Poll: Macomb County voters reject tax hike for jail

Jail tax proposal could appear on upcoming election ballot

Macomb County commissioners are considering placing the jail tax proposal on an upcoming election ballot. The proposal will be discussed at a meeting Thursday. 

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. - Macomb County voters oppose a proposal to raise property taxes to fund a $375 million new jail by more than a 2-to-1 margin, according to a poll initiated by the county Board of Commissioners.

The poll was conducted Friday through Monday by California-based Probolsky Research and paid for by Macomb County to measure voter willingness to support a proposal to increase property taxes by nearly one mill to build and operate a new county jail.  

Macomb County commissioners are considering placing the jail tax proposal on an upcoming election ballot. The proposal will be discussed at a meeting Thursday. 

The proposal was opposed by 60% of likely voters and supported by 25%, according to Probolsky Research. Fifteen percent were undecided, the research group found.  

The poll of 400 likely voters in the upcoming November election has a 5 percentage point margin of error. 

Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet commented on the poll. 

“The jail proposal is way too expensive. Asking citizens to raise taxes on their homes for 20 years to build a palatial new jail is absurd. Especially when citizens endure crumbling roads and other pressing needs,” Drolet stated.  “I hope this poll is educational for county officials. It’s a waste of everybody’s time to place this proposal on a ballot. Instead, county officials should accept reality and pay down existing county debts so jail needs can be financed without hiking taxes. That may mean postponing jail renovations for a few years, but it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

The poll also asked respondents to identify the top issue facing Macomb County. Roads and infrastructure was identified as the top issue by 58.5% of poll respondents, Probolsky Research added.  

Taxes were second, with 10.8% of respondents naming it as the top issue. Crime, education, water quality, employment, the economy and 'other’ were identified as the top issue by fewer than 10% of those polled.

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