KALKASKA — Voters in Kalkaska County this week approved the requested operational millage renewal for the beleaguered Kaliseum recreational facility.
Elections officials reported voters cast 4,949 yes votes and 4,072 no votes in the final tally.
Voters previously approved the Kaliseum operational millage in 2008, 2012 and 2016, but rejected a renewal request in August for the tax set to expire this year. That’s why county leaders decided to ask voters to reconsider this month.
The tax levy renewal request sought 0.25 mills for four years from 2021 through 2024. The tax will collect $210,517.50 in the first year, now that it has been approved by voters.
John Starr, Kaliseum director, said the current operating millage renewal request is key for the facility’s future and expressed confidence his fellow voters would agree around midday Tuesday when he cast his own ballot at Kalkaska Township Hall.
“I think it’s going to go well. We have a lot more people energized this time,” he said before finding a voting booth to make his choices.
The ice rink and swimming pool facility has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Mechanical problems regarding the lack of proper separation between the air and ventilation systems between the cold and warm areas of the building led to structural damage, including a rusted pool room ceiling, consultants reported last year.
Many of the problems are attributable to past years of minimal maintenance funding and failure to repair or replace equipment, consultants previously reported.
The facility’s pool area has remained closed for two years after a rusty nut and bolt fell from the ceiling, as previously reported by the Record-Eagle.
Voters initially approved the construction of the Kaliseum in 1996, but did not support an operational millage. Officials used the county’s general fund budget to help the facility pay its bills every year since it opened, but little was spent on maintenance.