Just about everybody agrees the roads in Muskegon Heights are in terrible condition.

“Our roads are in need of a little repair,” confirms Mayor Kimberly Sims.

To pay for road repairs, the city government wants voters to approve a $4 million property tax increase.

“The city would collect an estimated $470,000 in the first year,” says city manager Jake Eckholm.

“We have looked for options for years,” says Mayor Sims. “Council unanimously voted to put the question to the people. Do we raise the millage to get the roads repaired?”

Eckholm outlined the plan at a public hearing Wednesday, July 12, at city hall arguing for the tax increase. He said it would help attract new industry and raise residential property values.

“If you have a pitted, potholed street outside of your house, obviously that is going to reduce the curb appeal,” he says. “I believe if you have a resurfaced street outside your house it will positively impact your property value.”

But if reaction from those at the hearing Wednesday night is an indication, it may be difficult to convince voters to say yes.

“No, I won’t,” said Marianne Darnell. “And I will encourage others not to support it.”

“I vote no,” agreed George Murphy. “They need to go back to the drawing board.”

“I will be very candid with you,” said city manager Eckholm. “If the millage would fail to pass it would be back to the drawing board. We would have to find a way to raise new revenue.”

The city manager says half the homes in Muskegon Heights have an assessed value of about $12,000. Taxes on those properties would go up $4 a month. The question will appear on the August 8 ballot.

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