GR sued over tax extension ballot question

A pothole in Grand Rapids. (file photo)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of Grand Rapids will fight a lawsuit regarding a May ballot question to extend a tax increase.

The Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association and Michael Farage on March 7 sued the City of Grand Rapids, city commissioners and Acting City Clerk Darlene O’Neal, saying the ballot question should be scrapped.

On May 6, the city will ask voters to approve a 15-year extension of an income tax increase passed in 2010. Originally set to run out in 2015, the income tax increase paid for programs that improved city government efficiency. If voters approve extending it to 2030, it will pay for repairs to Grand Rapids roads.

The Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association opposes the measure, saying the city should not be asking for an extension of what was originally sold to voter as a temporary increase.

When the city failed to send the Kent County clerk the language for that main ballot question by a Feb. 27 deadline, the association said the May vote should be canceled.

The city eventually sent the language to the county clerk, who accepted it. She said the deadline applied only to state and federal ballot proposals.

Tuesday, city officials instructed legal counsel to fight the suit, according to a release from the city.

A hearing is scheduled for March 18.

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