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Ann Arbor to put tax on ballot to build affordable housing

A view of E. Liberty businesses in downtown Ann Arbor
A view of E. Liberty businesses in downtown Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor voters will decide whether to raise millions of dollars through a new property tax to build or acquire housing for people with certain incomes.

The 1-mill tax would cost $125 per year for a home with a $125,000 taxable value, MLive reported. It could raise $6.5 million in its first year.

City commissioners voted unanimously Monday to put the question on the November ballot.

Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan, has one of the strongest economies in Michigan, although that also means higher housing costs compared to other communities. People making up to 60% of the area median income would qualify for housing if the millage passes.

Council member Zachary Ackerman, a Democrat, said the millage could keep service workers and public employees in Ann Arbor.

“We can’t live without them," he said. "Our economy would shut down. It would get unhealthy.”

Council member Jack Eaton, a Democrat, said rents could increase if the millage passes and landlords pass the tax to tenants.

“We need to be careful not to create a community where only the very wealthy and those eligible for housing subsidies can afford to live,” Eaton said.