Voters approved a slew of ballot proposals during Tuesday’s primary election, including millage renewals for Mason-Oceana County 911 and the Ludington Mass Transit Authority (LMTA), as well as new millage requests for roadwork in Grant and Custer townships.
Mason-Oceana 911’s request for a six-year renewal on its operating millage was approved, with 2,615 votes supporting the renewal and 599 votes cast opposing it.
The request allows for an increase of up to .14 mills — or 14 cents per $1,000 of taxable value — will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2020 and continue through Nov. 30, 2026 “for the purpose of providing funds for the Mason-Oceana 911,” according to the ballot language.
If the millage is levied in its entirety, it’s expected to raise approximately $283,500 for the dispatch center, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in May.
“I’m very happy that the millage was approved,” Mason-Oceana 911 Director Ray Hasil told the Daily News in a phone call. “It’s a small millage — only .14 mills — but the money that generates is helping bridge the gap in some of the liabilities we have.”
He added, “This millage … makes sure we have the funds to fund the center, today and down the road.”
The funds will also be used to boost technology, some of which is very costly, according to Hasil.
“We have some technology that is very expensive. We’re looking ahead to these future technologies as they continue to evolve, in the next-gen 911 realm, which is everything from pictures to videos to telematics, which eventually (Mason-Oceana 911 will be using).”
Making improvements with each passing year has been a major goal for Mason-Oceana 911 since it first received the six-year millage in 2014, Hasil said in a press release.
Mason-Oceana 911 shares dispatch with Newaygo County, and built a 911 call delivery system shared by five 911 centers in eight counties, according to Hasil.
“The 911 millage is a significant portion of our overall funding. It is also a way to have all people that own property here, but don’t live here year-round, to help fund the local 911 system,” Hasil said in a release. “Renewing this small millage pays big dividends, and ensures Mason-Oceana 911 can continue to deliver a high-quality of service to the citizens and taxpayers we protect an serve in Mason and Oceana counties.”
LMTA operating millage renewal
The LMTA’s five-year millage renewal was also approved, with received 1,712 votes in favor of the request and 473 votes against.
The proposed 1.2267-mill renewal amounts to $1.22 on each $1,000 of taxable value in the jurisdictional limits of the City of Ludington and the City of Scottville, where the LMTA provides service.
The millage renewal will go into effect in 2021 and continue through 2025. It’s expected to raise $370,000, and a portion will be subject to capture by the Downtown Development Authority and the Mason County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
LMTA Executive Director Paul Keson previously to the Daily News that the millage would help fund transportation from Ludington to Scottville Monday through Friday, with Saturday services once a month. He added that it would cost the average homeowner with $50,000 taxable value approximately $5.12 a month, or $61.34 per year, and that the millage funs account for about 20 percent of the LMTA’s budget.
Custer Township road millage
Custer Township voters approved a new road maintenance millage on Tuesday.
The first-time millage is for $1 per $1,000 of taxable value, and will be levied for 10 years, from 2020 to 2029. It received 199 yes votes and 112 no votes.
It will be be levied for 10 years, from 2020 to 2029.
The millage is expected to raise $39,794 in its first year, with a main goal of keeping up with expenses and offsetting the increasing costs of road work and maintenance, Township Supervisor Mark Anderson told the Daily News previously.
The township has no major projects planned, but the millage will allow work to begin on improvements to Johnson Road that previously had to be postponed.
Funds will also go toward paying for the cost of brining on Custer Townships 30-plus miles of gravel road, Anderson said.
Grant Township road millage
A fist-time millage for road work and maintenance was also approved for Grant Township.
The request for 1 mill was approved with 187 yes votes and 99 no votes, and will be levied for five years — from 2020 through 2024.
It’s expected to raise about $55,000 in the first year, according to the language of the ballot proposal.
The millage funds will be used for general upkeep and maintenance purposes, as well as brining and graveling all of the township’s roads.
Allen Bufka of the township’s board of trustees said it’s been 20 years since roads have been re-graveled. He added that brining would also be necessary to reduce dust.
Funds will also be used for general upkeep, including adding culverts and cleaning ditches.
Hamlin Fire Department millage
Voters approved an operating millage renewal for the Hamlin Township Fire Department, with 1,062 voters supporting and 180 voting against the request Tuesday.
The .4507 mills, or 45.07 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, will be used for the continued maintenance and operation of the Hamlin Township Fire Department, according to Fire Chief Steve Vandervest. It will also be used for training, insurance, vehicle repairs, payroll, heat and equipment not covered by the fire authority.
The 10-year millage is for 2021 through 2030. It will be disbursed by Hamlin Township and is expected to raise about $110,686 in the first year the millage is levied.