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Marijuana sales, school bonds, mayoral races on Tuesday Michigan ballots

voting booths
(iStock photo by mrolands)
  • There are over 195 ballot proposals across the state on the election calendar Tuesday  
  • Democrats are at risk of the party’s slim majority in the House if two current representatives win mayoral races 
  • Residents will also vote on eight marijuana proposals and 45 school bonds

Early voting is underway in many Michigan communities, and voters statewide head to the polls Tuesday in local elections  that could indirectly upend the Democratic majority in the state House and to decide 195 ballot measures.

Among numerous mayor races, two could have statewide political implications: state Reps. Lori Stone, D-Warren, and Kevin Coleman, D-Westland, are running for mayor in their cities.


If both win, Democrats would lose their two-seat majority in the Michigan House until special elections are held to fill the seats.


Rep. Stone is running against Warren human resources director George Dimas. And Rep. Coleman is running against interim Westland Mayor Mike Londeau. 

With its newfound majority in the House last week in Lansing, passing a slew of legislation under the assumption that their majority could soon evaporate.

"I think we always see a bit of urgency... as we're approaching the end of the year," said Amber McCann, spokesperson for House Democrats. "And yes, we have the added nuance of two members who could possibly be seated in other offices" by the end of the month. 

Among the local ballot proposals, at least eight relate to marijuana business proposals in three counties and there are at least 45 school bonds, according to a list compiled by Gongwer, a Michigan subscription news service.

Statewide,  there are eight library millage increases proposals/renewals, five parks and recreation millage increases/renewals, 40 public safety millage increases or renewals, 18 road millage increases/renewals, and 14 sinking fund millage increases/renewals. 

Residents in three Oakland County cities will vote on whether to allow cannabis businesses to operate within the city. 

Rochester has two marijuana proposals, one that would change the city’s charter to establish an application process and regulations for adult use retail cannabis establishments. Open Stores In Rochester Committee, an advocacy group in favor of adding more adult marijuana facilities,  started a petition to get another marijuana  proposal on the ballot. If passed, the measure would allow up to three marijuana establishments in the city, rescinding the current ordinance adopted in 2018 that prohibits such establishments. 

Some officials are concerned the facilities would disrupt traffic if they open downtown. 

“Our primary concern is a widely agreed upon and undeniable massive uptick in traffic counts in the area that follows these facilities. The other is any effect on property values, demand and rents in general in the district these may bring,” said Ben Giovanelli, chair of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, in a press statement. 

Earlier this year, the Keego Harbor City Council approved a ballot proposal that, if passed, would permit one marijuana facility to operate in the city and a ban on all others.

But the Open Stores in Keego Harbor Committee also petitioned to put two additional marijuana proposals on the ballot that would repeal the city’s ordinance to opt out of marijuana sales and instead leave it to the voters to decide in the next general election how many facilities can operate within the city. 

Keego Harbor Mayor Rob Kalman told the West Bloomfield Beacon that an outside group circulated a petition to put marijuana back on the ballot but the small city doesn’t need two marijuana stores. 


School bonds 

Several school districts had bonds on the ballot in May and some of the same districts are among the 45 seeking millions of dollars for school improvement and infrastructure. 

School districts can’t use bonds to cover operational costs like teacher salaries which are covered by state funds determined by student enrollment, according to state law. But, bonds can be used to build classrooms or buy furniture 

School districts seeking the largest bonds include: 

  • Forest Hills Public Schools (Kent County): $340,000,000 for school infrastructure and improvements.  The proposal would not increase the current millage rate of 6.05 mills for 21 years.
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools (Kent County): $305,000,000 for school infrastructure and improvements. If approved, it would extend the current property tax rate of 3.85 mills for 20 years. 
  • Howell Public Schools (Livingston County): $258 million for construction and outfitting of two elementary schools and a community center. Upon approval the current tax rate of 5.5 will be extended by eight years. 
  • West Ottawa Public Schools (Ottawa County): $237,000,000 for school infrastructure and improvements.The debt tax rate is expected to decrease by .25 bringing it to 6.27 mills if the 25-year bond is approved. 
  • East Grand Rapids Public Schools (Kent County): $158,900,000 for school infrastructure and improvements. The proposal would require about 5.43 mills over 30 years. 
  • Fenton Area Public Schools (Genesee County):  $122,500,000 for school infrastructure and improvements.The bond would not increase the current 5 mill tax rate over 25 years. 
  • Grand Haven Area Public Schools (Ottawa County): $118,315,000 for school infrastructure and improvements. If passed, the proposal would increase the millage rate to 4.05 mills and would last 20 years. 

Early voting has started and will continue through Sunday in most places. You can check your local clerk's office to see what time the polls open in your district. 

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