May 10, 2019
The Source for Livonia News and Opinions
Candidates stake out positions on the two Livonia Public Schools
funding proposals our neighbors
will be voting on this August 6th
Candidates for office in the city of Livonia will have the opportunity over the next several weeks to respond to questions posed by readers of FridayMusings. The first question e-mailed to the candidates dealt with the two ballot proposals placed on the August ballot by the Livonia Public Schools. Musings will report on the positions taken by the candidates without editing their response:
The Livonia Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously, on March 25, to place two funding proposals on theAugust 6 ballot. The first is a renewal of the Non-Homestead Operating Millage, which is an 18-mill levy on all non-homestead properties (businesses, second homes, properties that are not a primary residence). This millage does not affect owners of primary residences.
The second proposal is the Sinking Fund replacement. The Sinking Fund is levied on all properties and has been in place since 1995. This fund is used to support the district's long-term facility plan and covers expenses related to the maintenance and renovation of the district's school buildings, facilities, parking lots, playgrounds, plumbing and water main repairs and much more.
As leaders in the community what is your position o
n the two funding proposals? Will you be voting in favor of either/or both of the proposals?
Here are the unedited responses from 12 of the 15 candidates seeking nomination in August:
Candidates seeking the August 6th Primary nomination for Mayor:
Bruce Tenniswood, candidate for Mayor:
I have considered both proposals, and the following are my conclusions. T
he education of our children is paramount to the prosperity of our city and our society. We honor the commitment and dedication of past generations of Livonians by our own willingness to support public educational opportunities for generations to follow. Without a reputation for excellent schools, the City of Livonia would struggle to attract the young families that breathe new life into our community.
The operating millage renewal proposal is a basic element of school funding that is essential to keeping a viable public educational system.
The sinking fund millage proposal is a replacement/increase to the fund that maintains the physical structures and a narrow range of necessary improvements. This proposal reflects the reality that as our schools age, costs to maintain and improve them increase.
Both ballot proposals are appropriate measures and reasonable requests. I wholeheartedly support their passage.
Maureen Miller Brosnan, candidate for Mayor:
I encourage Livonia residents to join me in voting "yes" to renew both funding proposals for Livonia Public Schools. Our most powerful resource is the next generation. Investing in that resource will always pay off. I believe one of the best investments I can make as a parent and taxpayer is in a proven school system.
A yes vote on the renewal of the non-homestead property millage means Livonia won't be left behind and will continue to receive our share of matching State funds. With those funds in place Livonia Public Schools will continue to rank among the top performing districts in the state.
A yes vote on the second proposal to replace the sinking fund will do more than take care of roofs, boilers and other building repairs. A yes vote will advance the technology infrastructure critical to the 14,200 students in our district. As the former executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association I travelled to China to speak with ambassadors from China, Canada and Israel. We discussed where the next generation of talent is coming from and what they will need to succeed. Access to technology topped the list.
So, for me, the high return on my investment makes it easy to vote yes. I invite you to join me, and on August 6 vote yes to secure the future for tomorrow's bright minds today.
Laura Toy, candidate for Mayor:
I support the non-homestead operating millage renewal. This is not a new tax and is essential funding for LPS and is used by districts across our state as an important source of operating revenue. As a business owner in Livonia, we pay this tax to support our local schools.
I will look forward to learning more about the sinking fund renewal proposal from LPS. As a homeowner and a business owner, I am concerned about the increase in this millage as part of the renewal (1.6 mills versus the current 1.1142 - a 43% increase). I supported the previous sinking fund millage to ensure our school facilities were kept up-to-date, but it seems many projects have been completed in recent years including building upgrades, enhanced security, upgraded technology, and the new Performing Arts Centers at each of our high schools. LPS will need to provide information to the voters of what the need is not only for the renewal of this millage, but for the increase as well.
Candidates seeking the August 6th Primary nomination for City Council
Steve King, candidate for City Council:
As the only candidate that is both a certified teacher and former school board trustee I speak with experience on this issue. IDO support the renewal of the operating millage but do not support the increased sinking fund proposal. You do not have enough ink in your well to print my feelings on how poorly this money has been handled in the past. Case in point the 100 thousand dollar arch and pillars added to the board office because? I pointed out countless examples while on the board and still cringe when I see old technology diesel buses traveling thousands of miles annually in our district. No matter my feelings, if every candidate came out against this proposal it would still pass. Every school millage in Livonia does.
