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Monday, September 22, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 5/5/2013

MI: Modest list of tax issues on special election ballots

7-mill bond levy request for the Morenci Area Schools and two levy proposals for the Tecumseh District Library headline

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A 7-mill bond levy request for the Morenci Area Schools and two levy proposals for the Tecumseh District Library headline a modest list of tax issues on special election ballots scattered throughout southeast Michigan on Tuesday.

The Morenci school district seeks authority to borrow up to $2.96 million for capital improvements, which Superintendent Michael Osborne said includes new computer equipment to enable the district to comply with Michigan’s plans to conduct its statewide standardized testing online starting in the spring of 2015.

The 7-mill tax needed to service that debt will not be new for district residents, Mr. Osborne said, because it will succeed an existing 7-mill bond levy that expires this year.

Besides new computers, the superintendent said, the bond proceeds would pay for capital improvements at school buildings, including roof replacements at the high school and elementary school, parking-lot reconstruction, and plumbing and drainage upgrades.

In Tecumseh, the library is asking for a 10-year, 1.15-mill tax that would renew a previously authorized 1.1472 mills plus 0.0028 to restore millage lost under Michigan’s Headlee Amendment, plus an additional 0.2 mill for 10 years.

The additional tax would only be enacted if voters approve the renewal tax as well. The existing tax, including the Headlee Amendment, generates about $641,410 in annual revenue, while the additional tax would produce $111,550 more.

The Headlee Amendment is a provision in the Michigan Constitution that restricts property tax growth to no more than the rate of inflation, so the rate of a tax must be reduced if a community’s total real-estate value grows faster than inflation unless voters approve an override.

This amendment is also the reason behind numerous school-tax renewal issues scattered across Monroe and Lenawee counties and in the Camden-Frontier district in western Hillsdale County.

Such issues are on the ballots in the Airport, Monroe, Ida, Mason, Milan, and Summerfield districts in Monroe County; the Onsted, Clinton, Madison, and Morenci districts in Lenawee; and the Whiteford district, which straddles those counties.

Monroe also has a 1-mill, five-year sinking-fund levy renewal on its ballot for building and site improvements. That tax produces annual revenue of $1,717,204 to the district.

Madison also has an 0.2874 mill, three-year sinking-fund levy on its ballot. That tax is expected to yield $51,000 in annual revenue.

The only other tax on a ballot in any of the three southeastern-most counties is a 1-mill road and dust-control levy in Monroe County’s Ash Township. If approved, the tax will yield an estimated $315,000 in annual revenue for road and bridge maintenance, including dust control on dirt roads.

One mill equals $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value. In Michigan, real estate is generally assessed at 50 percent of market value, so the 7-mill bond levy in Morenci costs the owner of a typical $100,000 home $350 in annual tax.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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