Redi-Ride Millage Renewal Before Voters in Meridian Township on August 6th

Redi-Ride Millage Renewal Before Voters in Meridian Township on August 6th

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Election season is quickly approaching on August 6th.

This year, Meridian Township residents will have the opportunity to vote on two ballot proposals. One of those proposals is the Redi-Ride Millage Renewal which is operated by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA).

One of the Township's goals for 2019 was to finalize and implement a long term funding plan for public transportation and that plan includes a detailed scope for the Redi-Ride service.

The millage that was last approved in 2009 expired in December 2018.

This renewal has a few differences from the previous 10 year millage voters need to know about.

"Because of the override on the millage it's at 0.19, the previous was voted in at 0.2 mills," said Meridian Township's Community Planning and Development Director Mark Kieselbach. "And it's only going to be for 5 years; it's going to run 2020 through 2024."

Kieselbach went on to say the reasons for reducing the number of years for the millage was to have more flexibility and be able to bring new technology to the service as it's updated.

According to CATA, over the years the number of Redi-Ride users has increased to a total of 19,852 riders. This was due in part to the expanded hours and enlarged service area.

"With the service agreement that we've already negotiated with CATA, we were able to get more buses so we can have a higher capacity," Kieselbach said. "We've also added in the morning and the evening extra time so it's Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, so those are new additions. They've also increased the locations where the buses can go. Before they couldn't go outside the Township."

If the millage passes the Township would collect and estimated $360,756 revenue in the first year.

One Haslett resident spoke out about why she'll be voting no on the millage.

"For years now the blind and disabled residents in our community who I met when we were going through the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) fight, I met them and they've been trying for years to change the wording on the millage to say transportation," said Patty McPhee. "Apparently they wasted their time because they were promised in 2020, Supervisor Styka said well we'll change the wording from CATA to transportation then. Well he went back on his word or he forgot because transportation's not in there it says CATA again and he let them down. So, my vote is in support of these people."

At the time of this story, HOMTV was unable to speak with someone on camera who is in support of this proposal.

The ballot language for the proposal was approved by the Township Board on May 9th, 2019 and is as follows:

Shall the previous voted increase of 0.2 (2/10) mill ($0.20 on each $1,000 of taxable value) in the tax limitation that may be assessed against all property in the Charter Township of Meridian, which was reduced to 0.1983 mill by the required millage rollbacks and expires after 2019, be renewed at 0.1983 mill ($0.1983 on each $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for 5 years, 2020 through 2024 inclusive, for expanded CATA service to increase frequency of current routes and provide Redi Ride service for Meridian residents, raising an estimated $360,756 in 2020, of which a portion will be disbursed to such other or fewer local units of government as the Township Board determines appropriate?The original Redi-Ride Millage was passed in 1999 and was last approved in 2009. These millages authorized a 0.2 millage for expanded Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) services. This was to increase frequency of current routes and provide Redi-Ride services for Meridian Township residents reduced to 0.1983 by required millage rollbacks.

The fate of the Redi-Ride Millage Renewal will be in the hands of voters on Tuesday, August 6th. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

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