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Environment & Climate Change

Ann Arbor voters could see a 20-year tax to fight climate change on their ballots this fall

Ann Arbor at sunset.
Jodi Westrick
/
Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor residents could see a proposal another millage on their ballots this November. This 20-year tax would go towards fighting climate change.

Mayor Chris Taylor saw how voters supported the affordable housing millage last year, and floated the idea at the June 6 city council meeting. He says he will introduce a resolution to put the millage on the November ballot at the next meeting.

Taylor says the city wants to do a lot of projects related to their A2Zero plan, which is the city's plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2030. Among those projects he says are comprehensive composting and a better recycling program.

"We need community solar and geothermal programs to support residential, commercial, and neighborhood-wide renewable energy installations. We need to help low-income residents save money and improve comfort, including with net-zero affordable housing and weatherization," he says. "We need to build neighborhood community and resilience centers, equity-driven tree planing, and greater heat and flood monitoring. We need to invest in energy efficiency programs to save money and improve comfort, and we need to do a lot more than this too."

The problem, Taylor says, is that the city lacks the funds to implement many of these changes. He says Ann Arbor residents expect their city to lead on important issues like climate change.

"Folks also demand that we constantly improve basic services and enhance quality of life in a way that keeps equity and justice front and center every day. Community climate action millage does both," Taylor said.

5th Ward councilmember Ali Ramlawi wasn't so sure that Ann Arbor residents would be thrilled about another millage.

"Tonight, we heard another proposal to add another 1-mill tax to our property tax bills. And I'm not sure how that's going to sit with many folks, when they're getting their property tax bill right now that's due at the end of the month, that's huge," he said.

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