Isn’t mid-August kind of late to start a campaign for a November 7 millage?
“Oh, hell, yes,” replies county commissioner Andy LaBarre. “We’ll do the best we can.”
The commissioners voted in July to put the millage for mental health and contract police services on the ballot, with four out-county commissioners opposed; the language wasn’t approved until August. That tepid support, plus some townships’ criticism of the one-mill tax, is “driving me crazy,” says sheriff Jerry Clayton, who sees the millage as the best way to keep mentally ill people out of the criminal justice system and support his deputies’ road patrols (“Jerry Clayton’s Vision,” May).
The millage vote “is a fifty-fifty proposition,” says LaBarre, who co-chairs the campaign committee with Clayton. “A mill is a big ‘ask,’ but the problem is big and complicated, and it involves all governments in this county. It’s going to take a great campaign to get it passed.”
The odds arguably improved in mid-August, when former Michigan DHS head Marianne Udow-Phillips joined the committee and Alex Yerkey signed on to manage the proposed $75,000 campaign; Yerkey previously managed successful campaigns for mayor Christopher Taylor and five city councilmembers. But “there’ll probably be organized opposition from some rural townships,” LaBarre says. “And the county GOP will try to be unhelpful.”