By Pete Waldmeir
Who's financing the Grosse Pointe Woods' $20 million for 10 years tax hike on the Nov. 6 ballot?
Reports filed with the Wayne County election commission this week show that the bulk of the money behind the record 4-mill Yes-Yes tax increase campaign has been supplied by veteran Council member Vickie Granger and Mayor Bob Novitke, plus a few of his 114 his political appointees. Council members also have contributed $1,100 between them.
A pair of local citizens named Joe and Michelle Louisell also have kicked in just under $1,000.
"It's tough to track their donors because the (Yes-Yes) committee's paperwork is sloppy and neglects to include occupations or employers' addresses for most of their donors, as the law requires," said Nancy Hames, chair of the tax-hike opposition group Citizens for Better Government.
"Their money could be coming from the Democratic Party for all we know. Some of it is from our elected officials, mayoral appointees or city employees. But theirs' isn't a 'grass roots' organization like ours'. And, as usual, many of their donors that we can track don't even live or pay taxes in Grosse Pointe Woods."
By law, no governing body can spend taxpayer money to promote a ballot campaign. Individual council members, however, can donate their own money. Here's the list made public this week of council and administration members supporting the $20 million, 4-mill tax-hike on Tuesday's ballot hy going to their pocketbooks:
Mike and Vickie Granger (Mayor Pro Tem) $245
Mayor Robert Novitke $200
Council Member Kevin Ketels (and family) $175
Council Members Richard Shetler and Todd McConaghy, $125 each
Council Member Art Bryant, $100
Council Member Mike Koester ZERO
City Manager Al "Skip" Fincham, $150
Other donations supporting the 4 mill tax hike came from Novitke appointees George McMullen, a paid mayoral choice on the (tax) Assessment Board of Review ($175); tree commission member Steve Chan ($100), and Ross Richardson ($50) and Grant Gilezan ($25), both appointed by Novitke to the Woods' influential Planning Commission.
Doesn't that just make you feel good all over?
Only two local businesses publicly are listed as supporting the tax increases. Susan Burns and Frank Poma, employees of St. John Hospital, combined for a $300 contribution. Paul Koueiter, the Mack Ave. jewler, kicked in $100.
The two citizen donors, Joseph and Michelle Louisell, of Severn St., coughed up $998 between them, making them the Yes-Yes campaign's only really generous recorded financial supporters. Hey, some folks just like to spend.
Vote NO and NO on both Woods' ballot proposals. You'll find them on the BACK of Page Two in your Election Day ballot-bundle.