is based on a 5 percent drop in growth and subsequent property values followed by successive 2 percent reductions in growth and property values in 2014-2016.

The estimated revenues assume a zero-percent growth in 2018 and 1 percent growth in 2019-2025. From 2026-2032, the estimated revenues are based on 0 percent growth.

Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter for She can be reached at For more Chelsea area stories, visit our Chelsea page.



Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

Correct Google Groups address: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

I live in Sylvan township and I don't use their water and sewer. I have well and septic. They want me to pay for the other people that do use it and for the mistakes people made in the township office??? So, when all this new housing development does happen will I get a refund????? What do you think??? Guess what my Vote will be?

Rod Branham

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

I find it ironic that there were no reporters at the last board meeting to talk to some of the taxpayers that were there. If anyone would like to see some of the pros and cons and get some truths, go to and you can get some info. I personally believe that this board needs to be removed and a new board brought in.....a board that will be open and honest with the taxpayers.

Tony Dearing

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

A comment has been removed because it was off-topic, and another comment has been temporarily taken down while we investigate allegations contained within it.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

&gt;If voters turn down the millage and the township defaults on its May payment, the county would ask for a court judgment and residents could face an 8-10 mill tax levy, basically double what's being asked for in this millage.&lt; Is this a fact? I think this statement requires attribution. Who told Lisa this information?

Patrick Zieske

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

The rumors of an 8-10 mill levy, or 18 mills or 60 mills as were claimed earlier, really need to be put to rest. Although one could say that just about anything is possible, there is no known legal basis for such an outcome. Even our Sylvan Townshop attorney last Tuesday could not offer us such a legal basis. Instead he stated -- in public -- that the County would recover their funds YEAR BY YEAR. A much more reasonable projection is available here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. The numbers on this web page come straight from the estimates put forth by Rob Turner and Pete Flintoft at our recect townhall meetings and recalculated for a true comparison. The difference between a &quot;Yes&quot; vote and a &quot;No&quot; vote is only 1.05 mills on the average -- with the other difference being that in the &quot;No&quot; scenario, we avoid getting locked in for 20 years, and the debt gets paid off 5 years quicker at a lower TOTAL cost. Please do not allow unfounded fears to determine the outcome of the Sylvan debt millage vote.

Nature lover

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

The residents of Sylvan Township were never allowed to vote on this. It passed by a vote of the board 4-0 in 2000. Now because of their bad judgment, guess who gets to pay? If your home is assessed at $150,000, you currently pay $142 in township taxes per year (just the township part). The increase will go to $854 per year. If you have a mortgage payment, that will increase what you need to pay by $59/month! Based on 20 years, that's $14,250 you get to pay for the township's mistake. Hopefully you will be able to afford the increase. Some of your neighbors may not and will lose their home to foreclosure. Sylvan Township will have the highest millage rate of all townships in the Chelsea School District. Buyers looking for homes will look elsewhere. VOTE NO! There's got to be a better way! If you vote this through, you are letting them off the hook with no incentive to look at alternatives!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

I still do not understand why Norfolk won the judgment. They asked for the water/sewer so they could develop land, now they don't want to develop the land and the taxpayers on on the hook?