Residents outraged as Oakland County votes to expand public transportation, raise property taxes

Posted at 5:33 AM, Aug 11, 2022

(WXYZ) — Oakland County voters will soon have the chance to vote on a new measure to expand public transportation.

The measure would implement a 10-year countywide millage that would impose .95 mills on county property tax bills to maintain and expand public transit.

The decision to expand drew in some angry residents during a Wednesday night commissioner meeting.

Many called this expansion outrageous adding that with the inflation, this will only hurt residents more.

Others think the millage would be a lifeline.

"Stop wasting our money. Stop treating the Oakland County residents like they're a bottomless pit to fund your crazy ideas. $66 million just in the first year alone. Shame on you if you pass this," one resident said.

"This is a huge-huge increase. Don't minimize it. We can do mass transit in the places that need it. You don't need it where you have a lot of farms. I have 6000 people in my township. A lot of them under the poverty level," Senator Ruth Johnson adds.

The Oakland County commissioners passed the 10-year countywide millage bill with a 13 to 7 vote with two republicans joining in on the yes vote.

If the millage is passed in the first year it could raise nearly $66.1 million.

  • ​$37.9 million would be used for keeping and maintaining the current public transit service across Oakland County ​
  • ​$20.4 million would be for improving and expanding transit service across the county
  • $7 million would be for capital improvements 
  •  $800,000 is for the county to administer it

This millage would raise property taxes for all Oakland County residents. For example, if a resident's taxable value of a property is $200,000, taxes would go up about $180 annually.

But for some residents, the tax increase is worth it.

"It is pretty simple. We do not have access for people who do not have drivers licenses. Individuals with disabilities should not be limited to only a township to travel," John Waterman said.

"It is critical that people get to jobs. Right now one of the major economic problems is a worker shortage and we have thousands of people who cannot reach jobs," he adds.

County Executive Dave Coulter supports the measure saying it would begin solving a vital issue that has held the region back for decades.

The measure will be voted on again this November.