Thursday, October 26, 2023

Plymouth voters to decide 1.75 recreation millage

Plymouth voters will be asked next month to approve a charter amendment to allow a new 1.75 mill tax to fund new recreation opportunities in the city.

The new tax, if approved on the Nov. 7 ballot, would be in effect for 12 years and would generate an estimated $1.3 million annually for recreational expenses in the community through 2035. The new millage would cost homeowners about $1.75 for every $1,000 of market value of their property. Homes with a $300,000 market value would pay an increase of approximately $260 if the measure is approved. 

The question on the ballot asks for an amendment to the city charter which would require any and all funding generated by the millage be dedicated solely to recreation and park expenses in the city. The new tax would be effective on city residents only.

Members of the Plymouth City Commission approved the ballot question by a unanimous vote in July. Officials said residents have consistently ranked parks and recreational facilities as a priority for the community during the preparation of a new recreation master plan during the past five years. They added that while the demand has grown, facilities like soccer and athletic fields have decreased eliminating some youth sports recreation programs.

Approval of the charter amendment would allow for the acquisition of new property to provide recreational opportunities and fund the improvement and maintenance of the current facilities, officials said. Concepts include improvements to landscaping, walkways, benches, a pavilion, a play structure and a tot lot for younger children at Pointe Park, located at Starkweather Street and Northville Road. Plans also include the purchase of the former Lumber Mart site on Mill Street for construction of new athletic fields, including soccer fields, pickleball courts and play structures on the 3 acres of property.

If approved, officials said, the millage would provide necessary fund for cost-sharing of several state grants, “unlocking millions in additional funding.” Most grants include a cost-sharing requirement from the community. Proponents of the new amendments said there is interest from city service clubs like the Rotary Club and Lion's Club, to collaborate to modernize park facilities in several neighborhoods. If the amendment is approved by voters, improvement could begin as early as next year, officials said.

Voters will be asked to vote YES or NO on the ballot language: “Shall Section 8.5 of the Charter of the City of Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan, be amended to permit the levy by the City of a new additional ad valorem property tax in an amount not to exceed one and three-quarters (1.75) mills, for 12 years, from 2024 through 2035, to provide funds to the City to acquire, construct, improve, furnish, operate and maintain parks and recreation facilities?” It is estimated that 1.75 mills would raise approximately $1,275,955 when first levied in 2024.