By Jason Wesseldyk
Otsego Public Schools superintendent Jeff Haase was able to breathe a sigh of relief when the official results of the Tuesday, Aug. 8, primary election were announced.
By a margin of 88 votes, the 18-mill operating millage requested by the district was approved by voters.
“On behalf of the Otsego Board of Education, I would like to thank the voters of Otsego Public Schools for approving this operational millage,” Haase said. “We truly appreciate the support of our community.”
The millage, which is required by state law to be placed on the ballot every 10 years, accounts for $2.2 million—which equates to approximately 7.6 percent—of OPS’s annual budget.
As a non-homestead millage, property taxes for primary residences are not impacted.
Rather, the levy is applied to commercial properties, rental properties, second homes and some agricultural properties.
A total of 2,152 ballots were cast for the millage. Of those, 1,120 were “yes” votes, compared to 1,032 “no” votes.
Had the millage failed, the district would have had one more opportunity to bring it before voters. If the measure failed a second time, significant cuts would have had to be made to the budget.
“If the voters decided not to approve it, then the Board of Education would have to make some decisions on staffing and programs to reduce or eliminate in order to absorb the $2.2 million shortfall,” Haase said.
Haase is grateful the Board of Education doesn’t have to make those decisions.
“As I mentioned, we are very appreciative and thankful our community supported this millage for the next 10 years,” he said.