I will be speaking with much more detail about this and all things Livonia on my blog.
Gregory Coppola, candidate for City Council:
The governing of the City of Livonia and Livonia Public Schools are mutually exclusive. As a
potential member of city council, I would have no direct input into the school district's operations or funding. Nevertheless, a strong and successful school district is integral to a strong and successful city. If elected, I will be laser focused on continuing the success those who have come before me have engendered. And, as a citizen, I have and will continue to be a strong supporter of our schools.
While excellent teachers and administration are the most important factors, success cannot be achieved without proper funding. Renewal of the Non-Homestead Operating Millage is a simple issue - it is a renewal, required to receive funding from the State of Michigan and a primary source of revenue for the operations of the school district. I fully support the renewal of the Non-Homestead Operating Millage.
The Sinking Fund proposal is a more complex issue. The money generated by this millage is used to support the district's long-term facility plan, and covers expenses related to the maintenance and renovation of the school district's properties. This funding is critical to creating a proper learning environment. However, the proposed millage of 1.6 is a 44% increase over the current millage of 1.1142. While the needs of the school district have not diminished, it is not clear to me that an increase of this magnitude is warranted.
The school district estimates that this millage increase will cost the average Livonia resident $50 per year. This does not seem like a lot of money unless you are a senior citizen on a fixed income. I am very sensitive to the fiscal limitations of our senior population and believe this increase will be a hardship on many of these citizens. As a city council member, the needs of the city's seniors will always be a focus.
The school district stated it plans to host community information sessions and launch an informational campaign to inform the voters of the proposals prior to the August 6 election. I look forward to receiving this detail. In the interim, while I am supportive of continuing at the current millage level, I will be withholding my position on the Sinking Fund proposal until more clarity is available into the specific needs requiring this level of increase.
Jim Davis, candidate for City Council:
It is important to understand that the Livonia City Council has no superintendent authority, management oversight or voting privileges regarding daily operations or budget considerations for the schools. As such, my personal thoughts and comments on the school system's request for the continuation of current funding levels for Operating Non-Homestead taxes and an increase for the School Sinking Fund for maintenance, will necessarily be framed as that of a concerned resident, regular voter and as one who brought up their children in our excellent Livonia school system.
As active and concerned citizens we care deeply about the city of Livonia. We pride ourselves on the fact that our children benefit and excel academically and developmentally from a professionally run school system that is constantly pointed out as one of Michigan's best. Another point of pride for all "Livonians" is the historically responsible city government legacy of fiscal restraint and the artful management of our tax dollars. That is the definition of, "Public Trust" and this responsible management (of which I will continue if elected to City Council) has resulted in Livonia's tax rate constantly remaining the, or one of the, lowest in the County
Being thought of as "the Best" in any category; schools, low taxes, neighborhoods, crime control, or a business-friendly climate comes at a price and we accept this cost as residents who create these privileges, or values, through our tax dollar support of them. As a community we will not accept policy and plans that are not carefully researched, based upon a thoughtful needs assessment, and those that do not further our common goal of best practices that create government excellence and value, nor should we. We are wise to consider a balanced approach when deciding the question of increasing taxes, or investment, weighted against the expected outcome of excellence and value for the common benefit of all.
For example, in 2014 Livonia citizens overwhelmingly turned down a request for a millage increase to fund the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) school service program
. Careful examination of the proposal revealed that only some of our tax investment would return to our school system. It became clear to Livonia voters that we would not receive a one to one investment return. When considering the idea of a balanced approach, at least in this example, the funding increase request failed the balancing test of investment and value and was rightfully rejected by voters.
Livonia Public Schools (LPS) has posted a short announcement on their website of the proposed renewal of the operating millage (18.4568 Mills, unchanged) and the proposed increase to the Sinking Fund rate from 1.1142 Mills to 1.600 Mills. This appears to be approximately a 20% increase for the fund. According to the school system, the 2013 bond issue provided "significant security enhancements" and they appear to be saying that the increase will be used for "protecting these investments."
The Sinking Fund was last raised in 2005
. It is interesting to note that this increase was a shift of funding and not an actual increase in taxes. The Operating Homestead General Fund was reduced by the 0.120 Mills and the Sinking Fund was increased by the same amount. This appears to have been done to reassign dollars from general, to maintenance purposes.
