SUTTONS BAY — Leelanau voters will see plenty of tax renewals, increases and new requests on the ballot when they head to the polls — or vote by mail — on Aug. 4.
In Leelanau Township voters will see two requests on the primary ballot for increases in an extra-voted millage for fire and emergency medical services and for township operations.
A 3.55-mill tax is being sought for Leelanau Township Emergency Services. The township currently levies taxes of 2.2 and 0.5 mills for operations and equipment. The two are being combined and increased by .85 mills, said Hugh Cook, fire chief.
The millage, which is the sole source of funding for the department, will bring in $1.563 million in its first year.
Voters in 2017 approved a millage for the department to offer Advanced Life Support services.
“It ended up costing us more than we anticipated,” Cook said. “Because of that we couldn’t afford to buy a new fire engine.”
The newest piece of fire apparatus is 15 years old, the age at which it should be taken out of front-line service and used for back-up, Cook said.
Cook also wants to add another duty person to the line-up so the department can be staffed by four people around the clock. He said last year there were multiple instances when there were two runs going at the same time.
“If they’re medical we don’t have staff for the second ambulance,” he said.
Paid on-call staff for the department has reached an average age of 57 and they are not responding to calls as they have in the past, making it more important to have the department staffed, Cook said.
Township officials are also requesting a four-year, 0.4884-mill tax for the general fund for operation of the township airport, cemeteries, library and more. The tax has been in place for several years and is being restored to its pre-Headlee amount. If approved, it will bring in $215,122 in its first year.
At the county level, the Senior Services department is asking for renewal and restoration of a 0.320-mill operating tax previously approved in 2018. If approved, the four-year tax will be restored to its pre-Headlee rollback amount and will raise $811,177 in its first year.
The Headlee Amendment requires a municipality to reduce its millage rate to keep property taxes from growing faster than the rate of inflation.
Another county-wide tax is one that has been renewed every two years since 1986. If approved, the 0.5-mill roads and highways maintenance and repair tax will bring in $1.44 million in its first year.
Other township proposals include:
- Bingham and Suttons Bay Township: Voters are being asked to renew and restore a four-year, 0.5-mill tax to support the Suttons Bay Bingham District Library. If approved, the tax will raise $252,642 in its first year.
- Centerville Township: The Centerville Township Fire and Ambulance millage is up for renewal and the township is asking for a 0.5-mill increase, for a total of 1.75 mills for equipment and operations. If approved, the tax will bring in $199,688 in its first year.
- Cleveland Township: Renewal of a 2-mill fire department tax is on the ballot. If approved, the two-year tax will raise $232,000 in its first year for fire and emergency stand-by services provided by the Cedar Area Fire and Rescue Department.
- Glen Arbor Township: Voters are being asked to approve the dissolution of the elected Park Commission, which would be replaced with a Park Board whose members are appointed by the township board.
- Kasson Township: Voters will see a 2-mill tax proposal for fire and emergency medical services for the township, which also contracts with the Cedar department. The tax would raise $211,247 in its first year.
- Leland Township: Voters will see a request for a one-year renewal of an extra-voted millage that has been in place for several years and is normally renewed every three years. Township officials are asking for a one-year renewal and may next year ask for a more comprehensive proposal for capital improvements, said Supervisor Susan Och. If approved, the 0.4209-mill tax will bring in $214,896 in its first year.
- Solon Township: Voters are being asked to approve a two-year, 2.5-mill property tax for equipment and operation of the fire and ambulance departments. The tax would raise $271,000 in its first year.