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Posted on Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Turnout about average, as Ypsilanti voters decide fate of two tax proposals

By Steve Pepple


Ypsilanti residents Barton Bund and Jamie Weeder leave the Ward 3 polling place at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on North River Street after voting in Tuesday's city election. Bund and Weeder both said they voted against the Water Street millage and the city income tax.

Steve Pepple |

Less than 10 percent of Ypsilanti’s registered voters had turned out midway through today’s special election to decide two tax issues, including the implementation of a city income tax.

Just over 1,100 Ypsilanti voters had cast their ballots by 2:30 p.m., said Sylvonna Reed, an intern in the city clerk’s office. With 13,593 residents registered to vote in today’s election, that means about 8.2 percent of the voters had turned out so far. Polls close at 8 p.m.

Voting had been steady throughout the morning and was expected to pick up this afternoon as people got off work.

About 190 people had cast their votes by noon Tuesday at Precincts 1 and 2 in Ypsilanti’s Ward 3, according to election worker Billie Sturgill.


Ypsilanti resident Billy Noah casts his ballot in the Ward 3, precincts 1 and 2, polling place in the basement of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Noah said he voted against both the income tax proposal and the Water Street debt retirement millage.

Steve Pepple |

The polling place is located in the basement of Emmanuel Lutheran Church on North River Street, a block east of downtown and a short walk away from the Water Street site.

Among the morning voters were Barton Bund and Jamie Weeder, who said they had voted against both the Water Street millage proposal and the city income tax. Bund said he had done a lot of research on the Water Street issue, but didn’t know enough about the city income tax - so he voted against both proposals.

Ward 3 resident Billy Noah, who rode his bicycle to the polling place, also voted against both proposals.

Noah said he had talked about the tax proposals extensively with former Ypsilanti city assessor Carole Clare. He said Ypsilanti’s taxes are already high enough.

“I am voting against these policies … I would like to see some solutions, but I don’t think that taxing people even more is a viable solution,” Noah said.

When asked how she voted on the tax proposals, Ward 3 resident Michelle Roman didn’t give a direct answer.

“I think the city of Ypsilanti needs more help,” she replied. “That says it all.”

Ypsilanti voters are being asked to approve a 1 percent income tax that would also tax non-residents working in the city .5 percent. Also on the ballot is a Water Street debt retirement millage. The ballot language is for 4.7085 mills, but the city says it likely lower that millage to 2.3543 mills.

A resident with a home with a market value of $100,000 would then pay $127 in taxes instead of $235 in 2013. By 2017, that millage would grow to 3.5 mills, or $178 annually for the same home.

Without approval of both measures, city leaders say they will be forced to make drastic cuts and the city will be left in financial ruin.

Reach Steve Pepple at



Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

As someone who has a choice of whether or not I work in ypsilanti I will be moving back to A2 to work if the income tax passes. I cant afford to pay another dollar in taxes. I will be back to visit Gabriel's every other week tho.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

I assume you mean the cheese steak place. #1, I'm pretty sure that is in Ypsi Township. #2, for the life of me, I cant see what people like in that place. It's steak-ums on a wonder bread hot dog. And you literally smell so bad leaving the place you have to shower. #3, they opened up another one in Saline in the newish shopping center across from the old Visteon Plan. By Powerhouse Gym and Ace Hardware


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Did the city council really put on the ballot 4.7085 mills for Water Street Debt, and claim "it likely lower that millage to 2.3543 mills" right. yeah, very likely.

Steve Pepple

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

My bad. The garbled paragraphs have been fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Hey,, maybe try editing.

Some Guy in 734

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Pssst. Repeated paragraphs.