As a parent and now retired law enforcement officer, I know all too well the concerns we have as our children leave the house and walk or ride a bus to school. Security on school campuses is now a high priority for districts in Wayne County, the State and across the Country. I applaud the School Board and LPS for having the foresight to include security measures for our schools in the bond issue including what I would call the "Target-Hardening" measures described as "secured buzzer-entry vestibules" phones and cameras. These architectural design protections for our children at school should now be considered mandatory and become commonplace.
The Sinking Fund is restricted for maintenance issues and is barred from operational expenses and I believe the State was anticipating changing needs when they expanded the permitted use of funds for security enhancements. I would support school safety specifically prioritized as a reasonable use for any additional tax revenue from the Sinking Fund and support no increases for the Non-Homestead tax. If the additional requested funds are approved by voters' plans should be made for additional specific security control measures and their future maintenance, including upgrades with the goal being the protection our students and schools. The proposed sinking fund school tax increase has just been announced by the District and I look forward to hearing more details on its planned use.
Kathleen McIntyre, candidate for City Council:
Kathleen McIntyre, candidate for Livonia City Council: I have not done sufficient research into LPS's financials nor into the details of either of these two millages to have a position.
Gerald Perez: candidate for City Council:
I am in favor for both of these proposals. I hope they will be a bit creative with consideration towards energy saving projects. I have some thoughts on these items.
Eileen McDonnell, candidate for City Council:
I think it is so very important for the Livonia Public School voters to support the 18-mills operating millage this August. Not having this money available to support our schools would be devastating to our
district's general fund equity and our student's education. This millage only taxes non homestead properties and businesses; not LPS homeowners. We all have to ensure that this millage passes!
I am struggling with the idea of an increase for the sinking fund however, am aware that the bond did not have monies allocated for necessary expenses including roof replacement and parking repair etc. As stated when I was on the school board that these types of repair should be a priority and still should be. Without the sinking fund, LPS would have to allocate general fund monies for any necessary updates to our infrastructure which would be pulling money from student programs. Because of my school board experience I will be supporting this proposal and hope that LPS continues to utilize Plante Moran Cressa to oversee any contract bidding and construction processes.
Brandon McCullough, candidate for City CounciI:
I will be voting in support of both Livonia Public School proposals. As a husband to a Livonia Public School teacher and father to a Livonia Public School student, I would never support any cuts to funding for our schools. Livonia's motto is "Families First!" What message would someone send by not supporting these proposals?
The Non-Homestead Operating Millage is a renewal that will not impact homestead households. This tax burden would continue to fall on businesses and properties that are non-homestead. If for some crazy reason this proposal did not pass, it would equate to a loss of $24 million of funding to our schools! There is no doubt that strong schools contribute to a healthy bottom line for all businesses in the City, which easily offsets the 18-mill levy. Voting no on this proposal is a moral disservice to Livonia.
The sinking fund proposal is also a no-brainer. This is yet another renewal that equates to a very small increase in our taxes. Money from the sinking fund is used to upgrade school facilities, thus improving the learning conditions for our teachers and students. The vast majority of these projects are not visible, but their value cannot be underestimated. The sinking fund allows the district to fund roof replacements, HVAC replacements, parking lot repairs, and technology/security upgrades among others without having to use general fund dollars. And by general fund dollars, I mean dollars that directly impact our students in the classroom. As a facilities manager, I understand the importance of being proactive rather than reactive, saving money and preventing future issues from arising. Also, most of the new building technologies
are incredible efficient, equating to less impact on the environment and saving the district money.
I understand the vital role our school system plays on the success of our community as a whole. These renewals are needed, not just for Livonia schools, but for Livonia overall. I hope residents will join me by voting in support for Livonia Schools!
Scott Bahr, candidate for City Council:
I want to underscore that Livonia Public Schools is a separate governmental entity from the City of Livonia, so as a councilman, I have no authority over school decisions. As a taxpayer and father of LPS students, however, I have a vested interest in the success of our local schools.
Both the non-homestead and sinking fund millages are important components of our school funding model, so I would like to see both continue. The sinking fund proposal, however, is asking for more than a replacement; it is requesting a tax rate increase. I encourage Livonia citizens to study all aspects of this particular request before voting in August.
