A 3-mill Headlee Override proposal should go on the August ballot, a a committee recommended to the Berkley City Council.
The advisory committee came together after the council voted to develop a Headlee Override proposal last month. The 15-member committee reached agreement on the request Tuesday night at its second of two meetings. The vote was 14-1, Hometown Life reported.
The Headlee amendment, approved by Michigan voters in 1978, spells out various restrictions that Lansing and local municipalities must adhere to regarding tax policy, one of which includes the prohibition by local governments to add new taxes — or increase existing ones — without securing voter consent.
The only reason a Headlee override amendment would be put forth to Berkley voters — as soon as this August if a proposal should come to pass — is due to the city’s cost of business exceeding its revenues.
Berkley Mayor Phil O’Dwyer painted a picture of potential cash shortfalls or a forced reduction of city services if a millage increase failed to pass.
At the April 17 meeting, Berkley Finance Director David Sabuda gave a presentation on current and projected city revenues and expenses. Using graphs and a projector, he showed various scenarios that he said demonstrate city revenues will not be able to keep up with expenses.
Sabuda and City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa outlined cuts that already have been made, settling contracts that reduced benefits and require higher health care deductibles, among other things.
Before the vote on the override, Bais-DiSessa outlined cuts the city would have to make, such as leaf pickup, tree replacement, some street repairs, code enforcement, library hours and programs, parks and recreation programs and public safety officers, saying the committee could recommend to council cuts it should make.
“What are you willing to live without?” she said.