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November ballot slim for local races

August 16, 2018 | 09:39 AM

TRI-CITY AREA — It appears races to fill seats on village councils and school boards won't be hotly contested come November when voters head to the polls for the general election. Candidates for those seats were required to file petitions or submit signatures to the clerk's office by July 24.

In Capac, three candidates will vie for two seats on the school board. The field includes incumbents Jim Crane and Marie Killingbeck. John Antilla, a former board member, has also filed. The top two vote-getters will earn six-year terms.

For the St. Clair County Community College board of trustees, five candidates are seeking two terms, also for six years each. The names include Amy Holmes, Geof Kusch, Bassam Nasr, John Ogden and Marcia Robbins. Ogden currently sits on the board. Trustee Deborah Bourgois has opted to not seek re-election to the board but is a candidate for the 25th District Senate seat.

In the village of Capac, no one will challenge John Grzyb for the council president job, meaning he'll earn another four-year term. Five candidates have filed for three council member seats. Incumbents Mary Klug, Patti Weyhrauch and Bruce Lawrence all hope to earn another four-year term on the council. Their challengers include Debra Hlubic and Lynne Mandeville.

In Almont, two candidates are seeking two seats on the school board. They include John Miles, the board's current secretary, and Dallas Walton, a former board member. Walton will fill the seat being vacated by Stephan Manko who, according to Supt. Dr. Bill Kalmar, is stepping aside due to increasing demands of his law practice. Manko was appointed to the school board in 2012.

"Steve was an outstanding board member. His commitment to the students of Almont, relentlessly optimistic belief in the Almont Community Schools' future and sound advice will be missed," Kalmar said.

Walton comes to the board with prior experience, having served from 2011 to 2013.

The situation is similar in Dryden where there won't be a runoff. Two seats are up for grabs and two names will appear on the ballot—incumbent Stacey Abromaitis and newcomer Brian Hickmott. Hickmott will fill the seat being vacated by Katie Giles. Supt. Mary Finnigan said Giles has opted to step aside. Abromaitis is the board's current treasurer.

In Imlay City, recent appointees Kaylee Kaeding and Marcel Allen Lamb have indicated their wish to complete the remainder of their terms, each filing for two two-year partial terms. The race for two regular term seats will include incumbents Sharon Muir and Greg Dennis—the current president and vice president—and lone challenger Virgil Love.

In the village of Almont there too aren't enough candidates for open seats. Three candidates—all incumbents—have filed for four seats. Those names to appear on the ballot include Gary Peltier, current President Steve Schneider and Melinda Steffler. It appears Mary Ligon has opted to not continue serving on the council.

Maria Brown

Imlay Commission recruits candidates

City charter requires twice as many names for open seats

August 16, 2018 | 09:38 AM

IMLAY CITY — City commissioners on Monday nominated three residents whose names will now appear as city commission candidates in the November city election.

The nominees include retired Imlay City firefighter Charles Boadway; local auctioneer Greg Rowden; and longtime Chamber of Commerce volunteer Julie Salsido.

City Clerk/Treasurer Lynn Eutsler said she contacted the nominees Tuesday morning, each of whom agreed to appear on the ballot.

"They all said yes and one of them has already signed the necessary affidavit to be on the ballot," said Eutsler.

Per city charter, twice as many candidates as there are seats available (four) must appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Only four residents, Stu Davis, Alan Rosenbaum, Ted Sadler and Kelly Villanueva had filed to run by the application deadline.

Frank Demske, who was appointed to serve out the remainder of Marty Rankin's term, is running for his own seat.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the top three vote-getters will be elected to four-year terms on the commission, while the fourth-highest vote recipient will be elected to a two-year term.

Current commissioners not running in November include Mayor Walt Bargen and Commissioner Bob Tanis, both of whom are term-limited; and Amy Planck, who opted not to seek another term.

Tom Wearing

New Imlay City fire hall will be ‘source of pride’

City Manager acknowledges voters’ support of fire millage

August 16, 2018 | 09:37 AM

IMLAY CITY — City Manager Tom Youatt said he appreciates the community's support on August 7 of a millage to build a new $3 million Imlay City fire hall.

The measure passed by a margin of 81 votes, with 333 residents voting in favor and 252 opposed.

Passage of the 2.04-mill tax proposal means residents will pay on average $100-$200 annually over a period of 20 years. The increase will take effect in 2019.

Given that Imlay City residents approved a millage for street repairs just two years ago, Youatt realized there would be some resistance to another new tax.

"The decision was up to the voters," Youatt said. "I understand people don't want to pay more taxes, but I want to assure residents we intend to be fiscally responsible with their tax dollars."

Youatt reiterated his consistent opinion that the existing fire hall downtown no longer serves the needs of a modern fire department.

"The need is there and has been for some time.

Youatt said. "I'm proud of our city commissioners for taking on the task and proud of our residents for approving the millage.

"This is a project we could no longer keep kicking down the road," he said. "It had to be done for our firefighters and for the long term safety of our residents.

"The new hall will better serve everyone and will be a source of pride for the community," he continued. "We may even get more fire recruits interested in coming to Imlay City."

Demolition is next

Youatt said the next step in the process is to raze the old DNR building still situated on the 2.66-acre site at 571 E. Borland Rd. where the new hall will be built.

"I'd like to get that building torn down ASAP —possibly even this fall," said Youatt. "If we can go out for construction bids in January or February, it's possible that construction could begin as soon as next April."

Though MDOT makes the final decisions on placement of traffic signals, Youatt anticipates that a signal will be installed at the corner of E. Borland Rd. and M-53.

"We're looking at a flashing red or yellow light that would be activated during a fire run," said Youatt. "We'll need that to protect our firefighters when they go out on a call."

He remains hopeful that the flashing signals will be the precursor to the installation of a full-blown signal at that location.

"We'll push for that, but that will be up to MDOT," Youatt said, adding that the agency would need to conduct its standard protocol before that could happen.

Getting a stop light

Requesting and receiving approval for the installation of a stop light is not as easy as it might seem.

According to MDOT guidelines, a request for a new traffic light involves a four-part process. as follows:

•Representatives from the local MDOT Service Center or Regional Office would conduct a preliminary inquiry.

•If the local staff decides a signal study is warranted, a traffic survey will be ordered.

The survey would utilize counting machines along with manual counts to record turning volumes; gaps in the traffic stream; and observing the typical delays drivers experience at the given intersection.

•Then, a "traffic signals" staff would analyze the survey results and crash history at the intersection, which is sometimes followed by a field review by "traffic signals" staff and TSC/Region traffic personnel.

•Finally, using all the above information, MDOT would issue a decision in a formal report to the requesting entity.

The entire process can take anywhere from three to six months.

Tom Wearing

Daley, Luczak, Bizon emerge as winners in primary election

August 16, 2018 | 09:36 AM

TRI-CITY AREA — The stage is now set for November's race for the 31st District Senate Seat. Kevin Daley took the most votes in the August 7 Republican primary and Cynthia Luczak bested three other Democrats to advance to the next contest. The 31st District includes Lapeer, Tuscola and Bay counties.

The race between Daley and fellow GOP candidate Gary Glenn was hotly-contested but in the end, Daley ran away with the victory.

In Daley's home county of Lapeer, he took 65 percent of the votes cast on the GOP ticket compared to Glenn's 34 percent.

Luczak earned 44 percent of the votes cast in the Democratic primary in Lapeer County followed by Joni Batterbee, Chuck Stadler and Bill Jordan.

Luczak easily won her home county of Bay, taking 53 percent of the vote.

"It was a good day for our campaign. I look forward over the next three months to earning more support in Bay, Tuscola and Lapeer counties," Daley said in a video message posted to his campaign's Facebook page.

"We've got a big race coming up in November."

Luczak couldn't be reached for comment by press time.

The winner of that race will assume the seat held by Mike Green, a Republican, who will step aside due to term limits.

