By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — A small millage increase for homeowners will be considered during the November general election, one that city officials said could go a long way toward helping stabilize operating costs.
City council approved on Monday the placement of a Headlee Amendment override question, seeking voter approval of an additional property tax of 0.67 mills. The city is allowed under Headlee to request that the current 19.33 mills be increased to 20.0 mills.
Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause said the question met with unanimous council approval, and the increase proposed by city officials will have limited impact on homeowners.
“It’s another avenue we were able to take advantage of,” Diaz Krause said. “We have a small window to use that fraction of a mill.”
Diaz Krause said the additional funds if approved would generate about $379,000 annually for the city’s general operations. The override would cost the average homeowner in Lincoln Park about $33 annually; that increase depends upon property values which, if as predicted decline in the city, some taxes would be lower than the current amount paid.
As with many Downriver communities, Lincoln Park struggles to maintain staffing and services, with shrinking general fund balances. Diaz Krause said the millage request is part of a financial strategy to help Lincoln Park avoid service reductions or staff cuts. Looking ahead at the 2013-14 fiscal year, Lincoln Park may be facing a deficit of more than $1 million.
“Laying off would definitely be a last resort,” Diaz Krause said. “Hopefully this will help us meet our budget needs.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])