County faces three millage proposals, by Carrie Usher

On August 8, Marquette County voters will be asked to decide the fate of three millage proposals that are up for renewal. The proposals were approved in 2000 and voters will decide if those services will continue for residents.

County Proposal A
The first proposal, County Proposal A for Continuing Services for the Aging states concerns services for senior citizens in Marquette County.
County Administrator Steve Powers said voting “yes” means the continuation of the current mill with a restoration of .0166. This would be an increase of two cents of the current tax value. A “yes” vote would continue to fund services to seniors throughout Marquette County with programs such as Meals on Wheels and Adult Day Services and senior centers in Forsyth Township, Ishpeming, Marquette and Negaunee.
Voting “no” means the entire millage would disappear. This would have a dramatic impact on services provided to senior citizens in Marquette County.
The ballot language states: “This proposal will allow Marquette County to continue to provide services to the aging by restoring the .4474 mills approved by voters in 2000. For replacing the Marquette County Commission on Aging millage with a services to senior citizens millage, shall the County of Marquette be authorized to levy up to .4474 mills for a period of six years, from 2006-2011, both years inclusive, on all taxable property within Marquette County? The millage will be a renewal of 0.4308 of a mill (43.08 cents per $1,000.00 of taxable value of real and personal property) and an increase of .0166 (1.66 cents per $1,000.00 of real and personal property). The millage will raise approximately $711,154 in the first year.”
An explanation of the millage is as follows: “The Continuing Services to the Aging millage proposal is .4474 of a mil or 44.74 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. For a $100,000 home ($50,000 taxable value), this amounts to $22.37 per year.”

County Proposal B
The second item, County Proposal B, concerns funding for Marquette County Search and Rescue and Technical Rescue Unit Programs.
Powers said a “yes” vote means funding will continue for Search and Rescue services. It would be restoration of the millage that was passed six years ago. There would be an increase of .04, which will be used to fund the Technical Rescue Unit, currently funded out of the county’s general fund. Technical Rescue Units respond to accidents and rescues such as trenches, cliffs and high angles.
Voting “no” means the entire millage would be eliminated. Search and Rescue would have to find funding elsewhere, while Technical Rescue could continue to use money from the general fund.
The proposal states: “This proposal will allow Marquette County to continue to provide Search and Rescue and Technical Rescue Services by restoring the .1125 mills approved by voters in 2000 and adding .04 mills for the Technical Rescue Unit 131.
“For the continued operation of Marquette County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Technical Rescue Unit 131 programs, shall the County of Marquette be authorized to levy up to .1525 mills for a period of six years, from 2006-2011, both years inclusive, on all taxable property within Marquette County? The millage will be a renewal of 0.1082 of a mill (10.82 cents per $1,000.00 of state taxable value on real and taxable personal property), and 0.0400 of a mill (4.00 cents per $1,000.00 of state taxable value on real and taxable personal property) to operate the Technical Rescue Unit 131, and 0.0043 of mill (0.43 cent per $1,000 of state taxable value on real and taxable personal property) for a total millage of 0.1525 (15.25 cents per $1,000.00 of state taxable value on real and taxable personal property). This millage will raise approximately $242,403 in the first year.”
An explanation of the millage is as follows: “The Search and Rescue millage proposal is .1125 of a mil or 11.25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. For a $100,000 home ($50,000 taxable value), this amounts to $5.62 per year.”
“The millage requested for Rescue Unit 131 alone is .04 of a mil or .04 cents per $1,000 taxable value. For a $100,000 home ($50,000 taxable value), this amounts to $2.00 per year.
The amount for both services would equal $7.62 per year for six years.”

County Proposal C
The last proposal, County Proposal C, is for Central Dispatch and an enhanced 911 Emergency Telephone System.
Powers said voting “yes” would restore the .497 mills approved six years ago. This money helps fund staff, equipment and general operations at the 911 call center, which alerts police, fire, ambulance and emergency response units throughout Marquette County.
A “no” vote means the center would have to find other ways to fund the services. The services would stay, but be greatly impacted.
The wording states: “This proposal will allow Marquette County to continue to operate the 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch Telephone System by restoring the .4970 mills approved by voters in 2000. For the continued operation of the Marquette County Central Dispatch System, including the Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System, shall the County of Marquette be authorized to levy up to .4970 mills for a period of six years, 2006 to 2011, both years inclusive, on all taxable property within Marquette County? The millage will be a renewal of .4787 of a mill (47.87 cents on each $1,000.00 of taxable valuation) and an increase of .0183 of a mill (1.83 cents on each $1,000.00 of taxable valuation). This millage will raise approximately $760,906 in the first year.
An explanation of the millage is as follows: “The Central Dispatch/Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System millage proposal is .4970 of a mil or 49.70 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. For a $100,000 home ($50,000 taxable value), this amounts to $24.85 per year. It is a renewal in the sense that the proposal renews the millage rate of .4970 that has been previously approved by voters in 1988, 1994 and 2000; It is a restoration in the sense that due to the Headlee provisions of the tax laws, the millage rate has dropped to .4787.”
Powers said the county wants to restore the three proposals but doesn’t want to scare the voter into voting a certain way.
“If the voters say no, 911 would still stay, but funding would be affected,” he said. “The county would look for additional ways to fund the programs if necessary.”
—Carrie Usher

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