TEMPERANCE -- Voters in the Bedford Public Schools district -- as well as residents in several other Michigan school districts and communities -- will go to the polls today for a special election.
In Bedford, voters will be asked to decide two issues. One is to renew a property tax that applies only to industrial, commercial, and rental properties and second homes. The other issue is a request for the adoption of a 1-mill Headlee rollback and override that would allow the district to collect the tax's full, authorized 18 mills. The Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution requires a local taxing body to reduce its millage when the percentage increase in a property's annual valuation exceeds the rate of inflation. The millage is rolled back so the growth in a community's property tax revenue does not exceed the inflation rate.
School officials said the $3.3 million in operating funds generated by the millage is vital to the strapped district, and stress that the tax, called a nonhomestead property tax operating millage, does not apply to primary residences. Also exempt are qualified agricultural and forest properties.
The state would not make up the lost revenue if the levy renewal was defeated, Superintendent Ted Magrum said. The levy expires at the end of 2012, but it would extend for another five years if renewed.
In other areas, residents in the school districts of Britton-Deerfield, Onsted Community, Clinton Community, Madison, Whiteford Agricultural, and Sand Creek Community will decide on tax requests.
Elections also will be held in Dundee Township, where voters will decide a 1-mill tax request for the fire department. In Palmyra Township, residents will vote on an ordinance regarding wind turbines.
Polls are open in Michigan from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.