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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Elections

Question:
How many home rule cities and home rule villages have non-partisan elections?

Answer:
A check of the MML charter database showed an overwhelming majority (over 90 percent) of home rule cities conduct elections on a non-partisan basis. The Election Consolidation Act of 2003 mandated that all village elections be non-partisan.  It also eliminated the primary election for all villages.

Question:
Our clerk administers the oath of office to the mayor, commission members and appointed officials. Who swears in a new city or village clerk?

Answer:
The county clerk or any notary public can administer the oath of office to a newly elected or appointed clerk - or any other elected or appointed official for that matter.

Question:
Our council has voted to place a millage increase on the ballot at the next election. We understand there has been a change in the required ballot wording. What additional information do we need to include?

Answer:
Previously state law required only that the "ballot state the amount of the millage increase proposed and . . . an estimate of the revenue increase the taxing unit will collect . . . during the first calendar year."

1999 PA 248 amends section 24f of the General Property Tax Act (MCL 211.24f) to require the following information be provided on the ballot: 1) the millage rate to be authorized; 2) the estimated amount of revenue that will be collected in the first year that the millage is authorized and levied; 3) the duration of the millage in years; 4) a clear statement of the purpose for the millage; and 5) a clear statement indicating whether the proposed millage is a renewal of a previously authorized millage or the authorization of a new additional millage.

Fortunately, this is not quite as complicated as it sounds and could be something as simple as:

Shall the [Municipality] continue to levy a total of [one] mill ($[1.00] per $1,000.00) on taxable value of property located in the [Municipality] for [five] years beginning with the[2000] tax levy year and running through [2004] tax levy year (inclusive), which will raise in the first year of such levy an estimated revenue of [Twenty Thousand Two Hundred Fifty Six Dollars ($20,256.00)] to be used for the specific purpose of [operation, maintenance and/or improvements of the Community Center building and grounds]?If approved this would be a renewal of a previously authorized millage.

Question:
Are there any new requirements for ballot language authorizing the issuance of bonds?

Answer:
Yes. MCL 211.24f also requires a ballot to state: 1) the principal amount to be borrowed; 2) the maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding; and 3) a clear statement of the purpose for which the bonds proceeds will be used. If the bonds are to be paid from a separate revenue source or from taxes levied in less than the whole city or village, you must indicate the estimated millage to be levied for the bonds in the first year and an estimated annual millage required to retire the debt, as well as the source of revenue to be used to pay off the indebtedness.

Question:
Is a council member who was appointed to fill a vacancy subject to a recall?

Answer:
Yes. This is still an elected position even though the trustee was appointed. According to the State Elections Bureau, MCL 168.951 of the state elections statute applies to all officials in elected positions. It states that a person cannot be recalled in the first six months of office (from the time he or she is sworn-in) nor in the last six months of office, but can be recalled at any time in between. In fact, except under truly extraordinary circumstances, this is the only way to remove any elected official from office.

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