“This time it’s different– vote ‘yes’ on the Ypsilanti tax proposals”

I have a Save Ypsi Yes sign in my front yard, and the other day, while I was out there doing some gardening, somebody walking their dog stopped and asked me to explain why I was in favor of a city income tax and a water street mileage.  This op-ed piece by Ypsi City Council Member Pete Murdoch sums up the reasons why I think the only logical vote is yes.

4 Responses to “This time it’s different– vote ‘yes’ on the Ypsilanti tax proposals”

  1. Thanks sitedad for sharing the article. I think it is no national secret the dire straights the city of Ypsilanti is in right now. I do not favor a local income tax on those of us who work, but do not reside in Ypsi though. I have witnessed lots of waste in the city over the years including the city owned waste collection trucks and city employed garbage-men. The community in which I reside has a much lower property tax rate than Ypsi, has superior police and fire services as well as curbside garbage and recycling. The latter which is provided by a contractor at a greatly reduced rate which is rolled into my taxes. I have heard other EMU employees who live herein town talk about the ‘oppressive’ tax rates and lack of good city services. So I would encourage people to vote ‘no’. Perhaps it is time to do a reboot of city management in Ypsilanti.

    • First off, I’d urge you to read what Pete wrote here, AA. I think it’s pretty compelling and not all about raising money for money’s sake. A “reboot” of the management ain’t gonna do it, and an emergency planner would be a bad bad thing.

      Second, as someone who lives in Ypsi, I can tell you the garbage is contracted out to WM, though the recycling is not. Should that be contracted out too? Maybe, I don’t know. But again, read what Pete is saying here.

  2. I’ve only lived in the city for a short while, but I’ve worked at EMU for more than a decade. When we moved to the city, I was prepared for all sorts of city-service disasters based on stories people (who mostly don’t live here) have told me over the years.

    What I’ve found has pleased me. My garbage, yard waste, and curbside recycling are picked up on time. The streets are clean and the residential area where I live is quiet and safe. I have had no problems with other city services. I’ve attended some city gov’t meetings and felt that most of the folks making decisions were trying to do the right thing, making tough decisions under nearly impossible conditions. That’s worth noting, even if I don’t necessarily agree on some outcomes. I’ve also noted that the city govt staff is down to skeleton crew proportions right now.

    It is true that property taxes in the city are higher than in surrounding townships. This was a trade-off I was willing to make when I chose to move here. I wanted to work and live in a diverse community where I could easily walk to places, have city water/sewage as opposed to well water, and live on a paved road that gets plowed in winter. As a citizen, I also understand that maintaining those desirable qualities costs money and I pay for them through taxes. Additionally, overall housing prices were lower in the city, thus off-setting the higher property tax burden.

    As I’ve learned more about the city’s finances, I’ve come to understand that there were some rather big blunders made in the past (Water Street project, for example). I’ve also come to appreciate that any city that cannot collect property taxes on something like 40% of its land (EMU campus) has financial issues that are not found in other cities and towns where non-tax public entities have a much smaller foot print. The very limited boundaries of the “city” (vs the surrounding townships) were also surprising to me and go a ways toward explaining one basis for the underlying tax problem.

    I am uncomfortable with the notion that residents can vote to impose taxes on non-residents. But then, I also think that all citizens (including public entities) should be willing to pay for the services from which they benefit. And EMU as an institution benefits from having a more, rather than less, solvent and functional city around us. So do all of us who work and study at EMU, as a result. And the majority of my non-resident colleagues at EMU have told me that they also support the tax for these same reasons.

    I don’t see it as being helpful to rail on about bad decisions made a decade ago, to the point that it prevents us dealing with the looming impact of those decisions right now. And I also don’t see the “no” side offering any realistic alternatives.

    Nobody really “likes” paying taxes, but I support the city tax, even though it means money out of my pocket and my colleagues’ pockets, because as a long-time non-resident working at EMU and now as a resident, I have benefited from city services for more than a decade; because I see few alternatives at this point in time; because it is pretty clear that something needs to be done besides just say “no” all the time.

  3. I know that I should know, but … did the tax levy pass? I thought a yes vote made sense, but I didn’t have a vote.

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