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Non-homestead millage up for renewal in Lakeview

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 31, 2020

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Lakeview voters will be asked to renew a non-homestead millage that provides nearly $2.5 million to the district for operations in March.

Voters in Lakeview Public Schools are being asked to consider a renewal of the non-homestead millage, also known as a Headlee override, during the March 10 election. This would allow Lakeview to levy 18 mills on non-homestead properties, like businesses, second homes and rentals.

The Lakeview Board of Education decided to submit ballot language for a four-year renewal of 18.3055 mills on non-homestead property for the period of 2021-2024, and an increase of 0.5 mill for the same period. The millage would be a renewal of a millage that expires in 2020.

Superintendent Karl Paulson said that the board discussed multiple options for the millage in December, including a five-year or 10-year millage, or additional mills, but because voters just approved a bond issue in November, it was decided that the district would just go for a yes or no renewal of the current millage, with only a 0.5-mill addition to offset the Headlee rollback.

Voters in Lakeview approved 19.5 mills on non-homestead property in 2001, 19.302 mills in 2005 and 19.0742 mills in 2010, which is the 10-year millage that is expiring. The additional mills being requested, 0.8055, are to protect the district against a Headlee rollback. Lakeview cannot legally levy more than 18 mills on taxpayers.

Because of the Headlee Amendment, however, the rollback is reduced from the total amount authorized each year, so if the value of non-homestead property increases, it can cause a 0.2 mill drop in Lakeview’s authorized levy, bringing the new value down to 18.6055. Nevertheless, Lakeview can only levy 18 mills each year, which is expected to bring in $2.45 million in 2021.

Paulson explained that the state foundation allowance assumes that districts collect 18 mills on non-homestead property, reducing the amount issued to the district by about $2.5 million, or 5% of the total revenue. The money is used for daily operations of the schools, for items such as salary and benefits, textbooks, pencils, snow removal and more.

“If the ballot question fails, we would lose $2.5 million from the summer 2021 tax collection,” Paulson stated in an email. “We would make another attempt with voters in August 2020, but that would require we ask for an increase,” which is the legal language that would be required if the tax levy is not renewed prior to its expiration after the summer 2020 tax collection.

Paulson said that in speaking with voters, most are supportive because it is a tax levy that has been in place since Proposal A passed in 1994, and because it is not levied on residents’ homes, just on business, commercial, agricultural and rental properties.

“I have visited with several of our school-related groups and many non-school individuals over the past three weeks with good success,” Paulson said.

Lakeview is just one of the three proposals that will appear on the March 10 primary election ballot. Although voters will have to select which party they are voting for — Republican or Democrat — they can also select a nonpartisan ballot that will only include the proposals.

The Macomb County Art Institute Authority is seeking a renewal of the Macomb County Art Institute Authority millage of 0.2 mill to provide county residents with services from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Revenue from the 10-year millage will be transferred to the DIA as permitted. It is expected that the millage would generate about $5.2 million in 2022, the first year that the renewal would be in effect.

The Macomb Intermediate School District will also have a Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal before voters to increase the limitation on the amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed on taxable property throughout the MISD by 1.9 mills for a period of 10 years from 2020 to 2029, which is estimated to raise about $55 million if approved and first levied in 2020 for all of the public school districts in the MISD.

City Councilman John Caron explained that even those voters who do not wish to vote in the presidential primary election should make sure to vote March 10 or by absentee ballot ahead of time.

“Please participate and make your voices heard,” he said.

The last day to register to vote via mail is Feb. 24. After that day, voters may register in person at the City Clerk’s Office. Registration forms are available at mi.gov/vote, and registration can be updated at expressSOS.com.

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