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Published: Wednesday, 2/24/2010

Blissfield snubs $12M bond issue to rehab school

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Voters in the Blissfield Community School District Tuesday rejected a $12 million bond issue that would have funded energy efficiency and security improvements to the system's three school buildings.

The vote in the special election was 1,523-988.

Voter approval would have allowed the district to levy up to 2.49 mills for 15 years to leverage federal stimulus money.

The Lenawee County school district was among 32 in the state that qualified for the school-construction bond program through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

In Monroe County, voters in Whiteford Township rejected a 1-mill, five-year tax levy to finance the construction of the first-ever township hall building.

The millage proposal was rejected 506-136.

Blissfield school officials have said that the bond issue would have cost an additional $138 in annual taxes for residents with homes valued at $110,000.

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed valuation. In Michigan, homeowners are taxed on half the assessed value of their homes.

Among the improvements planned were replacement of windows and doors in all three buildings and installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems to lessen the demand for gas and electricity, freeing up money for classrooms.

Plans also called for enhancing the 50-year-old high school with a 168-seat space in the cafetorium that would have been expandable with foldable bleachers to accommodate larger audiences.

A new main entrance was also planned at the school to direct visitors into the administration office, increasing security.

In addition, new driveways were planned for the front of the high school and elementary school to separate bus traffic from parents transporting students.

Whiteford Township Supervisor Bernice Heidelberg said she believes the struggling economy pushed the tax issue to defeat.

“People were not ready to pay more taxes. That is understandable. I also think people didn't understand what we were asking for.” Mrs. Heidelberg said.

Whiteford Township officials said they have desired a government center to store township records and replace the offices that Mrs. Heidelberg and other township officials maintain at their residences and provide a location for board and commission meetings.

The tax would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home with a taxable valuation about $50 a year. The building was estimated to cost about $740,000.



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