Inside and outside of Oakland

Voters oust incumbents; pass tax proposals

Tax proposals had a good day at the polls Tuesday but some incumbents didn't fare as well.

Lake Orion residents went to the polls on Tuesday to vote for five Board of Education members, and ousted all but one incumbent.

Steven Drakos ran for a two-year seat while the rest of the candidates were seeking four-year terms.

Drakos easily defeated fellow incumbent and write-in candidate Bob Gritzinger for the two-year term.

“I'm so glad people were so interested to serve the public,” said Drakos. “I had nobody running against me, and it kind of got boring, to be honest with you."

Gritzinger had launched a Facebook campaign as a write-in to unseat fellow incumbent Drakos. The partial term ends June 30, 2013.

Voters in Lake Orion School District also had a full ballot to consider with 13 candidates vying for four four-year seats on the school board.

Seeking the four-year terms were incumbents Kelly Weaver and Janet Wolverton, both from Orion, plus Deborah Porter, Daniel Myslakowski, Melissa Miller, John Michalik, Connie Meech, Birgit McQuiston, Terry E. Lang, Joseph Knight, Nanci Canine and Terrie Campbell, all from Orion, and Mark G. Brackon from Oxford.

Voters ousted the incumbents and instead elected Miller, Meech, McQuiston and Porter.

Turnout at the polls, however, was light in school districts and communities across Oakland County where voters cast ballots on tax questions, charter amendments, school boards, city commissions and one county commission district.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. in communities and school districts with elections, but most voting was done by absentee ballot, Oakland County Director of Elections Joe Rozell said.

"We have precincts where only 20 voters have been in all day," Rozell said Tuesday afternoon.

"It's definitely going to be absentee ballots that carry it," he said. "There's a 70 percent return rate on absentees. We're not seeing the numbers at the polling places.

"Countywide, we'll probably between 15 and 17 percent," Rozell said of voter turnout.

Here's a rundown of the other races and questions on Tuesday's ballot:

County Commission District 2

Voters in Highland, Springfield, Holly and Rose townships are still settling a leftover contest from last November.

Republicans in a special primary chose Bob Hoffman over Carolyn Belaen and Brian Howe, all from Highland, as the GOP candidate to challenge Democrat Mark Venie of Davisburg in a special general election in August to pick a county commissioner to serve the remainder of the two-year term of Republican Bill Bullard.

Bullard was appointed county clerk when Clerk Ruth Johnson was elected secretary of state.

With all 22 precincts counted, Hoffman had 1,098 votes to 746 for Howe and 388 for Belaen.

The Republican majority on the county commission appointed Hoffman to temporarily fill the seat until the special primary and general elections could be held.

Hoffman, 60, owns businesses in Waterford and Highland and is a former township supervisor in Waterford. He served as a temporary county commissioner in 1998 and currently is on the Highland Zoning Board of Appeals.

His campaign website is votebobhoffman.com.

Venie, 56-year-old Democrat Hoffman will face in August, is a technical writer and married with three children. He ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner last November and has been a candidate for the state House. He has no campaign website yet.

Bloomfield Hills

Voters chose Michael D. McCready with 502 votes, Michael Zambricki with 455, and Patricia Hardy with 449 for three two-year seats on the on the city commission. Connie Salloum had 363 votes.

Voters also voted overwhelmingly, 504 to 164, to approve charter amendment to require that improvements and purchases over $1,000 and construction work by employees over $5,000 be approved by the city commission.

Clawson

Voters approve a one-third mill property tax increase in perpetuity to fund the city library by a vote of 1,329 to 1,096. The tax will raise $109,000 in 2011.

Ferndale

Voters approved/rejected a request to increase the city's authorized property tax rate by 5.4552 mills for five years for general operations. The city would be limited to a 3-mill increase in 2011. If approved, the tax would generate $1,681,806 in 2011.

Hazel Park

Voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a special assessment district and a 9.8-mill property tax levy for five years to pay for police and fire services. The vote was 1,787 to 586. The tax will generate $2,110,205 in 2011.

Madison Heights

Voters approved a one-mill property tax for 10 years for library services by a vote of 1,741 to 1,037. They also approved an increase in the city's tax limit by 1.181 mills to restore the city's previously authorized tax rate by a vote of 1,513 to 1,262.

The one-mill levy will raise $898,000 in 2011 while the 1.81-mill tax will generate $1,060,000 in 2011.

Southfield

Voters overwhelmingly approved allowing the city to levy an additional 4.9183 mills in property taxes for police, fire and emergency services, library services, parks and recreation and neighborhood street maintenance. The vote was 8,960 to 1,804.

Clawson Schools

Voters approved a request by the district to borrow $4,195,000 to equip, remodel and refurbish school district buildings through a 1.49-mill property tax for 10 years. The proposal passed 11,362 to 1,069.

There were also tax questions and elections in other school districts where boundaries cross county lines:

Fenton Schools

The district includes small parts of Rose and Holly townships. Voters in the Oakland County portions of the district cast 60 votes for Tamara Valley of Holly and 44 votes for Daniel P. Carter of Fenton for two four-year terms on the school board. Phillip A. Price of Fenton had 43 votes, James A. Shaw and Charles F. Colombo, both from Fenton, each had 23 votes.

Grand Blanc Schools

The district includes a small portion of Holly Township.

Voters were asked to renew the school district's 18-mill tax on nonresidential property. Of the 8 ballots cast, they were split 4-4.

Voters in the Holly portion of the district picked Larry Polzin of Burton with four votes for one four-year term on the school board over Craig Banasiak of Grand Blanc and Peter Ponzetti. Banasiak and Ponzetti each had 1 vote.

Northville Schools

The district includes portions of Novi and Lyon Township. Voters there approved a one-mill property tax for five years for repair and construction of school buildings. The total levy would generate $2,414,147 in 2011. The vote in the Novi and Lyon Township portions of the school district was 527 to 321 with five of six precincts counted.

Warren Schools

The district includes a portion of Troy. Troy voters chose Megan Papasian-Broadwell over Ben Lazarus and Carl B. Weckerle, all from Warren, for one four-year term on the school board. Papasian-Broadwell had nearly 70 percent support from the voters in Troy. Results from outside Oakland County aren't included.

Mott Community College

The college's district boundaries include parts of Holly and Rose townships. Voters in those Oakland County townships picked Pamela M. Faris of Clio with 54 votes, Michael Freeman of Flint with 36, and Lenore Croudy of Flint with 35 for three six-year terms on the college's board of trustees.

Andy Everman of Flushing had 26 votes, Robert Widigan of Lennon had 16 votes, and Kyle L. Cawood of Flint had 15.

The outcome of Tuesday's election is available online at www.oakgov.com/clerkrod/elections/.

The results are unofficial until they are certified by the Oakland County Board of Canvassers.

Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, charlie.crumm@oakpress.com or follow him on Twitter @crummc and on Facebook.

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