2018-04-05 / Views

Higher millages sought or discussed in 6 jurisdictions

It looks like a trying year for taxpayers.

Trying in that we’ve already counted six local governments that have discussed or will be trying to levy higher rates for property taxes.

We’ve yet to weigh in on any of the requests, although the first of the elections is coming May 8. That’s when the Leland Public School district will be seeking 1.05 mills for an extensive renovation and expansion project of its facilities. A new property tax for the township library and a bond for fire station construction were approved over the last two years by township voters.

Higher millage rate requests are expected later this year for fire services in Solon, Elmwood and Centerville townships.

And Leelanau Township will be seeking a new property tax to pay for bonds sold to build the municipal sewer system with Northport Village. Residents whose homes are far away from the nearest sewer line will be asked to help pay for its construction more than a decade ago.

At this time the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners has nixed a request from the county Senior Services Department for a higher millage, but we doubt that the issue will go away.

Some blame the need for higher property tax rate on the state Headlee Amendment. Headlee forces local governments to reduce millage rates slightly if the income they produce would increase by more than the rate of inflation. However, funds generated from new construction is exempt — and there’s been a lot of building in the county over the past three years.

No, the millage increases are being sought to improve and expand services provided to the public. That’s how they’ll be judged by citizens in voting booths.

We’ll do our best to explain how much funding is being sought, and what it would pay for.

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