October 25, 2014

Countywide and township millages set for August primary

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — A variety of local and countywide millage proposals and renewals will appear on the Aug. 7 primary ballot, which range from continuing funding of schools, libraries, and the sheriff’s department to local proposals for road maintenance and mosquito suppression.

Millage amounts are determined by the taxable value of property; 1 mill is the equivalent of $1 for each $1,000 of taxable value. There are two countywide millages and one educational millage, while five townships have their own millages on the ballot.

Countywide millages

There are two millages appearing countywide on the primary ballot. The first is a 1-mill, four-year renewal of the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department’s road patrol millage. According to Sheriff Jim Mosciski, the millage is used for vehicle maintenance and to pay wages and benefits for deputies.

The road patrol millage is expected to raise $542,396 in its first year, which is 2013. The millage is needed to keep the road patrol running and keep officers available to answer service calls throughout the county, Mosciski said.

The Iosco-Arenac District Library is also asking for a millage renewal of 0.4912 mills for 10 years in both Iosco and Arenac counties. The millage funds the eight library branches in the two counties, and would raise an estimated $823,900 in its first year, which is 2014.

According to Library Director Stephanie Olson, in 2011 the millage raised $261,216 for Arenac County’s three libraries, which was split between purchasing new materials, staffing requirements, and equipment maintenance and upgrades. Without it, she said, the district library would cease to exist in its current form within a couple years.

Educational millage

The Standish-Sterling school district is seeking the renewal of its 18-mill, non-homestead millage for 10 years. The millage is levied only on property not used as a primary residence, such as a business or on hunting grounds, and would raise approximately $1,830,000 in its first year of collection, 2013.

The millage proposal includes an additional 0.95 mills that would not be levied; it is only there in case the Headlee amendment to the Michigan constitution causes the amount of money raised by the millage to fall below 18 mills. The funds are used for operating costs and are received by the district through its per-pupil foundation allowance.

The millage appears in areas covered by the SSC district, including Standish, Adams Township, part of Arenac Township, part of Clayton Township, part of Deep River Township, Lincoln Township, Moffatt Township, and Standish Township. It will also appear in parts of Pinconning Township, Gibson Township, and Bourett Township.

Arenac Township

The township is seeking a 1-mill, four-year millage to do road maintenance and repair within its borders. The millage would bring in an estimated $23,656 in its first collection year of 2012, and according to Township Clerk Cindy Halamar, would result in enough money to get matching funds through the Arenac County Road Commission to help assist in road repair projects.

Au Gres Township

The township has two millages on the August ballot. The first is a two-year renewal of the township’s mosquito suppression millage, which includes an increase to 1.5 mills. It would raise $63,000 in its first year, 2013, which Township Clerk Michael Oxley said would allow the township to cover the increasing costs of mosquito suppression spraying.

The township is also seeking a 1-mill, four-year millage to improve ditches along roads in the township. The millage would raise about $42,000 in 2012, its first year, which would go toward cleaning out ditches throughout the township to reduce and prevent flooding.

Clayton Township

The Clayton Township board is seeking the renewal of a 1-mill, 4-year road repair and maintenance millage, which would raise about $28,722 in its first year. According to Township Clerk Ronald Klamerus, the millage’s funds are used usually to resurface gravel roads in the township.

Sims Township

There are three millage renewals on the August ballot in Sims Township. The township is seeking the renewal of a 1-mill, four-year gypsy moth suppression millage. It would raise approximately $79,591 in its first year, 2012, if the township collects on it, though Supervisor Rodney Francis said there are currently no plans to do so unless there is a gypsy moth outbreak.

A millage renewal for mosquito suppression efforts, however, would be collected if it passes. The 1-mill, four-year millage would raise about $79,591 in 2012, its first year, which would be used to control the mosquito population of the township through aerial and ground-based spraying.

The township is also interested in renewing its 0.5-mill road maintenance millage for four years. The millage would raise $29,795 in 2012, its first year, which would go primarily toward road resurfacing. Francis said the county road commission adds in matching funds to help the township cover the cost of the road repairs.

Whitney Township

Residents of Whitney Township will get the chance to approve a proposed road maintenance millage on the Aug. 7 ballot. The four-year, 1.5-mill millage would begin collection in 2012, and would bring in about $105,207.

The funds would allow the township to make road repairs throughout its borders, though no specific roads have been designated for work at this time.

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