ANN ARBOR, MI — Mayor Christopher Taylor wants Ann Arbor voters to approve a new tax to fight climate change.
Recalling how city voters stepped up to approve a new 20-year tax last year to help address the city’s affordable housing challenges, Taylor maintains there’s another crisis the city needs more financial resources to confront now.
Taylor announced his plans for a climate-action tax proposal at a City Council meeting Tuesday night, July 6.
He intends to bring forward a resolution at the next council meeting that, if approved, would put a proposal on the November ballot asking city voters to OK a 1-mill “community climate-action millage” to be levied for 20 years.
City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and last year adopted the city’s A2Zero plan to achieve communitywide carbon-neutrality by 2030.
“To achieve this goal requires action on the part of others, but most of all ourselves,” Taylor said. “To do our part in the global climate crisis and to help community members face existing climate change, we need to do a lot of things. We need to move forward toward zero waste with comprehensive composting and new recycling. We need community solar and geothermal programs to support residential, commercial and honestly neighborhood-wide renewable energy installations.”
The city needs to help low-income residents save money and improve comfort, including with net-zero affordable housing and weatherization, Taylor said. And the city needs more community and resilience centers, equity-driven tree plantings and greater flood monitoring, he said.
“We need to invest in energy-efficiency programs for residents and businesses to save money and improve comfort, and we need to do a lot more than this, too,” he said. “But we can’t do these things today because we lack the necessary resources.”
Residents demand Ann Arbor lead on important issues and none is more important than climate change, Taylor said.
“Folks also demand that we constantly improve basic services and enhance quality of life in a way that keeps equity and justice front and center every day,” he said. “The community climate-action millage does both. It’ll enable residents to band together to help the global climate crisis and to better and equitably respond to local climate change that’s already upon us.”
The 1-mill tax for affordable housing voters approved last year is expected to raise over $6.5 million per year and potentially around $160 million over the next two decades, helping to create about 1,500 affordable housing units, according to city estimates. A 1-mill tax for climate action could raise a similar amount of money to advance the city’s A2Zero goals.
It would cost $100 per year for the owner of a $200,000 market-value home with a $100,000 taxable value.
Council Member Ali Ramlawi, D-5th Ward, said he’s not sure how that’s going to sit with many taxpayers who already have huge property tax bills.
MORE FROM THE ANN ARBOR NEWS: