GR road tax on ballot; ‘fix’ campaign begins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The State Court of Appeals won’t block the City of Grand Rapids’ vote on extending a current income tax to pay for road repairs.

A three-judge panel ruled March 21 that the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association has no legal standing in its efforts to convince the appeals court to override last week’s decision by a Kent County judge to let the vote proceed on May 6.

“Plaintiff has not made a particularized showing of irreparable harm, an indispensable requirement for a preliminary injunction, and so, was not entitled to one,” wrote the court in response to the request it issues an injunction blocking the election.

“Furthermore, plaintiff organization has not presented any authority for the proposition that the organization itself has a clear legal right to performance of the duty sought, one element that must be established for a writ of mandamus to be issued, “added the three-judge panel.

But the court’s decision isn’t necessarily the end to the case, according to the lawyer for the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association.

Attorney Jeff Steinport filed a notion Monday morning, asking the panel to reconsider its decision.

Steinport said the new filing contains a number of past cases to support their argument that they do have standing.

Last week, Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Buth ruled against the Taxpayers Association.

They were attempting to halt the May election after it was revealed county election officials were not notified of the election before a February certification deadline.

The City argued, under a state election law, that the county clerk is not required to certify city election.

Buth agreed that the statute only applies to county and statewide ballot issues.

Members of the Taxpayers Association have asked the court for a response by Wednesday.

Now that the issue will be on the May ballot, the Fix Our Roads GR group officially launched its campaign Monday morning, hoping to get support for the upcoming vote.

The group said it wanted to have the measure on the ballot so the measure wouldn’t be overcrowded by other issues, and planning could start immediately, if passed.

Some City officials, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Rapids Public Schools superintendent attended the Monday event to support the campaign.

They said many Grand Rapids drivers are frustrated with the condition of the roads, and something must be done.

“With this ballot initiative, it puts us into a mode to improve all streets, to bring them up to 70% condition within the 15 years of the millage, or of the income tax, rather,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.




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