The City of Howell is sending out word to residents: cuts in service are coming.
The city says voters turned down a millage proposal that would fund road projects and city services.
“Everything is on the table,” said Nick Proctor, Mayor of Howell.
The reason? The mayor says city tax income decreased when the housing market collapsed and never fully recovered.
The city attempted to increase revenue by asking voters to approve a millage to provide for city services and roads. Voters turned it down.
The city is now facing an up to $300,000 deficit.
“We are artificially at basically 2002 financial levels, and we are trying to fund the city at 2018 levels,” said Proctor.
The mayor says because a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Grant provided ninety percent of the cost, the city will still reconstruct State Street- but other road projects will be on hold.
“We will put no money into road work. None,” said Proctor. “Other than potholes, filling cracks. We just don’t have the money to do it.”
Jordan Wester co-owns Like Mother Like Daughter Vintage Treasures on State Street. She says she hopes the city budget constraints don’t limit the city’s ability to do road work that lasts.
“It is concerning because we definitely want everything done properly, and with these buildings being as old as they are, you don’t know what is up until you start tearing things up,” said Wester.
She says she understands the desire to keep taxes low, but also knows preserving old treasures, like the items in her shop and the city itself, requires investment.
“That is what this town is all about, preserving, and highlighting all the historic buildings that are down here,” said Wester.
City leaders say in time they may again put a millage proposal before voters, but nothing is in the works at this point.