By Gari Voss
Tuesday, May 2, 2023 is the Spring Election that is so easy to overlook, while being extremely important to cities, townships and school districts. Residents are required by law to step forward to voice their support for millage renewals and/or increases. Involved polls will be open at 7am and close at 8pm. Complete ballot language can be found at https://www.allegancounty.org/departments/elections then click on Ballot Language – All.
Many school districts rely on voters to cast votes that will recapture the basic tax base of 18 mills to non-resident property millage. In addition, several districts require renewals of operating millage proposals, sinking funds, and bonds to make substantial improvements to the buildings plus rejuvenate buses.
Bloomingdale Public School District No 16
The Board is asking for the reestablishment of their Operating Millage Proposal to restore the full 18 mills on non-principal residence properties because the original 18 mills have been reduced due to the Headlee amendment.
Caledonia Community Schools
Parts of Allegan County will be asked to approve a Bond Proposal for Caledonia Community Schools not to exceed Sixty-One Million Dollars ($61,000,000) for the purpose of:
erecting, furnishing and equipping an elementary school building; erecting and equipping an addition to the high school building; remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring, installing, equipping and re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; erecting storage structures; purchasing school buses; and acquiring, erecting, preparing, developing, improving and equipping playgrounds, playfields, athletic fields, athletic facilities, and sites.
Hamilton Community Schools
Hamilton Community Schools is requesting a Bond Proposal to borrow the sum of not to exceed Forty-One Million One Hundred Eighty Thousand Dollars ($41,180,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds for the purpose of: erecting, furnishing, and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, including security improvements to, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring and installing instructional technology and instructional technology equipment for school buildings; purchasing school buses; and developing and improving playgrounds, driveways, parking areas, and sites. The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds.
Hudsonville Public Schools
This Operating Millage Proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance.
This Sinking Fund Millage Proposal renews the building and site sinking fund millage that expired with the 2022 tax levy and restores the millage. The millage would authorize the board of education to levy not to exceed 1 mill ($1.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 5 years, 2023 to 2027, inclusive, for sinking fund purposes to be used for the purchase of real estate for sites for the construction or repair of, school buildings, for school security improvements, for the acquisition or upgrading of technology and all other purposes authorized by law.
Wayland Union School District
Wayland Union School District Bond Proposal asks voters to approve the borrowing of the sum of not to exceed Forty-Nine Million Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars ($49,700,000) for the purpose of:
erecting, furnishing, and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, including security improvements, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring and installing instructional technology and instructional technology equipment for school buildings; and equipping, developing, and improving athletic fields and facilities, parking areas and sites. The estimated millage that will be levied will not increase the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years of the bonds will not exceed twenty-five (25) years. All schools in the district will receive improvements and/or new construction with these funds for no additional property mills to the schools.
Zeeland Public Schools
This Operating Millage Renewal Proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law.
This Sinking Fund Millage Proposal renews .9802 mill of building and site sinking fund millage previously approved by the electors and restores a portion of that millage lost as a result of the Headlee Amendment to continue to provide for a sinking fund for the purchase of real estate for sites for, and the construction or repair of, school buildings and all other purposes authorized by law.
Not all municipalities have ballot proposals. Complete ballot language can be found at https://www.allegancounty.org/departments/elections then click on Ballot Language – All. Below is a synopsis of the ballots going to the voters.
Holland Community Swimming Pool Authority
This millage would renew the previously authorized 1.0 mill levy, which expires in 2023, for the operation of the Holland Community Aquatic Center. The renewal and increase to the original voted 1 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) that rolled back due to Headlee would be levied for five (5) years, 2024 through 2028, and would provide funds to enable the Authority to own, operate, and maintain a community swimming pool.
City Of Otsego
This Proposal would Repeal and Replace City Dedicated Public Safety Millage. The City of Otsego would repeal its 2016 dedicated public safety millage, and ad valorem tax levy of 2 mills that expires in 2026, and replace the same with an ad valorem tax levy of a total of 4 mills ($4.00 per $1,000.00 on taxable value of property located within the City) beginning with the July 1, 2023 tax year and running through the 2032 tax year for the specified purpose of operating, maintaining, equipping and purchasing related to the City’s police and fire departments and other public safety purposes, authorized by law including medical response services.
Allegan Townships has three proposals.
A renewal proposal to provide a fund for the rebuilding/improving of township roads in the Township of Allegan that will reestablish the amount to 1.000 mills through 2026.
A renewal proposal to provide a fund for the resurfacing of roads in the Township of Allegan that will reestablish the current tax to 1.000 mills through 2026.
A renewal proposal to provide Allegan Township with a fund for fire equipment that will return the millage to 0.2500 mills through 2026.
Otsego Township is requesting an extra voted millage for the fire department first responder services and additional firefighters will add 2.0 mills through 2028 to fund additional firefighters and services.