As we look ahead to Election Day, Royal Oak Patch is devoted to bringing you the information you need about every race in town. Here's our start on the candidates and issues we've been covering. Bookmark this page for updates.
Mayor Jim Ellison is running for the city's top position unopposed. Ellison has held the mayor's title since December 2003.
City Commission Race
Four hopefuls are running to fill three seats on the Royal Oak City Commission. Mayor Pro-Tem David Poulton is the only candidate running for re-election. Former Mayor Pro-Tem Patricia Capello resigned in May and Commissioner Jim Rasor, first elected in 2009, opted not to run in 2013.
The candidates for city commission are:
- Watch the Candidates Forum Online
- City Commission Candidates Answer Business-Related Questions
- Candidates Answer Questions About Motels, Rats and Vision for Royal Oak
- Who's Spent What? City Commission Candidates File Campaign Finance Reports
Ballot proposalsProposal A - Human rights ordinance
In addition to electing three city commissioners and a mayor, Royal Oak voters will choose whether or not to join other Michigan communities, including Ferndale, Birmingham, Huntington Woods and Ann Arbor, and adopt a human right ordinance.
Opponents of the issue succeeded in forcing the human rights ordinance passed by commissioners in March to a vote after submitting the required 746 valid signatures of registered voters in April.
Proposal A reads:
An ordinance to amend the code of the city of Royal Oak to prohibit discrimination based upon actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status, and to provide penalties for the violation thereof.
Charter amendments are the result of recommendations by the Charter Review Committee and were approved by the city commission.
"Amending the City Charter is an ongoing process," said Rob Moore, vice-chair, Royal Oak Charter Review Committee. "The task of the Charter Review Committee is to examine potential changes to the City Charter, and to make recommendations based on simplifying and modernizing language, as well as updating it to ensure that is in line with current practices and State law. Voters last approved changes to the Charter in 2011."
Voters will consider the following amendments:
- Proposal 1 would lower the age of eligibility to be Mayor or a City Commissioner from 25 years old to 21 years old. This proposal is designed to bring the City Charter in line with current Federal and State guidelines, as well as to allow for a larger number of citizens to participate in the election process.
- Proposal 2 would remove the requirement that a person be a freeholder (real estate property owner) in order to hold elected office. Numerous Federal and State court rulings and Michigan Attorney General opinions have held that this requirement is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. The proposal, if enacted, would bring the Charter in line with State law.
- Proposal 3 would allow the City Assessor and City Treasurer to be appointed by the City Manager. In 2005 voters approved amending the Charter to have the City Finance Director appointed by and report to the City Manager. As the City Assessor and City Treasurer report to the City Finance Director, this proposal seeks to simplify and modernize the Charter by allowing these positions to be appointed by the City Manager.
This proposal, if approved by voters, would authorize an 18 mill levy on non-homestead properties; non-homestead property taxes are not levied on owner occupied primary residences. The proposal would also authorize a 3.4 mill hold-harmless levy on principal residences. The 3.4 mill authorization is a reduction from the 3.5030 hold-harmless authorization approved by voters in 2006.
"These are not new taxes. These are not tax increases. In fact, the hold-harmless authorization is a reduction from that which voters approved in 2006," said Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin on the district's website. "We rely on the revenue from these millages for one-third of our operating budget. This proposal is critically important to our schools and our community."
Information about the School District Operating Millage Renewal proposal can be found in the Superintendent's most recent Patch submission.
Voter informationThe city of Royal Oak's website provides links for the following information:
- Determine if you are registered to vote
- Learn to use your voting equipment
- Find answers to frequently asked questions
- View your sample ballot
The polls will be open on Nov. 5 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.