Attention Voters in the City of Plymouth

There will be an important question on your election ballot November 5, giving voters an opportunity to approve a new bond issue that would raise funds to improve our roads and infrastructure.

Quick Facts

  • If passed, the $12 million raised will be dedicated exclusively to street improvement projects in the City of Plymouth; the funds cannot be used for any other purpose.
  • The proceeds from the bond issue would be used to begin major road and infrastructure projects that the City cannot currently fund through its street funds alone.
  • Construction costs are increasing annually and issuing a bond allows the City to obtain the funding soon, so construction can start before costs rise.
  • If this measure does not pass, the City cannot undertake any major road reconstruction projects for at least several years.
  • The City Commission voted unanimously to put this ballot measure to the residents of the City of Plymouth this November (Page 166).
  • An estimated 2.125 mills will be levied ($2.13 per $1,000 taxable value of the household, taxable value is roughly half the market value of your home) to pay for the bonds.  The first two years of the bond payment will levy a 1.27 millage rate.

Actual Ballot Language

Shall the City of Plymouth, County of Wayne, Michigan, borrow the principal sum of not to exceed Twelve Million One Hundred Eighty Thousand Dollars ($12,180,000), and issue its unlimited tax general obligation bonds in one or more series, payable in not to exceed ten (10) years from the date of issue of each series, to pay the cost of acquiring and constructing street improvements throughout the City consisting of paving, repaving, resurfacing, reconstructing and improving streets including curb, gutter, sidewalk, drainage, steetscape, traffic signalization, crosswalk and related improvements? If approved, the estimated millage to be levied in 2020 is 1.2721 mills ($1.27 per $1,000 of taxable value) and the estimated simple average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds is 2.125 mills ($2.13 per $1,000 of taxable value). 

(YES OR NO)

Answers to Your Questions

What is the goal of this ballot measure?

Maintaining our roads and infrastructure is central to the quality of life in Plymouth and is part of the City of Plymouth’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2022. Over the past few years, the City has worked diligently with Wade Trim’s civil engineering team to identify the condition of all City roads using the PASER  (Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating) rating system and has developed a plan to maintain, improve, and in some instances, reconstruct each and every road within the city limits. Our gas and weight tax provides enough to invest roughly $400,000 each year in roads and infrastructure, but major projects can cost up to $5 million or more to complete.  It is necessary to raise funds beyond what the City currently receives from the State of Michigan and from user fees for water and sewer in order to tackle large projects on main streets and neighborhood streets. Therefore, the purpose of this ballot measure is to raise approximately $12 million to take advantage of low interest rates, a favorable construction climate, and to act before our roads deteriorate further.

What will this money be used for?

On Monday, October 7th, the City Commission passed a resolution detailing a plan for the first 3 years of street projects IF THE BALLOT MEASURE PASSES. Click here for this plan on page 63.

These funds will be dedicated to maintaining, repairing, and reconstructing roads and road-related infrastructure such as cross-walks, gutters, sidewalks, and traffic signals. Since the proposal is for a dedicated bond sale, the proceeds from the bond cannot be used for any other purpose by the City. If this ballot measure passes on November 5, more than $12M will be invested in our roads beginning as early as Spring 2020.

Which roads and other projects will happen first?

The City has produced an assessment of each road, determined next steps, and the cost to perform the maintenance or reconstruction. Here is a link to this assessment, page 59 of the pdf. If the ballot proposal passes, the City Commission will approve a plan of action which will dictate the order of streets to tackle first. Likely, South Main St. and Farmer St. will be included as some of the first major projects targeted.

How much money does the City currently receive from taxes and the state for road repairs?

Improving the City’s road networkhas been a focus for over 20 years. In 1996, the residents of the City approved the first of two millages dedicated toward the repair and replacement of City streets. The second was approved in 2008. With these millages, the City has averaged approximately $1,000,000 per year in infrastructure improvement. The second millage will be paid off in 2023/2024; however, all of the funds for road improvements from that millage have been spent. The City receives tens of thousands of dollars in funding from the State, but far less than what is needed for major improvements.

Will sewer and water infrastructure be affected?

The funds raised from the successful passage of this bond proposal will be used only for roads, the streetscape, and related infrastructure such as pedestrian crosswalks. Water and sewer rates paid by the residents of Plymouth account for $500,000 – $700,000 of infrastructure investment per year. Coordinating the water and sewer improvements with City street improvements will save a significant amount of money. For example, if this ballot measure passes, the City can reconstruct water mains while reconstructing streets rather than tearing up a relatively new street when an old water main breaks.

What happens if the ballot proposal fails?

The City will be unable to continue road improvements apart from some band-aid fixes to those roads that are in real need of major rework. This could mean that the City would pay higher rates for construction due to increasing material and labor costs. It also means that the roads that are not getting immediate attention would deteriorate further, costing much more to repair and replace.

If funded, when will the road improvements begin?

If this ballot measure passes, the City will begin major street improvement projects in early 2020.

Why aren’t the taxes I pay enough to cover the cost for local road reconstruction?

The City of Plymouth retains just 30% of the property taxes it collects each year (see graphic below to determine exactly where each tax dollar is directed).  This leaves the City with a total budget of approximately $8 million per year. Major road and infrastructure projects are not possible, at best a couple smaller scale fixes, but nowhere near the size and scale needed to keep up with the need .  The need for road maintenance and/or reconstruction, city-wide, far outpaces the annual road maintenance budget without a dedicated source of revenue, like the proposed bond.

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What Will This Cost Me?