Robert Donovic, candidate for City Council:
went to Livonia Public Schools, Johnson elementary to Churchill high school. Two of my siblings the same, with a third sibling currently at Johnson, so our schools are a priority to me. I will be supporting both proposals. Lansing's education funding model has failed schools and that is something Livonia can not afford to do. As residents, we want our children to get the best education in the most advanced facilities. Maintaining high quality schools help to keep our property values up, crime down, and a community feeling across the city. LPS has been a responsible steward of past tax dollars and I trust that they will continue to in the future.
Cinematic Art expands in Livonia with the introduction of Fathom Events
The Metropolitan Opera: Dialogues de Carmelites
May 11 - 12:00 PM
Batman Forever Event
May 12 - 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM
What We Left Behind: Star Trek DS9
May 13 - 7:00 PM
Batman & Robin Event
May 14 - 4:00 PM, 7:00 P
Saga of Tanya The Evil - The Movie
May 16 - 7:30 PM
Bolshoi Ballet: Carmen Suite/Petrushka
May 19 - 12:55 PM
Steel Magnolias 30th Anniversary (1989)
May 19 - 4:00 PM
May 21 - 7:00 PM
May 22 - 7:00 PM
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind -
Studio Ghibli Fest
May 20 - 7:00 PM
May 21 - 7:00 PM
The Cold Blue
May 23 - 7:30 PM
Click on this image for all movie times
Election Season in our Hometown
City of Livonia
Mayor primary in August
Maureen Miller Brosnan
May 10 @ 3:00 - 3:45
May 11 @ 10:00- 11:00
Coffee+Cream on Joy Road
May 11 @ 12:00 - 2:00
1950's Coffee Klatch Luncheon
$15.00 advance tickets
May 11 @ 4:00
Stop Drop & Bowl
Livonia Firefighters Charity Fund @
May 16 @ 5:30
Civic Park Senior Center
May 18 @ 12:00 noon
Maureen Brosnan Canvas Kickoff
Civic Center Senior Center
Spring Garden Party
Livonia Symphony Orchestra
May 18 @ 2:00
Livonia Youth Symphony of Michigan
Annual Spring Concert
Madonna University-Kresge Hall
May 19 @ 8:00 start
Clarenceville Education Foundation
May 18 @ 9:00 -10:00 rain or shine
Livonia Garden Club Plant Sharing
Greenmead Historical Park
Spring Concert at Churchill Performing Arts Center
54th Annual by the Livonia Civic Chorus
May 21 @ 6:00
Bruce Tenniswood campaign kickoff
Quality Inn on Plymouth Road
May 22 @ 7:30 am
Scott Bahr campaign kick off
May 22 @ 7:30 pm
Schoolcraft Road Panera Bread
May 23 @ 5:00 - 7:00
Brandon McCullough for City Council
Fundraiser at Wintergarden
May 23 @ 7:00 - 8:45
45th Annual Livonia Prayer Breakfast
May 29 @ 7:00
Livonia Republican Club Candidate Forum
Civic Park Senior Center
June 1 @ 9:00 - 2:30
Dr. Thomas A. Dooley
Knights of Columbus Council #5492
Kick off to Summer Car Show
June 1 @ 7:00 am - 10:00
Livonia City Hall Campus
Save Our Youth Run
June 7 @ all day
Robert Bennett Memorial Golf Outing
Benefiting the Livonia Symphony Orchestra
June 8 @ 10:00 - 2:00
Livonia's Annual Passport to Safety
Livonia Police Department
Safety stations where children learn about safety
in a fun, family setting.
June 9 @ 9:00 - 5:00
32nd Annual Barn Car Show
June 13 @ 5:45-7:00 & 7:00 - 9:00
Ice Cream followed by Patriotic & Pops
Kirksey Recreation Center
June 25 - 30
Livonia Spree 69
Happy Birthday Livonia !
July in Livonia
July 11 - August 29
Music From The Heart
Livonia City Hall Back Porch
July 20 - August 3
July 27 @ 10:00 - 2:00
Touch a Truck @
September in Livonia
September 15 @ 1:00 - 4:00
Good Old Fashioned
Neighborhood Corn Roast
John Stymelski Park
September 28 @ 10:00 - 6:00
Guns and Gowns @ Greenmead
October in Livonia
October 3 @ 7:00
The Wilson Barn was a happening place last week as the Youth Group at
Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church held a foot stompin' barn dance
Kate Mackie: "Another Spring Fundraiser in the books! Thank you to everyone for your kind and generous support!
"Appalachia here we come!"
Kate Mackie was right on point. Last year the youth group at Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church had a successful fundraiser for their summer mission trip with a bowling outing.
This year with another fundraiser, this one a creative barn dance at the historic Wilson Barn, under their belt and thanks to the generous community support the youth group is ready for another mission trip. This one to Appalachia.
Livonia has so many unique venues other than bars and restaurants, and yes we have lots of bars and restaurants in our 36 square miles, that when we put our thinking caps on we can find any number of creative opportunities. Some tie in our history with the successful heritage of our forefathers. Okay, perhaps I should say founders so as not to be gender specific.
This one was on the horizon for the typewriter for several weeks but it just so happened that the newly implanted computer chip was in the process of being updated. So it was vicariously that I lived through the evening. Thanks to Kate Mackie for posting these pictures I found the foot stomping memories of elementary school in Decatur Georgia when our classes learned square dancing. Not in a barn but the school gym working perfectly.
Hats off for this creative evening of fun and funds.
Enjoy your summertime trip to Appalachia helping those in need.
From Livonia to Appalachia. Gotta love it. Just as you gotta love this venue for a party.
Motor City Youth Theatre does it again with another great show coming up next weekend. Check it out.
Motor City Youth Theatre presents
The Rainbow Fish!
It's a wonderful musical that is s
hort and very sweet; just over an hour.
Great costumes, great songs, awesome MCYT actors!!
Performances are scheduled for 7 PM May 16, 17, 18 and 2 PM May 19. ALL SEATS $10 FOR ANY SHOW.
There is a 1:00 PM Saturday, May 18 special performance for pre-school children and families, includes craft tables.. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase tickets on EVENTBRITE
Memorial Day Remembrances
Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church
City of Livonia in partnership with Allied Veterans
Campaign events scheduled for three Livonia candidates:
Rob Donovic for Council
Maureen Miller Brosnan for Mayor
Bruce Tenniswood for Mayor
Brandon McCullough for Council
Candidates are out and about Livonia. Retail is so cool.
Maureen Miller Brosnan for Livonia Mayor May 18
Join Maureen for her canvass kick-off, where she will be knocking doors around Livonia to talk to voters about her campaign for mayor. Never canvassed before? Maureen says, "We'll meet in the Senior Center conference room at noon for a brief training, and we'll pair you up with an experienced canvasser. And join us back at the Senior Center at 3:30 for a volunteer appreciation meal.
Feel free to invite your friends, family, and first-time canvassers alike! "
Can't make it to our canvass at noon? Join them at 3:30 to learn more about the campaign and talk about being involved going forward.
Bruce Tenniswood is having a Campaign Kickoff - Fundraiser Event on Tuesday, May 21st from 6:00 - 9:00 at the Quality Inn and Suites, 30375 Plymouth Road. The event will begin at 6:00 PM with the program beginning at 7:00 PM. Appetizers and refreshments provided. Cash bar available.
Bruce Tenniswood for Livonia Mayor May 21
Bruce says, "Please consider donating to help support The Bruce 4 Mayor Campaign. This is a campaign by the people and for the people. We would appreciate any contributions made by you, the people! You have the option of bringing a personal check or making a donation via our website."
Rob Donovic for Livonia City Council May 22
Join Rob on Wednesday, May 22nd, at 7:30, for Coffee and Conversation at the Schoolcraft Road Panera Bread. Rob says that he is
"running for Livonia City Council and believe it's important to talk to residents and learn more about our community and coffee hours are great for informal discussion.
I will be doing this twice a month--An AM and PM coffee hours."
Brandon McCullough for Livonia City Council May 23
The McCullough Campaign Fundraiser is set!
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 23rd @ Wintergarden Tavern from 5:00pm-7:00pm
Brandon says that they "are raising funds to cover expenses such as; yard signs, mailers, door hangers, and other campaign necessities.
Please consider attending the fundraiser and investing in Livonia's future."
Livonia Youth Symphony is auditioning for next season
Keep up to date on all that is happening at our
Livonia Greenmead Historical Park