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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    A longtime member of the Brighton Area Fire Authority is retiring. The department announced that it was with great pleasure and sadness to announce the retirement of Aerial Operator Matt Herbert after 25 years in the fire service. He spent the last 20 years with Brighton and five years prior at Milford. Herbert ran out of Station 31, the downtown firehouse and is very proud to have served the community. He is said to be looking forward to spending more time spoiling his grand kids. The Brighton Area Fire Authority thanked Herbert and his family for his service, a job well done and compassion to the profession - adding his stories and laughter will be missed. (JM)

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    A special event is being geared up for employers and others seeking a career around self-driving vehicles. Michigan Works! Southeast engages both employers and job seekers to help develop a healthy and trained workforce in 5 counties, including Livingston and Washtenaw. Recognizing the changes coming with autonomous vehicles, they have created the Connected and Automated Vehicle Workforce Training Guide. With Michigan’s prominence within the automotive industry and the American Center for Mobility being located in Ypsilanti, Director Bill Sleight said in a release that he believes this region will be at the center of the transition. As such, the guide will address questions like “What impact will these changes have on our jobs and workers?” “How do we prepare today’s workers for these changes?” And “How do we prepare the next generation to have the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed?” Michigan Works! Southeast is rolling out the guide with a special launch event, this Tuesday, August 14th, from 10am until noon, at the Ann Arbor Spark Central Innovation Center. Along with employers, Sleight said he is excited to share the guide with students, educators, counselors, parents, and career-seekers. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/autonomous-vehicles-tomorrows-technology-today-tickets-48368945819 (MK)

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    A number of mailboxes were smashed in a Wixom neighborhood recently. Sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning, officials say the Wexford Mews Homeowners Association neighborhood experienced approximately 12 vandalism complaints. A dozen mailboxes were destroyed. For the immediate future, the Wixom police Department will be conducting extra patrols in this area. Authorities ask that if anyone has information about the incidents, to contact the police station and speak to a detective. Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Ron Moore says as always, if anyone sees something that doesn't look right they should call the station (248) 624-1111 or 911 and they’ll be happy to come out and investigate. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    Revised ballot language for a Headlee Override election was authorized by the Howell City Council at its most recent meeting. Members felt the language needed a clear statement of purpose, which is to restore funding for infrastructure projects and street improvements, as well as maintain critical city services. The City is faced with significant fiscal challenges, in part due to a broken state funding model and reduced state revenue sharing. If approved, a Headlee Override would allow the City of Howell to increase its authorized millage rate for five years by an additional 4.5003 mills. The request would restore the authorized millage amount, which has been reduced by the Headlee Amendment. The proposal would generate approximately $1.4 (m) million per year, beginning in July of 2019. Now that the ballot language has been finalized, Council will work to identify the community education process but also review what is permitted under election law. Councilman Dan Mullvahill commented he just wants a solid plan moving forward and members agreed it would take all hands on deck in the months leading up to the November General Election. Mayor Nick Proctor commented he still had some angst about putting the proposal on the November ballot. Councilman Bob Ellis felt turnout would be belter in November, and they would be able to get a good sense of where the community stands on the issue. Council will meet next on August 13th and is expected to discuss the public education approach, why it’s important to maintain services and where the money is going. Educating the public, not advocating, is permitted under election law and community forums are likely. Voters in Brighton rejected a similar proposal on Tuesday by a 128 vote margin. (JM/JK)

