Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Once more with feeling: Ypsi group seeks to place Water Street Debt Millage on Ballot

The Water Street Properties.
A group calling itself Citizens Supporting Ypsi is working to place a millage that would retire Ypsilanti's Water Street Debt on August 8th, 2017 Ballot. If you'll recall, in 2016 the Ypsilanti City Council proposed a debt retirement millage for the Water Street properties on the August 2nd primary election. That proposal was defeated by just 40 votes (1.5%). Mark Maynard has good coverage of the aftermath of the defeat of the Water Street Proposal on his site. A lot of folks who supported the millage suggested poor organization on the part of the Say YES to Ypsilanti Committee was to blame for the defeat of the millage. Indeed, few people knew there was even an organized group supporting the millage. Washtenaw County campaign finance records show the anti-proposal group, Stop City Increasing Taxes (SCIT), raised about 10 times more money than the Say YES to Ypsilanti Committee. This could indicate SCIT had a broader base of support and/or that they were better organized.

The failure of the millage in August 2016 left the city in a tight financial situation and led to a municipal hiring freeze. Citizens Supporting Ypsi is proposing a 2.30 mills ($2.30 per $1,000 of taxable value) millage that would raise $7,840,000 payable through 2031. All of this money would be required to be directed towards the Water Street Debt. They estimate it would free up about $700,000 from the city's general fund annually. To place the initiative on the ballot the group needs to collect at least 848 signatures from citizens registered to vote in the city of Ypsilanti by April 13th.

If you'd like to learn more, there is a campaign kick off meeting February 25th from 4-6pm at The Ypsilanti Freighthouse Cafe.


Citizens for Ypsi
Citizens for Ypsi on Facebook
Stop City Increasing Taxes campaign finance documents
Say YES to Ypsilanti Committee campaign finance documents


  1. Relevant to point out that this proposal is to replace a currently existing 2.3 mills road tax that will be leaving the books, so city taxes will not be increasing at all, just staying at the current level but moving some funds to paying off the water street debt.

    1. Wouldn't this have been the case last year too? Yeah, better organization from the supporters of the millage could really make a difference here. It's not a hard argument to make when taxes won't even be going up.