Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wayne property taxes hiked by 13 mills

Property owners in the City of Wayne are going to receive an unpleasant surprise when their winter tax bills arrive in a few weeks.

A tax increase of 13.1399 mills will be included on the Dec. 1 property tax bills which are due no later than Feb. 15. The average home in Wayne, valued at $118,000 according to Zillow, with a State Equalized Value (SEV) of $59,000 will see an increase of $787. The hefty addition to the current property tax rate was agreed to by a consent judgment filed Nov. 12 between the city and the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) which manages pensions due retired city employees. 

MERS had filed suit Aug. 7 against the City of Wayne which is currently $4,753,409 in arrears in payments into the retirement fund and is facing an additional 7.2 million contribution in 2022. Municipal contributions to the pension fund are required by state law. In March, the city made the bare minimum payments into MERS, remitting only the contributions made by current city employees and sending nothing from the general fund budget toward the arrears. 

Success stories

Bestselling Amazon author Robert Thomas, a former
Westland mayor, relaxes at his home state of Mississippi
as he prepares for another day of writing his popular
Western series. 

Former Westland mayor is bestselling Amazon author

Thousands of eager fans begin to get a bit edgy at the end of every month, awaiting the next adventure of their favorite Western hero, Jess Williams.

They haven't been disappointed in five years as former Westland Mayor Robert J. Thomas releases one more 200-page epic tale of the late 19th century bounty hunter who lives by his own, distinct moral code. This month marked the publication of the 100th book in the series, a milestone achievement for any author in any genre.

If that weren't accomplishment enough, Thomas is the number-one bestselling author in Westerns on Amazon Kindle and his series about the nomadic bounty hunter with a mysterious, futuristic firearm has inspired the devotion of a multitude fans across the country.   

Romulus clerk dispels election ‘false narrative’

Ellen Craig-Bragg  
Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg took time during a recent city council meeting to assure all Romulus voters that their ballots were counted and handled properly.

“Despite that false narrative out there, and it is a false narrative, I want to assure all our residents that every ballot was counted and handled properly. Every ballot counted,” she said.

Craig-Bragg also formally thanked all the volunteers and workers who helped during the election which saw 12,740 registered voters in Romulus participate Nov. 3.

“Our election inspectors, workers from all over, the receiving board the AV (absentee ballot) counting board, they hung in here until 4:30 in the morning to make sure that every ballot was counted. Kudos to them,” Craig-Bragg said.

Seasonal splendor

This house on Winifred Street in Wayne boasted an elaborate Halloween display last month followed by a this massive tribute to the Christmas holidays. Neighbors have been making extra trips down the street at night just to view the bright, happy display.  Photo by Sean Rhaesa. 

Township board members take oaths of office

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Thomas C. Cameron 
and 52-1 Novi District Judge Travis Reeds visited 
Northville Township last week to administer the 
oath of office to newly-elected members of the 
board of trustees including Scott Frush, Cynthia Jankowski,
 Mindy Herrmann and Jason Rhines. 
Four new members were welcomed to the board of trustees in Northville Township last week.

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Thomas C. Cameron and 52-1 Novi District Judge Travis Reeds administered the oaths of office to new Supervisor Mark Abbo, who previously held the post from 2000-2012. Prior to that time, Abbo served as a township trustee for eight years. Since then, he has worked as the chief financial officer for Wayne County and as fiscal director for the Wayne County Commission.  Abbo, a certified public accountant, also has more than 30 years of private sector experience. 

Also sworn into office was new Township Clerk Roger Lundberg. He spent 35 years as an engineer in product development and as a director at Chrysler/DaimlerChrysler. He also serves as president of the Northville Hills Golf Club Homeowners Association and earned an engineering degree and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. 

Heat in the Street already under way in downtown

Visitors to Northville will experience a hint of Europe this winter as several downtown Northville restaurant and café owners will be serving customers from contemporary vendor stands in Town Square similar to European winter markets. Patrons will be able to enjoy specialty food and drinks at open-air pods that allow fresh air to circulate yet have radiant heat to keep them warm and cozy. 

The effort is part of “Heat in the Street,” a concept developed by the Northville Downtown Development Authority and Manfred Schon, a native of Germany and co-owner of Up2Go. Live music and other activities will be scheduled that allow for social distancing. 

 “We are so thankful to be collaborating with Up2Go and numerous community sponsors on bringing Heat in the Street to Downtown Northville,” said Lori Ward, director of the Northville Downtown Development Authority. 

