Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 17, 2013

Not all millage money destined for roads

TRAVERSE CITY — Not all the tax revenue from a proposed Grand Traverse County Road millage will be earmarked for improving and maintaining roads.

Some of the entities listed in November ballot language as recipients of the road commission’s proposed three-year, 1-mil millage request — like local downtown development authorities and brownfield development authorities — are not required to spend the funding they receive on roads.

County Commissioner Larry Inman said the revelation could hurt the millage’s chances at the polls come November.

“It’s just going to confuse the matter, and the more confusion you have the less likely people are to vote for it,” Inman said.

Downtown development and brownfield authorities are entitled to a portion of any millage revenues that are generated as a result of an increase in taxable property values within their district boundaries, Grand Traverse County Administrator Dave Benda said. Such entities don’t need to spend those revenues on the stated purpose of a millage, in this case roads.

The road millage is expected to generate about $4.4 million annually if approved. About $3 million would be destined for the road commission, $750,000 for Traverse City and lesser amounts for the county’s villages.

The other capturing entities will receive about $125,000 annually in all, Grand Traverse County Treasurer Heidi Scheppe said.

Road Commission Manager Jim Cook said this week that road commission officials have discussed trying to reach an agreement with other capturing entities to ensure they still spend any millage revenue on improvements related to roads.

Cook was not available for further comment.

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