Commercial Record

Election specters are on tap

By Scott Sullivan
Expect elections Tuesday, Nov. 8 to again show Saugatuck-Douglas is a microcosm, particular to here but still of the world.
Both cities will elect a majority — four of seven — council members to 2-terms. Saugatuck Township will seek a road millage renewal and new parks levy. Saugatuck Public Schools are asking for basic renewal levies.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with absentee options available and many already used.

In the city, now first-term incumbents Scott Dean and Lauren Stanton seek re-election while 40- and 8-year council members Mark Bekken and Ken Trester don’t. Five others join Dean and Stanton.
They are former mayors and long-term council members Catherine Simon and Jane Verplank, plus Helen Baldwin, Mark Miller and Gregory Muncey.
An Oct. 5 Holland League of Women Voters candidate forum of all seven hopefuls may be viewed online at

Across the river, incumbents Neal Seabert and Phil Topper seek to return to council, Aaron Miller and Mike Van Loon don’t, John O’Malley, former council member Dan Urquhart and Randy Walker also seek seats.
Their Oct. 13 candidate forum too may be viewed online at

Saugatuck Township
On the docket are requests to:
• Renew a parks and infrastructure levy, restoring to .9665 mills ($.9665 per $1,000 assessed property value) lowered by Headlee Amendment rollbacks to .8998 mills, for five years.
Funds would pave, repair, build or rebuild roads, sidewalks, bridges, drainage structures or non-motorized trails, plus make pedestrian safety improvements.
The levy would raise an estimated $377,615.00 in 2023, its first year.
• A 10-year, .5-mill (50 cents per $1,000 taxable value) millage to operate and maintain parks, create public trails (Blue Star nonmotorized trail not included), improve and conserve park property and natural areas.
It would raise an estimated $195,352 in its first year. More information is available on the township website.

Saugatuck Public Schools
The district seeks:
• The statutory rate not to exceed 18 mills on nonhomestead you’re your principal residence) property needed for schools to receive full state revenue per-pupil foundation money, renewed five years.
Four hold-harmless mills, per Michigan’s 1994-passed Proposal A, are added to guard against losing funds due to a future Headlee rollbacks. Although only 18 mills can be levied at any time, by approving more, per complex Michigan formulations, the district would likely be able to keep levying those 18 for the foreseeable future in order to get full state funding.
The resulting 22 non-homestead mills would generate an estimated $7,277,966 in 2023, 65 percent of the district’s operating budget, superintendent Tim Travis said.
If this proposal fails the state would not replace its funding, limiting the schools’ ability to operate. The district would need to cut the same amount from its operating budget.
• A 5-year, .25 mill levy for keep funding SPS-operated Community Recreation programs. It would raise approximately $202,596 in 2023-24, 100 percent of its funding.
• To renew the .5-mill sinking fun levy which expired this year, for three years. It would be used to repair buildings, improve school security, upgrade technology and possibly purchase property.
If passed, it would raise approximately $405,193. More information is available on the schools’ website/

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