Traverse City Record-Eagle


August 6, 2013

Election: NMC property tax vote today

TRAVERSE CITY — Folks on the street don’t seem to be paying much attention to today’s vote on a proposed tax increase for the local community college.

“I’m not voting. I don’t know anything about it. I didn’t do my homework,” said Michelle Anderson, a server at Seven Monks Tap Room. She added she moved here in February and isn’t up on local issues yet.

Marge Slack, a retiree, said she hasn’t paid much attention to the election. She said it’s something she’d support after being told the requested millage would boost revenues for Northwestern Michigan College’s operations.

“But I’m not voting,” Slack said.

Anderson and Slack were among a dozen Grand Traverse County residents interviewed Monday who said they weren’t intending to vote.

NMC is asking for a .4042 mill property tax increase over 15 years to help pay for college operations, such as instructor salaries, administration, supplies and maintenance. The millage will raise $1.7 million in the first year it’s levied if approved by voters.

Today’s special election will cost the college an estimated $68,000, but the early date puts the request in alone and in front of November millage requests by Traverse City Area Public Schools and the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.

Elections held in August typically have lower turnouts than the November general election. Grand Traverse County Clerk Bonnie Scheele encouraged people to vote.

“Otherwise you have 15 percent of voters deciding the outcome for everyone,” she said.

The proposed .4 increase would restore the college’s operating millage to the 2.5742 level that voters approved back in 1995. The Headlee amendment has 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.

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