March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Formal opposition to the May 3 ballot proposal surfaces

Thursday, March 3 — John Pollard, the City Council regular who led the successful opposition to a school bond drive in Lansing 10 years ago, will lead an effort to block the city’s proposed property tax increase.

The No More Taxes Committee has filed the necessary paperwork to formally oppose Lansing’s May 3 millage request, Janie Lee, the elections coordinator in the Ingham County clerk’s office, said. Pollard is listed as treasurer.

The City Council approved a resolution Feb. 22 to hold a special election on a proposed 4-mill property tax increase that would go toward funding police, fire and road services. The millage is expected to generate about $8.5 million, which would go toward patching Lansing’s projected $15 million to $20 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year. The millage rate, if approved, would increase the city’s operating millage to 19.44 mills for five years.

The No More Taxes Committee, formerly known as Citizens Against This Bond, says the millage is ill-timed given the economy and slumping property values and that the city should look to cut services instead.

Citizens Against This Bond formed in 2001 and helped defeat a $388.5 million bond proposal for Lansing School District improvements.

The No More Taxes Committee issued a press release that said in part:

“No More Taxes Committee is up and running, and will vehemently oppose the 25.5% to more than 29.5% tax hike and Headlee override being proposed by the City of Lansing as property values in the city plummet by an average of 10.25%. ‘Property taxes are based on property values,’ said group spokesman and treasurer, John Pollard. ‘Whenever property values fall, so too should property taxes. This is the worst time imaginable for such a huge tax increase. City Hall needs to stop over spending and learn to live within its means like the rest of do.’

“Based on the convoluted ballot language,” the press release continued, "the City can spend the money however it wants; not just for 'police, fire and roads' as it would have voters believe. It will also have the ability to levy the full 20 mills, which would be an increase of 4.8308 mills instead of the 4 mills it claims will be levied. ‘We encourage everyone to read ALL of the ballot language very carefully before voting,’" Pollard added.

"’Too many residents are hurting, at the end of their ropes, and on the brink of foreclosure trying to pay taxes they already owe, as they try to cope with the escalating costs of  health care, prescriptions, co-pays, food, clothing, gasoline and utilities.'’’

Lansing residents can find out how their 2011 property tax bill would be affected by the proposed increase. A property tax calculator, located here, shows the estimated tax levy with and without the 4-mill increase applied.