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Washtenaw Voters Pass Mental Health And Public Safety Millage, But The Matter May End Up In Court

Nov 8, 2017

Harley Rider, Dexter Township Supervisor
Credit Jorge Avellan / 89.1 WEMU

An 8-year, 1-mill tax for mental health and public safety services in Washtenaw County won roughly 64-percent voter support on Tuesday. The county won't start collecting that tax until December of 2018. Between now and the, the legality of the tax capture may end up in court. 


Dexter Township's Supervisor was vocal in his opposition before the election. He is equally as vocal now that the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health and Publc Safety Millage has passed.  Harley Rider contends there are portions of the ballot proposal that are illegal and worthy of a court challenge. Rider had said, before Tuesday's vote, If it passed, he would be willing to challenge the measure in court and pay for it our of his own pocket. 

Rider wants to be clear: He will not challenge the measure in his official township capacity. He is joining with more than 100-others in the more rural parts of Washtenaw County in a coalition to challenge the tax issue. 

Rider says to have 24% of the tax collected from rural parts of Washtenaw County and distributed to urban areas for discretionary spending, is a clear violation of the law, and an affront to the urban areas that contract with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's office for policing services. 

Rider says the, as-of-yet unnamed, coalition will begin meeting and consulting with attorneys to determine the next step. 

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu