WARREN — The voting majority in two local districts supported its schools by passing millages Nov. 5, according to unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office.
Fitzgerald Public Schools’ two proposals — an operating millage restoration and a building and site sinking fund millage renewal — both passed.
The operating millage restoration received 1,140 “yes” votes and 784 “no” votes. Funds raised will be used for general operating expenses.
The building and site sinking fund millage renewal received 1,183 “yes” votes and 736 “no” votes. Revenue from Fitzgerald’s building and site sinking fund millage is used to repair school buildings, improve school security and upgrade instructional technology.
Both district proposals are renewals. The operating millage restoration does not apply to the average homeowner. The tax is levied on businesses and second homes in the district.
“We are very fortunate to have a community that is supportive and understood the importance of the two renewals that were on the ballot yesterday,” Fitzgerald Superintendent Laurie Fournier stated in an email. “With both renewals being supported by the community, this means that we can continue to provide our students with the necessary supplies, programs and opportunities we have offered them for years.
“To have two successful elections in one year is a wonderful accomplishment and a true testament of the support we have from the community for our students and staff,” Fournier said. “Thank you for believing in us and our future.”
Fitzgerald’s operating millage restoration will allow the district to continue to levy the number of operating mills required for the school district to receive revenues at the full per-pupil foundation allowance permitted by the state. It’s for a period of 10 years, from 2020 to 2029.
Now that it has been approved, the operating millage restoration will renew 19.5 mills, with 18 mills ($18 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) being the maximum allowable levy. The proposal will provide estimated revenues to the school district of $4.198 million during the 2020-21 fiscal year, to be used for general operating purposes.
Fitzgerald’s building and site sinking fund millage renewal will be used to repair school buildings, improve school security and upgrade instructional technology. The millage will provide estimated revenues to Fitzgerald of approximately $540,000 during the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Van Dyke Public Schools
On Nov. 5, Van Dyke Public Schools’ replacement operating millage proposal passed with 1,050 “yes” votes to 777 “no” votes. The Van Dyke Public Schools, or VDPS, replacement operating millage proposal will provide estimated revenues to the school district of $4,703,191 during the 2019 calendar year to be used for general operating purposes.
The Van Dyke replacement operating millage proposal replaces, restores and extends the authority of the school district to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non-homestead property, which currently expires with the school district’s 2022 tax levy.
Non-homestead property is principally industrial and commercial real property and residential rental property. According to school officials, there are no additional costs to homeowners or renters under the proposal.
The replacement operating millage was first approved in the fall of 2013. Since that time, there has been a Headlee Amendment rollback, which decreased the 18 mills to 17.7346 mills; therefore, the district was not receiving the full amount of the operating millage.
Now that the Van Dyke millage has been approved, it will allow the district to continue to receive revenues at the full per-pupil foundation allowance permitted by the state.
“We appreciate the steadfast support of the community,” VDPS Superintendent Piper Bognar said. “This will allow us to recover $74,000 to $75,000 for the 2019 fiscal year.”
Moving forward, the replacement operating millage will allow the district to receive its 18 mills despite the Headlee rollback. According to the Michigan Municipal League, Headlee requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation.
“That’s why we were losing money,” Bognar said. “As property values go up, we would lose more and more money in the Headlee rollback.”