Vote Yes on the Washtenaw County Mental Health Millage

Why the Ecology Center is Supporting the Proposal

The Ecology Center is urging a YES vote on the Washtenaw County mental health and public safety millage, to be decided by county voters on November 7.

Mental health and public safety experts have persuaded us that the primary purpose of the millage deserves support, but there’s a vitally important climate action component to the plan that led our Board of Directors to give the proposal our formal endorsement.  

The ballot proposal is an 8-year, 1.0-mill levy to fund mental health and public safety services throughout the county.  State cutbacks have eliminated two-thirds of the county’s mental health funding, and have created what local officials describe as a “community crisis” that needs to be addressed with a new source of financial support.  The millage funds will be devoted to mental health and public safety services, to be split evenly between the two functions. In Washtenaw County, however, seven municipalities — including the City of Ann Arbor — pay for their own police services, so those communities would be rebated a portion of the millage proceeds, to be allocated at the discretion of the local governments. Countywide, the millage funds would be divided 38% mental health, 38% public safety, and 24% local rebate.  Here’s the climate connection:

  • The Ann Arbor City Council has resolved to apply its portion of the rebate funds to climate action (40%), affordable housing (40%), and pedestrian safety (20%).
  • The climate portion would enable Ann Arbor to provide nearly $1 million in annual funding for its ambitious climate action plan, which commits the City to reduce carbon emissions 90% by 2050.
  • Along with the City’s Environmental Commission and Energy Commission, and with the Ann Arbor Climate Partnership, we have asked the City to fund the climate plan, and we’ve outlined the top five priorities for funding, details of which can be found at a2cp.org:
    • Rain Ready Ann Arbor - neighborhood-based climate adaptation
    • Energy Smart Ann Arbor - saving energy household by household
    • A2 Solar for All - new solar installations all over Ann Arbor
    • Charge up Ann Arbor - getting the community ready for electric vehicles
    • A2 Green Grants - neighborhood-based innovations
  • The rebate portion of the millage would provide the needed funding.
  • If the county millage is approved, the plan would provide essential mental health and public safety services, and in addition, it would mark the single biggest municipal initiative to address climate change in Michigan.

Vote YES on the Washtenaw County mental health and public safety millage November.

Published on October 17, 2017

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