Ypsilanti voters rejected proposals for a city income tax and Water Street millage by 2-1 Tuesday night; both measures were suggested solutions to Ypsilanti’s projected budget deficit of $13.3 million.
The Water Street millage would have helped repay bonds and a grant for development on Water Street totaling more than $18 million. The income tax of one percent for residents and a half percent for those who work in Ypsilanti but live elsewhere was an important part of the city council’s five-year plan.
Volunteers of the group Stop City Income Tax gathered at Aubree’s in Depot Town, and by 9 p.m. it was clear that the income tax and millage had been voted down. SCIT spokesperson Peter Fletcher was not available for comment.
Key figures who had worked to pass the proposals gathered at the Corner Brewery, including Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber, and Beth Bashert, leader of the campaign to implement the income tax and the Water Street millage.
Bashert said the campaign had the support of city leaders and was disappointed with the results, but the question of trying again was not relevant now because the voters had spoken.
”They want solutions not based on increasing revenue. In the next couple of years council will have to make choices,” she said.
Schreiber said his next focus will be the city’s budget.
“We have to make cuts. The last thing I want is an emergency manager in Ypsilanti,” Schreiber said. “We have to continue the trend of the last ten years of cutting. There will be staff cuts; we’re looking at the fire department.”
The Ypsilanti city council begins 2012-13 budget discussions this week and is in the process of selecting a city manager. The announcement of the council’s final choice for city manager is expected on Monday.