Dexter Will Ask Voters to Amend Referendum
By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter
At its July 11, 2022, meeting, the Dexter City Council approved a resolution that would again ask voters how they want the City to manage the sale of public property. The new proposal will be on the November 8 ballot.
In November 2020, Dexter voters approved a proposal stating, “The city may not sell any public property unless the sale is permitted by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of City Council and a majority of city electors voting on the proposed sale before closing.”
The intent of the citizen-initiated proposal appeared to be directed at the City’s sale of real estate. But the phrase “any public property” soon posed problems for the City as it looked to auction off old DPW equipment. In discussing the challenge of the new requirement of selling off City property such as equipment, office furnishings, and other depreciable items, the Council asked area residents for their thoughts on it in a survey conducted this past spring.
Of the 607 respondents, 437 (72%) expressed support for a modification to the Charter requirement that would “exempt personal property (equipment such as trucks, furniture, and electronics), allowing the City to auction or sell these items without a vote of Dexter residents.”
In response, the Council approved the following ballot question (key phrases highlighted in bold font by the STN):
“Section 13.05 Restriction on Powers to Sell or Lease Property “The city may not sell public property, excluding personal property and equipment, unless the sale is permitted by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of City Council and a majority of city electors voting on the proposed sale before closing.
“The transfer or assignment of any agreement or contract for the renting or leasing of public property, excluding personal property and equipment, may be made only upon approval of the Council, but approval of such transfer shall not be subject to referendum, as long as the term of the lease is for a maximum period of three years.”
“A proposal to amend the Dexter City Charter Section 13.05 Restrictions on powers to sell or lease property. Should the Dexter City Charter Section 13.05 be amended to exempt personal property and equipment, such as vehicles, lawn mowers, and wood chippers, from the Charter requirement that a sale or lease of City-owned property receive a 2/3 vote of City Council and a majority vote of City electors?
The Washtenaw County Clerk has included the proposal on the November 8, 2022, general election ballot.