Employing a tried and true tactic…holding a tax hike vote during the lowest voter turnout.

...or worse yet, when Taxpayers aren’t even made aware of it by a complicit local media.

Even though this is affecting strictly Macomb County, I would HIGHLY recommend that readers contact their local clerk’s office to see if there is anything similar occurring in their part of Michigan.

Despite the fact that their current millage hasn’t even expired yet, the local community college not only decided to place a millage hike/renewal on the ballot, but they have done a slam-bang up job of letting everyone know about it.

I cannot imagine why?

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Citing the tired argument that Headlee is decimating their revenue stream (and their need to spend money on things that will be outdated in less time that the millage‘s overall lifespan), with no one bothering to tell the community when they decided to place it on the ballot back in January (the only copy of the press release announcing it that I could find is a cached version on their website), the good folks running Macomb Community College (read: democrats) unanimously voted to place a millage hike/renewal on he May 8th ballot.

Now Macomb County Taxpayers might ask themselves: Waitaminit? The MCC millage doesn’t even expire until 2020.

Well, you would be right.

Unfortunately, instead of waiting to ask voters for an increase in two years time, the MCC BoT decided to not only ask early, but to place the matter on the May ballot when most people don’t vote to give voters the opportunity to exclusively vote on the MCC millage.

MCC’s yearly budget is approximately $135-million, with the current millage accounting for about 26% of the total budget.

Allegedly MCC has been holding “community meetings” throughout the county to speak to Macomb County Taxpayers regarding the millage increase.

I fail to recall seeing anything about it in the local paper (even before they enacted a pay wall) or on the local radio & TV stations.

In an attempt to spin this MCC President James Sawyer said in the C & G Newspaper, “The feedback has been positive. People realize we are a very important part of the community. The college has always been supported by the community.”

For a guy who makes nearly a quarter of a million/per year (with COLA…not a bad gig if you can get it), what else would you expect him to say?

I would agree with him on his second point. Local people do use the college. But they do so simply because it is one of the least expensive options for kids who want to minimize getting chained to a college debt treadmill from a “traditional” four-year school.

The Macomb County Taxpayers Association had also chimed in on this calling it irresponsible to not only have everything bundled into one millage (technology upgrades and funding staff salaries) but going with a longer millage length of twenty years, rather than something shorter so that people can respond sooner to how their money is being spent.

They also mentioned the fact that this should’ve been brought up during an election when more people traditionally vote like August or November, rather than in May.

The polls are open tomorrow from 7:00am until 8:00pm.

Again, be sure to contact your local clerk if you have any questions regarding tomorrow’s election.

You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)

  2 comments for “Employing a tried and true tactic…holding a tax hike vote during the lowest voter turnout.

  1. Marc Andrew
    May 9, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Hello, Greetings and Salutations to a fellow Michigender and secondly, countrymen.

    I am aware that you do not seem familiar with our local politics here in Macomb County so please, if I may try, present this MCC millage and millage increase in a more .... perfect light (to use a biblical theme).

    Macomb Community College is one of the top Community Colleges in our nation. It is a jewel to our region. Every President since Ronald Reagan has visited this campus do to its academics and communal support.

    MCC is in the top two percentile for associate degrees and #1 in our State. They service over 40,000 students per year and offer advanced manufacturing education, small business support, employment certification and continuing education programs .......

    Community. That is what we here in Macomb County voted for today. I wish your post had reflected the pride and benefit MCC brings to my local area. I'm sorry if the MCTA, which is led my a 75yr old widow living off her husband's pension and Social Security, mislead you. What I state are the facts, which you seem to have twisted IMHO.

    First I must agree with you. MCC and the local media (pay walled block online) did a horrible job explaining this millage. I feel turnout was way to low for such an important vote! However, C&G publications has been talking about this measure. C&G is a free publication put in every Mavomb County residents mailbox. This should not have come as a surprise to those of us that actually follow local issues.

    Second, This post, along with the MCTA "tract", is very misleading. It's only purpose seems to foment resentment in an issue that only benefits our Community.

