OCC operating millage renewal passes overwhelmingly

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published November 6, 2019

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OAKLAND COUNTY — On Nov. 5, voters in the Oakland Community College district — which includes almost all of Oakland County and parts of Lapeer, Livingston and Washtenaw counties — overwhelmingly passed the college’s operating millage renewal.

According to unofficial election results released by the Oakland County Elections Division Nov. 5, the proposal to renew OCC’s operating millage passed in Oakland County by a margin of 72.37% — 133,134 votes — to 27.63% — 50,825 votes. In Livingston County, 592 voters supported the millage and 401 voted against it. In Washtenaw County, 287 voters supported the millage and 337 voted against it. And in Lapeer County, 47 people voted for the millage and 55 voted against it.

“We are grateful to the voters for maintaining their support of OCC,” Chancellor Peter Provenzano said in a prepared statement. “With this renewal, we will continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities that empower our economy and benefit the entire community.”

The property tax commitment will be 0.7545 mill for 10 years, from 2022 to 2031, to support the college’s operations. The millage will generate approximately $45 million annually, starting in 2022.

For a home with a taxable value of $100,000, the cost for the millage renewal will equate to less than $76 per year. As it is a renewal, the tax rate will remain the same.

The funds will be used to create and enhance instructional programs, as well as to maintain and improve the college’s physical buildings, and to finance scholarships, academic programs and technology advances.

OCC projects that the 0.7545 mill will generate approximately 27% of its operating revenue. In fiscal year 2018-19, the college received 53% of its operating revenue from property taxes, 19% from tuition and fees, and 15% from state appropriations.

According to OCC, the college opted to maintain the property tax because “low tuition makes college education and career training accessible to residents who otherwise could not afford higher education.” The college’s nearly 100 programs include training for 911 dispatchers, police officers, firefighters, EMS technicians, nurses and health professionals, as well as positions in auto repair, cybersecurity, information technology, robotics and welding.

The college is also the top transfer institution in Michigan, with nearly 50% of students continuing their education after OCC, according to OCC.

Provenzano said in a prior interview that the college has five campuses strategically located across Oakland County, and that the expansion of the Royal Oak campus to house the college’s fine arts and culinary arts programs is going well.

“I voted yes on (the millage proposal) because community college is important, especially with how much state college is, and to give people an option that’s cheaper,” Royal Oak resident Michael Schwartz said. “And it’s just renewing it.”

To view more election results from Oakland County, visit www.oakgov.com.