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    An annual lemonade stand and fundraiser is planned during Milford Memories this weekend, with a portion of sales proceeds to benefit a coffee shop that caught fire and local firefighters who responded. 7-year-old Roman and 4-year-old Donovan will be donating 1/3 of the proceeds from their annual lemonade stand during Milford Memories to their favorite ice cream shop, Proving Grounds Coffee and Ice Cream. The shop caught fire Monday due to an equipment failure. Proceeds will help restore the kid’s library that got destroyed due to smoke damage during the fire. Although insurance will cover much of the damage to the building, all of the children's books had to be thrown out. Donations of new and used children's books, coloring books, and games will be accepted for the coffee shop. In addition, Proving Grounds has asked if the boys could use part of the funds they earn to make a donation in the company's name to the firefighters who responded to the fire. The boys will be selling lemonade, bottled water, homemade cookies, and candy. Individuals that want to purchase anything are reminded to bring cash, as credit or debit transactions aren’t possible. A donation jar will also be out to contribute to the book/firefighters fund. Details are available in the provided Facebook link. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    A Linden man accused of inappropriately touching children at his wife’s daycare center will be allowed a support dog during his trial. 61-year-old Douglas William Walsh was originally charged with four counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct involving two alleged victims under the age of 13. He was later charged with two more counts of the same. He appeared in Genesee County Circuit Court for a motion hearing Monday in which his attorney sought to have a support dog for his client and a closed courtroom during trial as testimony is expected from an alleged child victim. Judge Joseph Farah granted the motion for a support dog but denied the request for a closed courtroom. The charges stem from incidents that reportedly occurred in August of 2014 at the in-home family child care center operated by Walsh’s wife, Jana. Authorities conducted interviews in June with a 9-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl, both of whom said Walsh touched them in their genital area on more than one occasion in the basement and upstairs of the home. The child care home had its license suspended in July by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs as a result of the allegations, though its operator is not facing any charges. Jana Walsh is prohibited from operating a family childcare home at any other address and cannot accept children for care. She does however have the right to appeal the suspension order. Douglas Walsh remains free on a $60,000 personal recognizance bond. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. (JM)

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    The Brighton City Council met in special session Thursday night to discuss whether to re-present the Headlee override proposal that was defeated Tuesday - or to let it stand. After much discussion and a plethora of comments from the audience, council decided to let results stand and not present the proposal a second time in November. Bill McCririe, whose late father was a former city attorney, said the streets and roads in the city are a problem that should have been addressed decades ago – way before the current council. City Manager Nate Geinzer tells WHMI that although council may appoint an ad hoc committee – composed at least partially of citizens – at this juncture it’s difficult to tell what the next step will be. Some city voters who spoke told council they shouldn’t even consider re-presenting the Headlee override to the public – one saying that the voters have spoken and that many residents – particularly those on a fixed income - can’t afford the increase in taxes. Council Members Susan Gardner and Renee Pettengill both said that perhaps if they reduced the amount and the term to 2.5 mills for five years the issue would pass. However, each said council needed to pause and have a lot more discussion before making a decision. Council Member Jon Emaus said 2.5 mills wouldn’t be enough since the city needs $2.5 million each year to repair and maintain the streets, and, even if the issue had passed, levying the full 20 mills would only have generated about $1.85 million. Council will meet again next Thursday, and undoubtedly the subject of the Headlee override will come up for discussion. But for this year, with the deadline to put something on the November election ballot being next Tuesday, a ballot issue is out of the question. (TT)