In St. Clair County only 23 votes separated the top Republicans in an eight-way race for the 81st House of Representatives primary contest. In the end, it appears Gary Eisen was the winner with his 2,660 votes. Kenneth Nicholl was a close second with 2,637. Taking third was Eric Stocker with 2,499 votes. Eisen will go on to face Democrat Josh Rivard in the November election.

The 81st District includes a large portion of the county including Lynn, Mussey and Berlin townships and the village of Capac.

In the Democratic primary for Michigan's 10th Congressional District, Kimberly Bizon was declared the winner, beating out Frank Accavitti Jr. and Michael McCarthy. She'll be on the November ballot opposite incumbent Paul Mitchell.

In Lapeer County Bizon earned 3,230 votes followed by McCarthy with 1,775 and Accavitti with 1,301.

In St. Clair County, McCarthy came away with the most votes—4,544—followed by Bizon with 4,385 and then Accavitti with 4,026.

Bizon took to social media to thank her opponents for "for running such a strong race and promoting our shared values and positions on issues as Democrats."

The 10th District includes Huron, Sanilac, Lapeer and St. Clair counties, plus a portion of Macomb and Tuscola counties.

Maria Brown

Ballot proposals fare well in area

Voters give nod to all but St. Clair Community College facility millage

August 16, 2018 | 09:35 AM

TRI-CITY AREA — Voters found favor in nearly every ballot proposal that appeared on the August 7 primary election ballot. In the Tri-City area, all but a St. Clair County Community College facilities millage was approved.

City officials and members of the fire department were pleased that Imlay City residents approved the 2.0463 millage that will fund the construction of a $3 million fire hall. The final vote tally (333 yes to 255 no votes) means that once a new hall is built on E. Borland Road as proposed, the department can relocate from their current base on Third Street. The station, built in 1967, is considered outdated and cramped for their current needs.

Voters in Attica and Imlay townships plus the city of Imlay City were also supportive of a combined millage renewal and tax increase request by the Ruth Hughes Memorial District Library (1,348 yes to 978 no votes). Altogether, the 1.1 mill proposal for a period of 10 years (2019-2028), will bring in about $384,000 in the first year it's collected and help the library keep up with the increasing costs for materials, technology, facility maintenance and interlibrary loan delivery.

Passage of the Dryden Police Department millage (999 yes to 500 no votes) means that the existing rate will increase from 2 to 2.3 mills for a period of five years, 2018 to 2022, and begin generating approximately $476,562 in the first year it's collected. Township officials said the slight increase was necessary to maintain 24 hour-7 days a week police coverage.

The township has had officers on duty around the clock since 1999 when voters approved raising the police millage from 1.5 to 2 mills. Since that year, the department has been funded exclusively by the millage but was forced to dip into their fund balance to maintain those services during the economic down turn.

Voters also gave a nod to Dryden Schools sinking fund (815 yes to 606 no votes)—the second one approved in just two years. It was the same amount of the last proposal put before voters in 2016—.75 mills for three years. Technically, Tuesday's passage was considered a continuation proposal, not a renewal, because state law changed since then, allowing for security and technology purchases-two areas the district wants to improve with funding.

Two renewals on the Attica Township ballot were approved by wide margins. The Attica Fire millage (899 yes to 270 no votes) and the Public Safety millage (786 yes to 371 no votes) were each renewed for a period of 20 years at one mill each, starting in 2019. The township can expect just over $150,000 in tax revenues for each millage that will be directed to their fire department and to cover the cost of two deputies contracted through the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department.

Renewal of both counties' senior citizen millages were without drama. Voters in both Lapeer and St. Clair strongly supported both. Lapeer County's senior renewal (15,619 yes to 4,298 no votes) called for the .25 mills to be levied for another four years. St. Clair County's (25,327 yes to 7,205 no votes) asked for 0.8 mills for a period of four years.

Berlin Township's fire millage was easily renewed (493 yes to 121 no votes) on August 7. That means the two-mill levy will be on the books for another 10 years.

Voters were split in their support of two St. Clair County Community College millage requests. A half-mill renewal (16,207 yes to 14,089 no votes) will continue to fund buildings and programs but residents in the community college district weren't convinced to support a new levy (17,004 no to 12,357 yes votes) for college facilities and program maintenance.