    Let's be clear, if this fails today it will be back on the ballot in Aug or Nov. The millage that passed in the year 2000 does not expire until 2020. That is 1.5yrs from now. I, personally, do not know of an institution of this size and quality that can plan for the future with making sure they have funding for the future.

    The current 20yr Millage IS set to expire in 2020. The increase they are asking for, above the current millage we have been paying for 18 years, amounts to a rise of $3per/year for a home with a taxable value of $100,000. That is less than one penny per day for our community to support Advanced Manufacturing, employment certificates, AP classes ....

    You yourself state how our community uses MCC because it is cost effective for those that utilizes its services. That is because we, here in Macomb County has supported our community education for over 18 years now. A no vote, as you and MCTA suggest is a vote to eliminate 26%-28% of MCC annual budget out of spite.

    I am sorry MCC did not pay fot flyers to alert every property tax payer but that is not a good reason to vote NO. I agree, the time of the vote and lack communication was completely wrong . With the amount of people affected by this millage I wish MCC board and our local media (Macomb daily, not C&G) would have done a better job. That is a shame IMHO.

    In closing, a No vote it the same as voting agents my community. A yes vote will happen. If not today then in Aug or Nov. This millage represents 26% of MCC annual budget. To take that away would be devastating for our local community and beyond.

    Thank you for your time,
    Marc Andrew

    You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(1)
  2. KG One
    May 10, 2018 at 7:06 am

    As a Michiganian let me begin by making a few corrections, Mr. Andrew.

    First off, I AM a Macomb County Taxpayer. I am also aware of where more than a few skeletons are buried (politically speaking), so don't patronize me as some ill-informed neophyte or as a cantankerous retiree with far too much time on my hands. I work for a living, and this may come as a shock to you, I work to provide for my family, not for every bureaucrat who thinks that they can spend the money that I have earned better than I.

    Second, I wasn't "misled" by anyone. Your cheap shot at the MCTA President notwithstanding, it is also insulting to claim that I am incapable of looking up information on my own when I need to. Face facts: Not only did MCC do a piss-poor job of explaining the millage (specifically how they intend on divvying up how it would be spent), but of also doing the basic task of even informing Macomb County Taxpayers that there was even a vote on Tuesday.

    The same college that frequently bombards the entire county with brochures on the next event at the Lorenzo Center in mailboxes, counter-tops at city halls & county buildings, local libraries, etc, inexplicably cannot find the wherewithal to do the common courtesy of telling people that they are looking at a millage two years before it actually expires?!?

    Here's a breakdown of the voting turnouts from Tuesday in Macomb County alone. It varied from barely above 4% to just under 20%. I see that you love regurgitate the speaking points on what a great job MCC does in and for Macomb County. Can you honestly say that MCC was fiduciarly responsible to spend that much money on an election when they knew that there would be such a low turnout?

    Those printed ballots, poll workers and time spent setting up and taking down voting machines along with finally tabulating ballots wasn't done for free you know.

    I find it hard to believe that MCC is capable of that level of incompetence.

    Sadly, MCC wasn't the only institution which pulled that stunt last Tuesday. It's amazing how many schools also couldn't wouldn't wait until November.

    Third, twenty years is a long time, Mr. Andrew.

    Twenty years ago, I used to lug around a laptop that has a fraction of the processing power and memory of the tablet that I use today. Twenty years ago I used to record public meetings on VHS & DVR when I was unable to attend them in person, instead of watching them online today. Twenty years ago, the cameras that I used required tape and recorded a fraction of what I can do today.

    Can you tell everyone exactly how much technology will change in the next twenty years?

    How often will MCC change out tech when it becomes obsolete?

    MCC was conspicuously silent on that.

    And the elephant in the room: How much of that millage will go towards salaries and benefits at MCC?

    MCC was very conspicuously silent on that as well.

    Mr. Andrew, I've noticed that you are generous with other people's hard-earned money. Are you equally as generous with your own?

    Let me cut to the chase, MCC got greedy, acted sneaky, rolled the dice and won. Luckily, not every institution that pulled that same stunt got away with it.

    If people like you had stepped up to the plate and freely given more of your own money, not only would this discussion be moot, but Tuesday's Millage vote as well.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)

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