Today’s elections are not of the high-profile variety voters have been faced with recently. No presidential contest, no laundry list of state ballot issues, nobody running for governor.
But decisions made today and again in November will hit closer to home than who is in the White House — local property taxes.
Today, Grand Traverse County voters are being asked to decide a request from Northwestern Michigan College for a 15-year, 0.4-mill tax increase that would raise about $1.7 million annually for the college and cost the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 about $40 a year.
In November, county residents will be asked to approve a 1-mill request from the Grand Traverse County Road Commission to fund road repairs. That issue would cost that same homeowner about $100 a year.
Also in November, Traverse City Area Public Schools voters will decide two issues.
One will be a $35-million, 0.20-mill proposal for, among other projects, reconstruction at Interlochen, Eastern and Glenn Loomis elementary schools, bus and technology replacements, and security upgrades at Central High School and West Middle School. The second is a $13-million, 0.09mill proposal for auditorium reconstruction at Central High School. Together they would cost that same homeowner about $29 annually.
If voters approve all four proposals, it will cost that mythical taxpayer an additional $169 per year.
Voting is always important; voting on local issues is even more crucial. While every vote counts in every election, ballots cast in local elections - where fewer votes are cast overall and, too often, where turnout is often abysmally low — can really make a difference.
The NMC millage isn’t the only issue on some ballots. Voters in Green Lake Township will decide a 1.5-mill renewal, plus a .43-mill increase for emergency fire and ambulance services. The 1.93 mills would generate about $484,000 per year for five years if approved.
Also today, residents of Union and Fife Lake townships who live within the Forest Area Community Schools district will separately consider a five-year renewal of the district’s 1-mill millage for a capital improvements sinking fund.
If you want to be heard, vote. The college, Traverse City schools, the road commission, Green Lake Township and Forest Area schools all say they need more money to do their jobs right or prepare for the future; the decision is up to you, so do your job and vote.
As usual, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.