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    An annual competition used the love of food to benefit a nonprofit organization that works to prevent hunger among those in need in Livingston County. Now in its 14th year, the Iron Chef Culinary and Mixology Competition returned to Bordine’s Nursery in Brighton Thursday night. The fundraiser support Gleaners Shared Harvest Pantry in Genoa Township and their mission to ensure food security in the community. Vendors at the event offered a taste of local cuisine and beverages to guests. The night kicked off with the mixology competition, which featured Toni Pomranky of Bourbons, the returning 2016 and 2017 champion, and newcomer Caitlin Wilkinson of Diamonds Steak & Seafood. The pair was given just six minutes to make a drink using a secret ingredient, which was revealed to be roses. Judges voted in favor of Wilkinson’s “grapefruit rose gin fizz”, passing the mixology champion title onto the first-time competitor. Iron Chef returning champion Chef Craig Myrand, Culinary Director for Diamonds Steak & Seafood, the Silver Pig, and Cello, then went up against Challenger Chef Ryan Louwaert, Executive Chef for Bourbons. The chefs were tasked with creating a three-course meal, each of which had to incorporate bleu cheese; this year’s secret ingredient. Though Chef Louwaert won the appetizer round, Chef Myrand won in the entrée and dessert rounds, therefore defending his title as the reigning champion. Myrand’s appetizer was smoked bleu cheese, with a sunny-side up egg and grilled scallops. He then followed with parsley ricotta gnocchi with bleu cheese cream sauce, grilled mushrooms and chicken thighs. He finished with fresh berry pot stickers, roasted red grapes, and toasted almonds with cinnamon, topped with a savory bleu cheese glaze. Louwaert’s appetizer consisted of scallops with roasted corn, mushrooms and bell peppers, sautéed in fresh herbs with a bleu cheese sauce. His entrée was grilled pork loin and sautéed vegetables. His dessert was grilled angel food, topped with berries, bleu cheese, berry compote and fresh mint. Myrand says he's glad to support Gleaners, noting the event will help feed over 300,000 people, and hopes to raise that bar next year even higher. Though disappointed by the loss, Chef Louwaert was just glad to have been a part of the event, adding what matters is they're feeding people. Bridget Brown, Director of Food Secure Livingston, says the Iron Chef event is Gleaners largest fundraiser each year in Livingston County. Reflecting on the event’s large turnout, she says it’s not just a show, but something that makes a huge impact on those who need it most. There were multiple ways to support Gleaners at the event, including raffles, auctions, the opportunity to purchase one of the meals made by the chefs, and a lemonade stand. The stand is run by 7-year-old Carmen and 6-year-old Lena Ness, who have raised over $1,100 for Gleaners in the last two years by selling lemonade. The sisters say they wanted to help families have the nice food that other families have. Dan Ingram, General Manager for Bordine’s, says it is this aspect of a whole community’s involvement that has inspired him to continue to host the competition by donating the space. Scott Gidcumb has volunteered at the event for the last 12 years and is now responsible for assembling the chefs’ ingredients and work station. He says Gleaners’ mission is what keeps him coming back. Gidcumb says their efficiency, 94 cents of every dollar being used to feed those in need, is a huge part of that, as well as the symbiotic relationship of the tri-county organization. Gleaners serves hundreds of local families on a monthly basis. President and CEO Gerry Brisson says the best part of the benefit is seeing the community’s support to help those in need. (DK)

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    The woman hoping to replace Congressman Mike Bishop in November came out swinging following her primary win on Tuesday. Fresh from a resounding victory in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District, Holly-native Elissa Slotkin on Wednesday called for Congressman Bishop to return a $2,000 contribution he received in May from the PAC of New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins, who was indicted this week on charges of insider trading. Slotkin said, “Elected officials need to hold themselves to the highest possible ethical standards — both in their own conduct and who they accept campaign donations from” and called on Bishop to return the donation immediately. In response, Bishop campaign spokesman Stu Sandler said they “already decided to donate this contribution to a local charity based on the recent circumstances” adding that it was “hypocritical” for Slotkin to claim she doesn’t accept corporate PAC contributions, alleging she “launders corporate PAC contributions” through leadership PACs. In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Slotkin said that accusation is a smoke-screen to cover-up Bishop’s over-reliance on corporate PAC dollars. "That is a diversion tactic to get you to talk about that and instead of how much corporate PAC money he takes. He's taken over a million dollars in corporate PAC money and I have not taken a dime. And this idea that money is moved through all these people, that's just pretzel logic to me and that's just a diversionary tactic." Sandler contends that less than ten percent of Slotkin’s campaign funding comes from Michigan with, “the vast majority of her campaign funding comes from California, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington DC.” Slotkin says she will remain focused on finding common ground in the district, “bringing together Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in conversation about shared priorities.” For (JK)

