A May ballot proposal for a streets tax would cost more and likely get less participation than if it were put on the November ballot along with county and state elections. But a special election would give Grand Rapids more time to change tax forms if the proposal fails. City Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 28, will consider calling a special election for May 6. Grand Rapids voters, who in 2010 authorized a 5-year income-tax increase, will be asked to continue that increase for another 15 years and earmark the money for streets. Acting City Clerk Darlene O’Neal said holding an election in May will cost Grand Rapids an extra $75,000 to $80,000.
“If the commission decided to wait (until November), then we would not have to spend” that money, O’Neal said.
Putting the streets tax proposal on the November ballot would not increase the cost of running that election because the city would have to hire election workers and train those workers anyway, she said.
Because the November ballot also includes county, state and federal races, the city would not pay the entire cost as it would for a special election in May. It’s also likely that voter turnout would be lower in May than in November.