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Schools fare well in Michigan vote

Bedford-Township-resident-Carl-Mock

Bedford Township resident Carl Mock votes on two school funding issues Tuesday, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Temperance, Michigan.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Voters in the Bedford Public Schools district overwhelmingly approved the five-year renewal of a property tax levied on businesses and second homes.

The 18-mill nonhomestead levy, which is assessed against commercial, industrial, and rental properties, but not on primary residences in the district, won handily, 2,100-631, on Tuesday.

Income from the levy will generate about $3.3 million annually for the schools' operating costs.

"I am very happy. I will sleep well tonight," Superintendent Ted Magrum said. "This will allow us to maintain our funding for the next five years. This isn't additional funding. If we didn't pass this we wouldn't get as much aid from the state. This was a very important election."

Also on the ballot was a 1-mill Headlee rollback and override request. It passed, 1,853-845, enabling the school district to collect the tax's full authorized 18 mills.

Bedford was among a handful of school districts in Monroe and Lenawee counties to seek levy requests and renewals in Tuesday's special elections.

A four-year renewal of a sinking fund levy to finance repairs at Whiteford Agricultural Schools near Ottawa Lake passed 218-192.

The 1-mill property tax, which will generate about $200,000 in the first year, will be used for capital improvements, including remodeling and repairing school buildings and athletic facilities and paying for technology, infrastructure, and playgrounds. The owner of a house with a tax valuation of $50,000 pays $50 a year on the levy.

In nonschool funding issues, voters in Dundee Township overwhelmingly approved a new 1-mill property tax to pay for construction of a new fire station as well as equipment for the department's future needs. The 10-year issue, which will generate about $325,000 in the first year, passed 546-375.

The township had allowed a 0.75-mill property tax that could be used only on equipment and maintenance to expire last year and elected to seek the new millage that includes capital improvement language for a new building.

Supervisor Joanna Uhl said the township board will review preliminary work on the project at their meeting next week. Land has already been purchased for the new fire hall.

"Even though I know that this is a difficult time to for additional millage this is a project we have really needed for a long time," she said. "The project will not get cheaper in the future and it is good to take care of this now as opposed to later."

In Lenawee County, requests for renewals of 18-mill nonhomestead property levies were approved in Britton-Deerfield, Clinton, Madison, and Onsted school districts.

Voters in the Sand Creek Schools district approved a seven-year, 1.5-mill bond issue for campus improvements. The $970,000 project will pay for new buses and technology upgrades in classrooms at two school buildings.

Elsewhere in the county, an industrial wind-turbine zoning ordinance that the Palmyra Township board approved in October was repealed 259-217.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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