FRANKLIN VILLAGE BALLOT PROPOSAL
Dear Franklin Villagers
On November 6, you will be asked to vote to authorize the Village to use public funds to add pedestrian lighting into the downtown commercial area, roughly Scenic to 14 Mile Road. The exact ballot language is at the end of this note.
This authorization is required by our Village Charter, the document that is the authority under Michigan’s constitution and laws that govern Franklin. For Franklin residents, this means your votes for or against Charter changes and updates are relevant and important to infrastructure changes the Village Council, is considering for the downtown.
Lighting in downtown Franklin has been talked about for years as a safety issue, an intrusion and as part of a desire to beautify the downtown. In recent years, we have become aware that Villagers want to walk/ride to downtown with their children and they want safe passage. Our business owners want to make it easy for visitors to find them. About a year ago, Village Council asked the Planning Commission to begin looking at infrastructure – wiring, pipes and other structures that would have an impact on future changes to Franklin Road that would be done in conjunction with the road repair project. Several exciting conversations have taken place since that time and Village Council determined we need to keep moving forward.
Here is some background on the request to authorize pedestrian lighting:
The Franklin Road paving project you approved in 2016 includes improvements related to safety in addition to the new asphalt surfaces on residential streets.
- One of these is the installation of pedestrian lighting in the downtown area. Specifically, pedestrian lighting – means lighting to enable safe movement of pedestrians and bicyclists.
- This work will be funded through existing road funds –some from the State and some from local taxes. This is not “new” money from local taxes – we have been able to save funds that have been allocated but not used over the last two years. Also, with good management, our road contractor has been able to come in under budget, allowing some of the road funds to be used for safety-related improvements.
- On the issue of money, the cost of lighting will increase our operating expenses somewhat, similar to adding exterior lighting to your home.
- Improvements would be made on Village property within the road right of way. Village businesses and residents on Franklin Road will continue to pay their own exterior light bills.
- We have not determined any more details on pedestrian lighting. We are committed to taking one step at a time, and right now that is getting voters’ approval to move ahead with planning for the downtown lighting improvements.
- Council has commissioned Land Design Studios, an organization that has done work in the Village, to develop a plan for the Franklin Road corridor that would address parking, landscaping, pedestrian access and ease of moving around the Village downtown. It will include pedestrian lighting if voters authorize it. If the request to authorize pedestrian lighting is not approved, Council will reconsider the project.
- The area affected lies within the Franklin Historic District. This means extensive review by local and State agencies including Village Boards and Commissions. There will be many other opportunities for input and discussion, which I will explain when and if we get to that point.
Below is the exact language that will be on the November 6th ballot for your consideration.
Franklin Village Charter Chapter XIV requires voter approval to authorize the construction, providing, or maintenance of a lighting system. The Village Council is considering constructing outdoor lighting for pedestrians within the downtown Franklin Road corridor between 14 Mile Road and Scenic Drive. No special tax millage is requested for a lighting system. If this ballot question is approved, the Village Council intends to develop plans and cost estimates.
Shall the Village of Franklin be authorized to construct, provide, and maintain an outdoor pedestrian lighting system within the downtown Franklin Road corridor between 14 Mile Road and Scenic Drive?
Pam Hansen, President,
Village of Franklin