Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 8, 2012

Voters OK taxes; recall fails

TRAVERSE CITY — Voters approved new taxes or renewed existing levies in a handful of elections while an effort to recall a Kalkaska County Commissioner fell short by 30 votes.

The closest vote occurred in Glen Lake Community Schools, where an official ballot count by the county clerk will take place today. More than 600 ballots were cast, and it appeared the $1.91 million bond proposal for technology and new school buses passed by about 20 votes.

"That's assuming no one transposed the numbers," said school Superintendent Joan Groening.

Leelanau County Clerk Michelle Crocker polled the township clerks for their vote counts and reported the estimate to Groening, but stressed they were unofficial, Groening said.

"This was a big turnout ... and we greatly appreciate the community's support," Groening said.

About $500,000 will go toward purchasing five new buses over the seven-year life of the bond. The estimated average millage rate to retire the bond is 0.38 mill.

The Glen Lake district covers 164 square miles and parents rely on the school to provide safe, reliable transportation, Groening said. The board determined its other greatest need was technology.

"We want to provide students with a skill set to succeed," Groening said. "So much of it depends on technology."

Voters in two other school districts easily passed extra voted millage requests for technology, transportation and building improvements.

Elk Rapids Public Schools' request to continue a 1.7 mill levy for four more years to raise $4.21 million passed by a 2 to 1 margin. The funds will be used to purchase four buses and improve technology, classrooms and energy efficiency.

Central Lake Public Schools' millage request of .045 mill for building improvements also passed easily.

The attempt to recall the county board chairman for Kalkaska County failed when voters in Rapid River and Coldsprings Township voted to keep Stuart McKinnon on the job.

McKinnon and three other commissioners were targeted in recalls by former county Prosecutor Brian Donnelly over mostly budget and spending issues. But Donnelly, who was also the target of recall by county board members, died in January.

Two of the commissioners, Michael Cox and Antonio Martini, resigned from office. The recall attempt of commissioner David Ritter never made it to the ballot.

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