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    Applications are being accepted for a program that helps steer young adults towards a career in law enforcement. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office’s Explorer Program provides an opportunity for youths ages 14 to 20 to experience the responsibilities and functions of law enforcement for themselves. During meeting time, Explorers will participate in K-9 and Bomb Squad demonstrations, sit with 911 operators, tour the Michigan State Police crime lab and training facility, and visit the Livingston County Jail. Each year they put their training and skills to the test in the Annual State Competition where compete for the Governor’s Cup. Participants in the program are required to attend the Michigan Law Enforcement Youth Advisory Committee Academy one time within the first 2 years joining. The Academy is a week-long para-military style boot camp to give Explorer’s a taste of what attending the police academy is like. Applicants must be at least a freshman in high school and have a minimum grade point average of 2.0. They must be honest, have integrity, and maintain appropriate school attendance and behavior. A letter of recommendation is recommended, but not required. Space is limited and only those with serious interest should apply. A copy of the application can be found below. Once completed, it can be emailed to Deputy Brad Neff at bneff@livgov.com. Contact him for more information at 517-540-7984. The deadline to apply is August 31st. (MK)

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    Recycling organizations and vendors both locally and statewide are scrambling to react to a sudden market shift. Recycle Livingston issued a notice to members regarding upcoming changes attributed to the collapse of the market for recyclable materials, which is attached. Currently, recyclables are shipped overseas. There has been increasing volatility in the worldwide markets for recyclable materials and China began imposing higher standards for the materials they would accept. It ultimately determined no materials from the U.S. were acceptable, closing that market. Officials say unfortunately the U.S. recycling industry is to blame, as standards for the types and cleanliness of materials being accepted for “recycling” were far too low, referred to as “wishful recycling”. Vietnam, Malaysia and India continued to accept the “marginally recyclable” materials but in July all three without warning stopped accepting it from the U.S. Recycle Livingston’s vendor, GFL, notified them that effective immediately, GFL would no longer pick up materials for no charge and they would have to pay $200 for the transportation of each load. In addition, rebates on materials would be reduced and some would no longer be accepted while others would only be accepted for increased fees. Officials say to add insult to injury; those materials would not be recycled but incinerated or landfilled. Shortly put, if loads are contained with materials that cannot be recycled, the loads will cost Recycle Livingston money and will not be recycled. After several conversations, GFL has since agreed to postpone the changes until September 1st to allow the Recycle Livingston board time to evaluate changes and notify members. The board has implemented some emergency measures that will go into effect at that time, which include increased membership and gate fees and new requirements for certain items that must be separated. A general membership meeting is planned to answer questions on all of the changes August 28th at 7pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton. (JM)

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    A special run this weekend will honor a fallen officer and serve as a celebration to those who rush to the aid of those in danger. Hartland-native and West Bloomfield Police Sergeant Patrick O’Rourke was shot and killed in the line of duty 6 years ago while attempting to assist a suicidal suspect. Tomorrow morning, at Hartland High School, a 5.5k Run will be held in remembrance of him and in recognition of First Responders everywhere. O’Rourke’s wife of 14 years, Amy, recognized First Responders as exceedingly brave in that they are willing to run into dangerous situations when most are running away. She said that they see horrible things, experience horrible things, and have to keep doing their job. This run, for her, is a way to take a little time and give them something happy to do. The run begins at 8:55am and takes participants on a route that passes by Little League fields O’Rourke played on as a child and a stretch of Old-23 that has since been renamed for him. The first 5k is timed with awards given to top finishers of several age groups. Once runners pass the 5k mark, however, they are encouraged to keep running another half-kilometer in what will be known as “Rudy’s Home Stretch.” Rudy was O’Rourke’s undercover name, and the total 5.5k distance mirrors his badge number, 55. This event is wheelchair, stroller, and dog friendly. Musicians will be lined up along the route to entertain participants, as well. Early registration ends today and costs $25 without an event shirt, or $35 with. Day-of registration prices are $10 higher. All profits made from the run will be split between community outreach groups that O’Rourke was vested in. A free Family Hero 1/4 Mile Fun Run will take place following the awards ceremony. Register through the link below. (Photo - Amy O'Rourke) (MK)

