Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 25, 2013

NMC millage vote coming right up

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County residents soon will decide whether to pay an additional .4 mills for 15 years to support Northwestern Michigan College.

Friends of Northwestern Michigan College, a group of about 15 volunteers, has been spreading the word about the Aug. 6 election, but only a few people interviewed recently knew details of the millage that’s intended to generate $1.7 million in additional taxes to support college operations.

“I’d look before I voted, but the college helps a lot of people — kids, adults— to further their education,” said Amy Cyr, whose West Senior High School child took two NMC classes. “As far as how I’d vote, I don’t know what they’re asking, but I’d support the college in doing something that’s beneficial to the community.”

Carol Bennett, a bank worker, said hard times might make it hard for some to approve the request.

“However, I do feel NMC is important to the community, so I’ll probably vote ‘yes,’” she said.

Bob Reamer, 75, said he’s voting “no.”

“I’m retired and on a fixed income. It’s a problem with the extra money,” he said. “Taxes are already pretty high, and I know with our assessment, our property taxes are going to go up.”

The .4-mill increase would restore the college’s operating millage to the 2.5742 level approved back in 1995. The Headlee amendment reduced the rate to 2.1700 mills since then. The Headlee amendment and Proposal A work together to ensure property tax revenues — based on taxable values — don’t exceed the rate of inflation. If they do, the Headlee rolls back the millage to adjust dollars.

The proposed increase would add $1.7 million to NMC’s coffers the first year. That’s on top of an anticipated $1.8 million increase in tuition and fees due to a higher tuition rate, fees, and enrollment.

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