Chelsea voters to choose three City Council members; Sylvan Township voters decide on 4.75 mil tax levy
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 AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Chelsea area stories, visit our Chelsea page.