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    Demolition of an eyesore property in the City of Howell will be getting underway. City Council earlier awarded a demolition contract for the house and garage structure at 816 McPherson, which was earlier deemed unsanitary and uninhabitable. The condemnation process has been proceeding through the local court system and environmental remediation was deemed not necessary so the next step is demolition. Howell City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI Council approved a demolition contract to remove the home. He says they began dangerous building procedures last year and are now through the court process and bid process. Charles anticipates that mid-to-late August the house will be down and the property will be restored. City Council awarded the demolition contract to the low bidder, TLS Construction, for an amount not to exceed $19,500. The cost of demolition will be attached to the property. The owner has been notified of the pending demolition multiple times. Staff was to coordinate a final opportunity with the property owner to enter the property and get any items wanted out of the home before it comes down. (JM)

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    Genoa Township residents will be getting a new refuse provider come October. The township recently finalized some of the contracts switching from GFL to Advanced Disposal. Problems began after Duncan Disposal sold to Rizzo, and then Rizzo almost immediately sold to GFL according to Genoa Township Supervisor Bill Rogers. He says they went through that transition and change in providers in good faith but unfortunately, issues cropped up. Complaints prompted the change with a lot of areas being missed continually. Rogers says people are extremely sensitive about their garbage and recyclables. He says staff was taking a ton of phone calls, which used up their time fielding numerous complaints and questions but also trying to follow up with residents and businesses. He tells WHMI it got to a point everyone felt it was best to explore alternatives and look at other options so they went out for quotes and bids and decided to give Advanced Disposal a try. Rogers said it’s never fun when going through a transition such as this but hopes once it’s complete, everyone will be satisfied. Advanced Disposal is already providing services to areas surrounding Genoa Township and rates will remain mostly the same. The last official day for pick-up by GFL will be October 26th. Rogers noted that GFL was good to work with in extending the contract through October and helping with the pending change. The transition is expected to take about two weeks. (JM)

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    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed Influenza A as the strain that sickened two people who were exposed to pigs with swine flu at the Fowlerville Fair. Respiratory samples from the ill individuals tested positive for Influenza A at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Laboratory last week. The samples were then sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where they too tested positive. The MDHHS says the strain is similar to the viruses currently circulating in swine and that these are among the first influenza A virus infections identified in the U.S. this year. Including these two cases, only 17 human infections of influenza A have been reported to the CDC since 2005. Swine influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. People can only contract swine flu from coming into contact with an ill pig, not by eating properly prepared pork or handling it. The Fowlerville Family Fair took place July 23rd through the 28th. Several pigs from the fair tested positive for swine flu Thursday, July 27th. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the seasonal flu and can include fever, cough, runny nose, and sometimes body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. On rare occasions, swine influenza in humans can lead to severe diseases, such as pneumonia or even death. Currently, there is no vaccine for swine flu, and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against it, though some antiviral drugs are effective in treating it. The full release from the Department of Health and Human Services is attached below. Facebook photo.

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    A motorcyclist is hospitalized with life threatening injuries following a crash in Genoa Township Friday. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were dispatched shortly before 5pm for the single motorcycle injury crash. Preliminary investigation revealed that a 35-year-old Howell resident was operating a 2012 Harley Davidson, traveling west on East Grand River, approaching the intersection of Westbury Boulevard. The motorcycle operator lost control while attempting to avoid traffic entering Grand River from Westbury Boulevard. The motorcyclist suffered life threatening injuries and was transported to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor by Livingston County EMS. The westbound lanes of East Grand River were closed for approximately one hour for investigation. The Sheriff’s Office says the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and speed appears to be a factor in the crash. It remains under investigation. Deputies were assisted on scene by personnel from the Brighton Area Fire Department and EMS. (JM)

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    A bowling event later this month will benefit a local non-profit which helps patients and families struggling with cancer. Milford-based Five Points of Hope is a cancer care charity that gives hope and assistance to cancer patients who are facing financial difficulties as a result of their diagnosis. On Friday, August 24th, they are holding a special “Bowling for Hope” fundraiser at the Wonderland Lanes in Commerce Township. The event runs from 6pm until 9pm. $20 gets you in for up to 3 hours on the lanes, shoe rental, 2 slices of pizza, and pop. Additional fundraising raffles will be held during the event. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are encouraged to reserve their lane beforehand to ensure their playing time. To reserve a spot, or more learn about the charity, visit their website, a link for which is below. (MK)

