Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 7, 2013

City voters said 'yes' to tax increases

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Road Commission can thank city voters for passage of a $13 million-plus tax request to repair county roads.

The millage request failed in the townships that rely on the road commission to maintain their roads, but passed with 59 percent of the vote in Traverse City, which, incidentally, handles its own street work.

“It was losing and the city results flipped it,” said Bonnie Scheele, Grand Traverse County clerk.

The road millage passed in the city by more than 700 votes, enough to overcome a negative reaction in the townships. The 1 mill levy for three years passed overall by a 112-vote margin out of more than 17,000 ballots cast.

The money raised by the road tax in the city, about $750,000 a year, will stay in the city.

City voters also favored the two millage requests from Traverse Area Public Schools, but not by enough to earn a victory.

About 61 percent of city voters favored the $35 million bond proposal to renovate three elementary schools, buy buses, and improve technology,security and facilities across the district. A $13 million proposal to rebuild the auditorium at Central High School garnered 53 percent approval from city voters.

City Commissioner Jeanine Easterday said she was baffled by the loss of the school proposals, despite their strong showing in the city.

“The best guess I can make is that people in Traverse City are used to paying higher taxes and know the benefits that come from higher taxes,” Easterday said. “People from Traverse City ... also tend to support causes that are more socially equitable.”

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