Plymouth Parks and Recreation referendum is deeply flawed
Oct. 13, 2023 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
By: Ron Picard
On Nov. 7 Plymouth will vote on the Plymouth Parks Proposal (Proposal 1).
If passed, the proposed 1.75-mill increase will generate approximately $1.3 million per year between 2024 and 2035. That’s over $15 million in total. If your house is worth $500,000 this millage will add $437.50 to your taxes each year, or $5,250 over the 12 years. If your house is worth $250,000 then your taxes will go up half that amount ($2,625 over 12 years).
Unfortunately, there are a number of flaws with this proposal.
Flaw #1 is the size. In 2018 Plymouth reported that cities our size typically spend $130,000 per year for parks upgrades. It also said the city should compile a list of projects and costs in order to make informed decisions about parks moving forward.
Proposal 1 asks for $1,300,000 per year. That’s TEN TIMES what a typical city spends. Proposal 1 also contains nothing specific about how the money will be spent other than ‘for parks’.
That’s not a recipe for responsible spending.
Flaw #2 is the residents were left out of the loop.
The city put together a “wish list” of park projects without consulting Plymouth residents. Now they’re asking for enough money to cover everything they could think of.
That’s not the way local government should work. The community should be involved when determining how much money should be raised for parks and recreation. Many people are surprised when they learn the Parks millage will generate more money than the 2019 Street Improvements Bond.
Flaw #3 is what the money won’t pay for.
Walk through city hall and you’ll see buckets on the floor to catch water. Drive through Riverside Cemetery and you’ll see a mausoleum in disrepair, a broken granite monument and a road that’s a decade past needing repairs. Walk in Old Village at night and you’ll be blinded by the street light bulbs the city bought as a test and now can’t afford to replace. Walk downtown and you’ll walk on uneven sidewalks and tree grates. Sidewalks that are so bad they’d never allow them in front of your house.
We have infrastructure issues all over the city, even without mentioning the parking deck. It seems odd to ask for so much money just for parks when we can’t meet so many other financial responsibilities.
This millage is just too flawed to support.
Please vote NO on Proposal 1.
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.
Ron Picard a City Commission candidate and long-time Plymouth resident works as a computer programmer. Picard grew up in Westland and moved here in 2010. His wife Sheryl is a P-CCS school board trustee. Together they have five children.
The views and opinions expressed in this essay are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the PLYMOUTH VOICE.