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    A local recreational authority has narrowed its search for a new director. The Board of Trustees for the Southeastern Livingston County Recreational Authority, or SELCRA, met Thursday night to discuss the search for a new leader. Former Director Jason Spiller resigned in June to accept a position managing Camp Dearborn at its golf courses in Milford. Spiller was the third director for SELCRA in less than two years, as the organization underwent changes in membership and funding. Brighton Township Supervisor and SELCRA Board Member Patrick Michel shared the four main components of the job the new director, when chosen, will inherit. First is overseeing SELCRA’s current programming while developing and deploying new ones. Secondly is the management and development of the Meijer Skate Park, which was recently reopened under Spiller’s leadership after years of being closed. The third component is fundraising. Michel said that with a small budget and reliance on sponsorships and grants, this will probably be the new director’s biggest challenge. Michel said they had over 60 responses to their advertisements online and after some careful deliberations, whittled the list down to 7, where it currently stands. Board Member Richard Everett of Green Oak Township said the response was excellent and better than anticipated. He suggested that reflects the quality of what they have going, which has brought desirability to the position. Michel closed by saying that they expect to have the position filled around, or shortly after, Labor Day. (MK)

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    It’s been “the summer of their discontent” when it comes to Brighton drivers having to navigate through the numerous construction cones, road closures, detours and other traffic signs. Challis Road and Rickett Road are a couple of examples, but, fortunately for residents, those projects now completed. Second Street has been getting much of drivers’ attention for the last couple of months, and things aren’t about to get much better in the immediate future. Brighton DPW Director Marcel Goch tells WHMI that Second will be closed to through traffic until November. Goch says there will, however, be incremental progress on the Second St. project. First of all, the connecting thoroughfare of First St. will be completed going to Center Street by the end of this week, at which time construction will be moved farther up Second. New sanitary sewer lines are being installed underground all the way down Second to its northern end at Cross Street. That should be completed by the end of the month. Afterward, Goch says the new water lines will be installed and street reconstruction will take place. Most of the street will remain closed during that time to all but local traffic and the city asks for your forbearance and patience until the project is completed. The $2.2 million project is funded by both the City of Brighton and its Downtown Development Authority. The City’s Utility Reserves Fund is provided funding for the new, larger sewer and water lines and the DDA is funding for the street and related infrastructure work. The City’s contractor expects to complete curb, sidewalk, and driveway approaches along N. First Street and Cedar Street the week of August 13. (TT)

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    Last week, voters in the city of Brighton defeated a proposal to remove the cap from the city millage rate so the city could levy the full, 20-mill amount authorized under the city charter. The measure lost by just 128 votes out of more than 3,300 votes cast, which is considered a narrow margin. The $1.85 million in expected annual additional revenues were to be used to repair and upgrade the city's deteriorating streets. According to City Manager Nate Geinzer, there are a number of reasons why the city felt it needed to override, or negate, the Headlee-mandated rollback. The main reason was the state of the city’s streets, many of which are in fair-to-poor condition. But why couldn’t the city just use the revenues it already has to fix the city’s roads? Geinzer says the city has had to economize to an unprecedented level since 2008, when the Great Recession began. In addition to declining residential and industrial property revenues due to the drop in property values, Geinzer tells WHMI the state has taken several measures to lower the amount of revenues received by cities, counties, townships and villages. Despite the better economic times the state is experiencing now since the recession ended, Geinzer says local municipalities in Michigan haven’t received any of the benefits. State steps such as reducing revenue sharing – which are local tax dollars that go to the state, with a portion siphoned back to local communities, have meant the loss of over $2.5 million to the city of Brighton since 2003, Geinzer says. According to Geinzer, the elimination of the personal property tax has meant the loss of $140,000 to Brighton just from the expansion of the TG Fluid Systems plant on Challis Road. That’s without even considering how the tax’s elimination has affected revenues the city would otherwise receive from other businesses and industries. (TT)

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