Canton trustees OK demolition of properties

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Three dangerous buildings will be demolished in Canton Township, within 60 days of the Nov. 17 unanimous vote of the Canton Board of Trustees. 

The structures at 43415 Michigan Ave., as well as 880 Lotz Road and 890 Lotz Road, have been cited for structural deficiencies and involved in litigation.

Building Official Robert Creamer said that communication with the Michigan Avenue commercial property owner had been unsuccessful.

Health and safety concerns prompt library closure

Carol Souchock
The Plymouth District Library Board of Trustees has closed the building, in light of the newly-issued pandemic warnings from the State of Michigan Department of Health.

“Along with many other local libraries we made this decision to protect our patrons and staff, and to do our part to flatten the ever-rising curve of the coronavirus,” explained Library Director Carol Souchock.

Though the building is closed temporarily, contactless services will be available including the expansion of curbside service; reference assistance by phone, text or email; technology services including limited public computer access by appointment, and print services; downloadable books, movies, TV shows, music; virtual programming for adults, teens and children - live and repeated on the library YouTube channel; bedtime stories on Facebook Live and book bundles for children.

Annual Greens Sale Saturday

A Holiday Green's Market will is planned from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 in downtown Plymouth at The Gathering, located off Penniman Avenue directly across from Kellogg Park. 

The Green's Market will include some of the favorite Plymouth Farmers Market vendors, providing opportunities to shop for a variety of holiday greens, crafts, baked goods and seasonal treats.  

The Walk of Trees display in Kellogg Park will also be complete for visitors and Nov. 28 is also Small Business Saturday, to help encourage holiday shopping at local merchants throughout the downtown area.                          

Romulus City Hall offering contact-free services

The City of Romulus is adhering to state and local health guidelines and  all essential city buildings are staffed and able to provide residents access to critical city transactions, according to Mayor LeRoy Burcroff.

“The health and safety of our residents is our number one priority, and we remain committed to providing the high-quality customer service our residents depend on during the ongoing pandemic,” he said in a prepared statement. 

While the city buildings are staffed, residents can reach departments directly by phone for contact-free service. For the most efficient service, he suggested, call the department needed directly at http://romulusgov.com/departments/ index.php.

Retiring supervisor’s leadership praised by trustees

Sumpter Township Supervisor John Morgan was thanked and lauded by several members of the board of trustees at one his final meeting earlier this month.

Morgan was defeated in his bid for reelection to the post by Tim Bowman, who was sworn into office Nov. 22, along with the other elected board members.

Township Clerk Esther Hurst told the crowded board chambers that she wanted to thank Morgan for his years of service. She noted that Morgan has spent 42 years in public service in the township and was first appointed to serve as a trustee in 1978 before being appointed and then elected as supervisor. 

Sumpter Township Hall is closed

Township Hall and the Community Center in Sumpter Township have been closed until Dec. 31 by members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees.

Board members took the action in response to the recent surge of coronavirus cases during the Nov. 17 meeting. The closures could be extended, officials cautioned, depending on the public health threat.

Sumpter Township Hall is still fully staffed and will be providing services to residents.

Wayne County Lightfest display opens for season

Nearly a quarter of a million cars are expected to tour the Wayne County Lightfest which opened yesterday.

For the 27th year, workers from the Wayne County Parks Division worked for about eight weeks installing the nearly 5-mile long lighted holiday display which decorates Hines Park.

The annual display was set to open yesterday and even more visitors than usual are expected as the in-person holiday options will be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Inkster City Hall is closed

All city offices in Inkster have been closed and will reopen when the latest orders have been lifted by the Michigan Department of Health.

City Clerk Felicia Rutledge posted the officials notice last week notifying residents of the closure "in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases and per Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order."

Inkster residents are encouraged to use the outside drop box for water or tax payments and can continue to mail in any payments due the city. Information is posted on the city website, www.cityofinkster.co.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New diversity, equity commission members named

There is a new, seven-member Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission (DEI) in the City of Westland.

Mayor William R. Wild named the members of the new commission last week, created as a result of a resolution approved by members of the city council in August which declared racism is a public health crisis.

Terms on the commission will be staggered for the initial appointees. The first three appointed will serve for three years, three others for two years and one for one year. The alternates will serve for one year. Members must reside in  Westland and current city officials or employees are not eligible for appointment.  

The make up of the commission will be representative of the diverse population of the community, Wild said. The DEI Commission will meet quarterly as necessary and is charged with the promotion, support and advocacy of the vision and values around diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels.