(Editor’s Note: Lou Santucci says he will not be voting for the renewal of the PDR program on the August 2 ballot. Read on for his reasons why, and click here for a primer on the program – what it is, how it works, how it began, and its impact on OMP farmers and residents. -jb)
The PDR program is up for renewal, and I will vote not to renew it.
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The first reason is I am against any new tax on my property. The PDR program will assess every property owner at two dollars per thousand dollars of valuation. Thanks to the Michigan limit on increases in real estate values from year to year, my property valuation is currently under $200,000. I have calculated that I would pay about an additional $250 a year until 2041 if the program is adopted. Thats $5000 in additional taxes.
Everyone should take out their tax bill and calculate what additional taxes you will pay each year until 2041.Some of the yes vote material is misleading in that it talks about only a few dollars a month in additional taxes. You need to know that is over what you were paying under the old program. It’s more than a few dollars.
I would hazard a guess that you will be surprised when you calculate it, especially if you bought a house in the last couple of years. That is on top of what you have paid over the years. For those who support this program, I suggest that the program should be voluntary and if you want to contribute to it, fine, do so. But I do not like the idea that other people will vote to tax me. It goes against my libertarian political nature.
Another reason I am against it is because it contains a slush fund provision, and frankly, I do not trust the Township officials with a slush fund. Will they use it for defending other lawsuits? Will they use it to vote themselves raises like they recently did? Who knows – it’s there to play with.
Currently the PDR ordinance allows a person selling their development rights to then sell the property for agricultural uses. Will that always be the case? Who knows? Will the Township put further restrictions on what they consider agricultural uses? If not, why didn’t they put a provision in there to say no further restrictions will be enacted during the life of the program?
Also, there has been talk of allowing public access to your land if you sell your development rights. Again, why wasn’t a provision added to ensure that never happens?
Plenty of land has already been protected using our money to do so. Do we need more? I would like to see some modest expansion of available commercial space out here and allowance for multi-family and low- to middle-income housing. Why shouldn’t we have a diversified housing base out here? Why shouldn’t our fire personnel and other workers have affordable housing offerings here?
The PDR program takes away such possibilities. Must we perpetuate a community of mostly well off wealthy people? Let’s open those invisible gates to others.
Vote No on the upcoming PDR renewal vote.