MCC renewal and restoration millage passes

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published May 10, 2018

MACOMB COUNTY — On May 8, Macomb County voters approved an operating millage proposal for Macomb Community College, which will renew the college’s millage for 20 years and restore it to the rate previously approved by voters.

According to the unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office, 34,739 voters, or 52.6 percent, cast their ballots in favor of the proposal, against 31,307 no votes.

According to college officials, the millage provides 26 percent of the college’s $135 million operational budget and is vital to ensuring that the college has the faculty, staff and resources necessary to provide the education and training that connects residents to workplace opportunities.

The proposal was not a new millage, but the renewal of an existing one. The approved millage will update and replace the current operating millage and will run from 2018 through 2038.

“Approval of the renewal and restoration proposal is a vote of confidence by residents in the work that the college does and the significant impact it has on our county and region,” MCC Board of Trustees Chair Jennifer Haase said in a prepared statement. “I want to thank the community for their support and assure them that Macomb Community College will continue to provide the programs and resources that position our residents and county for success.”

The millage will provide estimated operating revenues to the college of $38 million during the 2018 calendar year, according to the ballot language provided by the Macomb County Clerk’s Office.

Since the 2000 election, the college has been subject to seven Headlee Amendment rollbacks, reducing that millage rate to its current 1.4072 mills. According to college officials, the reduction equates to approximately $1.5 million annually.  Because of that lost revenue, MCC President James O. Sawyer IV said school officials had to budget accordingly.

MCC educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities. The school provides learning experiences to nearly 40,000 students annually.  

“We are, of course, pleased with the outcome of the election. We see it as an affirmation of the work we do in the community. We feel very good about that,” Sawyer said. “We’re pleased by the support of the residents, and we’ll continue to serve the residents.

“This really wasn’t any significant increase. This was a renewal of our existing millage,” Sawyer said. Our residents’ willingness to continue to invest in the college to ensure local access to training in high-demand fields as well as an affordable start to a bachelor’s degree underscores the true nature of partnership between the community and the college, and our shared dedication to bolstering economic vitality.”

Sawyer added that instead of waiting until 2020, MCC officials decided to bring the proposal to the voters two years earlier as a way of planning ahead.

At the Jan. 17 MCC Board of Trustees meeting, the board voted 6-0 to place a renewal millage on the ballot. All the trustees in attendance voted yes: Kristi Dean, Joseph DeSantis, Roseanne DiMaria, Jennifer Haase, Katherine Lorenzo and Vincent Viviano. Trustee Frank Cusumano was absent.