Pasted in below is the Proposal FAQ from The Detroit Zoo's web site. For more information about The Detroit Zoo, necessary funding, the Proposal, and how you can help, visit The Detroit Zoo's voter education pages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Proposal?
The Detroit Zoological Society is asking Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to each place a proposal on the ballot that asks voters to approve a tax of up to 0.10 of a mill on all taxable property for a period of 10 years. Funds will go to the Detroit Zoological Society to help support its operation and maintenance of the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo.
Why does the Zoo need the proposal?
The City of Detroit turned over governance and management of the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo to the Detroit Zoological Society in 2006. At the time of transition the City ceased its annual subsidy.
How much does it cost to operate the Zoo?
The DZS has an annual operating budget of $24 million dollars to operate the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo in fiscal 2009. The City of Detroit was the source of a direct annual operating subsidy for 77 years. The current budget has one-third coming from earned revenue (admissions, parking, concessions, rides, rentals); one-third from contributed income (donations, memberships, sponsorships, grants) and one-third from a newly proposed public funding source.
How much will the proposal cost me?
A 0.10 of a mill tax will cost the average homeowner of a $200,000 home approximately $10 per year. That’s less than a dollar a month!
Is a ballot proposal necessary?
We continue to increase earned revenues and aggressively raise funds from the private sector (foundations, corporations, individuals), but the DZS needs a long-term sustainable source of public funding in order to continue serving the community.
Why are three different counties being asked to support the zoo?
The Detroit Zoo benefits the entire tri-county Metro Detroit region, and a substantial proportion - 85percent, - of the Zoo’s members and visitors come from the tri-county community. Therefore, it only makes sense for support to come from this entire area – not just one city, county or organization.
Why Should I care about the Zoo?
The Zoo is part of every Metro-Detroit family. You’d be hard pressed to find a family who hasn’t spent time at the Zoo. Throughout the tri-county area schools use the Zoo for field trips and hands-on learning. The animals and programs at the Detroit Zoo have educated, entertained, amused and amazed every generation for generations.
Do other zoos receive public funding?
Yes, more than two-thirds of nationally accredited nonprofit zoos receive public funding. Public funding accounts for 30-40percent of the operating budgets among nonprofit-operated zoos (this figure is even higher among government-operated institutions).
Will county residents get any special discounts if the proposal passes?
Yes. The Zoo and county zoological authorities in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County will mutually determine what benefits its residents will receive should the ballot proposal pass. Benefits could include education discounts, free admission on select days, or any number of yet-to-be-determined discounts.
What happens if the tax doesn’t pass?
We believe the community understands the value of this regional gem and will support this measure to secure the Zoo’s future.