The Michigan Messenger

The tiny Kent county village of Sand Lake may vote itself out of existence Aug. 3. The reason? Some residents say they pay too much in taxes. The Grand Rapids Press reports on the situation, calling it a “civil war” and noting that the battle has been brewing for months. Residents submitted 56 signatures for disincorporation in December. Of those, 53 were certified by Nelson Township Clerk Laura Hoffman.

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Facing declining property tax revenues, the city of Mt. Clemens ”” located in Macomb County ”” is expected to approve a ballot measure Monday night to increase property taxes, the Macomb Daily reports. The city, like most in the state, has been socked hard by a stagnant economy, record high unemployment and crashing property values. As a result, Mt. Clemens is facing nearly $1 million in deficits this budget year. Adding to the financial crisis is a 24 percent increase in employee health care costs ”” $800,000 for current employees and $1.4 million for retirees.

In what may be an indication of the limited reach and political muscle of the nascent anti-government, anti-tax Tea Party movement, voters in three municipalities and at least two school districts in west Michigan approved various tax increase initiatives. The Grand Rapids Press reports that residents in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming all voted to approve tax increases on themselves to support fire and police services. While voters in Holland’s school district and in the Kenowa Hills district approved millages to fund building and various expansions in those districts.

A ballot measure that would restrict mining “under the clever guise of protecting water,” is actually “an attack by special interests on the U.P. and its people, heritage, and economic future,” according to a statement released this week by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers from the Upper Peninsula.

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A judge ruled against a ballot initiative to have city council members elected by districts instead of at-large on Friday, calling the language of the proposal “insufficient” according to the Detroit Free Press. The community coalition Detroiters for Council by Districts filed the lawsuit with City Clerk Janice Winfrey for holding the proposal from the Nov. 3 ballot after questions arose regarding the language of the proposal and its legality.

A coalition of Detroit voters, community organizers and business leaders have collected enough signatures for an initiative to have city council members elected by district instead of the current at-large system to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot. The group, Detroiters for Council by District, needed 29,000 signatures to get their proposal on the ballot. On Wednesday the group submitted 37,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s office according to a press release.