We all had fun searching for the elusive cartoon character "Waldo" in years past, but there's a new, more important quest brewing in Grosse Pointe Woods next Tuesday on Election Day 2012.
Just where can we find the two stealth ballot proposals that, if approved on Nov. 6, will cost Woods' property owners a minimum of $20 million in new taxes over the next 10 years - and probably more?
Here's what you do:
When you finally make it into the polling booth with your two-page ballot, go straight to the BACK of the SECOND Page. Buried somewhere there you'll find one proposal headlined MILLAGE PROPOSAL. Forget the small print.
Along with it there'll be a proposal to approve a massive Roads BOND ISSUE costing $10 million over the next 10 years. Forget the small print there, too.
The MILLAGE PROPOSAL is a cleverly-disguised Headlee Override, asking you to cough up $1 million a year for the next 10 years for the mayor and his crony council to SPEND AS THEY PLEASE. It is a blank check that will enable them to continue wasting your money on inflated salaries, perks and pleasures instead of eliminating unnecessary spending to bring their artificially bloated budgets in line.
Your high taxes already are at the limit authorized by the state-mandated Headlee Amendment. Now they want 2 mills OVER the Headlee limit (that's $2 more taxes for every $1,000 of your property's state equalized valuation) to spend entirely as they please! Why give 'em a blank check?
The roads bond millage gives them $1 million a year for 10 years to spend, presumably repairing streets. Nobody opposes neighborhood street repairs. But the Woods council has had road repair money budgeted every year for the last decade - and what's happened to it?
They always seem to find somewhere else to spend most of it - needlessly - while they wait until the timing is right to beg you, the taxpayer, to cough up a fresh $10 million! Tell to come back with a sensible bonding plan - like $1 million a year for 3 years. And prove that they need it.
While you're at it, tell them to fix roads NOW out of the city's mysterious $4 million "rainy day fund" instead of balancing the bonding burden on the backs of the taxpayers, with no guarantee (except their questionable promise) that they'll do the right thing with the fresh bond money.
In case you're wondering why Mayor Novitke and the council, along with all seven high-paid city appointees, are so eager to raise property taxes, check this out:
The mayor's and council members' annual salaries (your tax money) add up to $6,000 more dollars every year than all 7 of them pay in real estate taxes combined. And NONE of the 7 highest paid city administrators lives or pays 10 cents in taxes to Grosse Pointe Woods.
Don't give them more of our $$$ to waste and squander. Vote NO and NO on both Woods' proposals. Make the council come back with more reasonable solutions and TALK to you about them, instead of letting Mayor Novitke gag all discussion.