Maria Brown

31st District Dems eye Senate seat on Aug. 7

Four Democrats vying to take on Republican in November

August 02, 2018 | 02:25 PM

TRI-CITY AREA — Though a Republican stronghold, four Democrats are running for the 31st District Senate seat in November.

However, only one of the four will have the chance to face either Kevin Daley or Gary Glenn.

Democrats to appear on the August 7 ballot include: candidates Joni Batterbee of Goodrich; Bill Jordan of Bay City; Cynthia Luczak of Bay City; and Chuck Stadler of Vassar.

Democratic Senate candidate Joni Batterbee, 47, resides in Goodrich and is employed as an elementary school paraprofessional educator, whose priorities include the safety of students.

A member of 'Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,' Batterbee stands with students and teachers who are saying "enough" to school violence.

"I will help make schools safe by passing red flag laws and universal background checks," said Batterbee. "And I will work to end the NRA's grip on our government and help to stop gun deaths in Michigan and in our country."

She also advocates for the rights of workers, fair trade for farmers, health care, wage equality, Medicaid for all, women's rights and efforts to improve Michigan's and the nation's aging infrastructure.

"Our Union workers need their pensions funded and our public schools need to be fully funded.

"We must protect the rights of the disabled, the elderly, mentally ill and America's veterans.

"I believe in science and in protecting our environment," she continued. "Michigan must decriminalize Marijuana, invest in biodegradables, and invest in clean energy to provide revenue for our future.

"And we must repeal the 'Trump Tax Scam' before we see another recession," Batterbee warned.

"Those important accomplishments will once again give Michigan a productive edge as a leader in successful economic growth in the United States," she said. "If you elect me, these priorities will be made possible."

Democratic candidate Bill Jordan has lived in Bay County his entire life and currently resides in Monitor Township with his wife, Kay.

Jordan served six years in the Michigan National Guard and was employed as a Reese High School counselor and coach for 35 years.

He has also served as a Bangor Township and Bay Arenac Intermediate school board member and president.

"I have seen first-hand how small-town Michigan has been ignored by state government," Jordan said. "As an educator and coach, I know our young people are being shortchanged by the leadership in Lansing. That needs to change.

"We need a state senator who will stand up to Lansing's professional politicians and defend our way of life," said Jordan. "That's the kind of state senator I promise to be."

Jordan said he will stand up for small-town values by fighting to: improve education by increasing vocational and technical education; taking the Lansing politics out of education and returning control of schools to local communities; supporting a part-time legislature; creating a hunters' Bill of Rights; and protecting the Great Lakes by supporting bans on foreign pipelines.

"It's going to take leadership and hard work to win for middle-class families," Jordan said. "I'm ready to do that in the state senate."

Jordan and his wife have five children and five grandchildren.

He attended elementary school at St. John the Evangelist in Essexville and graduated from Bay City Central High School. He earned an associate degree from Delta College; a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Western Michigan University; and a Master of Arts in counseling from WMU.

He is past president of Bay Area YMCA swim team and volunteers at the Bay City Players.

Born and raised in a working-class family near Pinconning, Democrat Cynthia Luczak seeks to represent the many state residents who feel left behind by the current politicians who are running Lansing.

"As a lifelong resident of mid-Michigan, I've seen some of our cities thrive under great innovators," said Luczak. "But I've also seen the many families and workers who are struggling under absent bureaucrats.

"Mid-Michigan families deserve a leader who has lived their story and understands what it's like to walk in their shoes," she continued. "When the bell rings, you need to know that you have someone in your corner to fight for you. "You ought to know that I have your back."

She attended Standish-Sterling Community Schools, and worked at the local A&W when she wasn't babysitting for neighbors or delivering the "Grit," a local newspaper.

Luczak's father, a U.S. Army veteran, worked as a foreman in marine construction and managed the family farm.

When construction jobs took him out of town, she helped picked up the slack by working longer hours on the farm and saving up for college.

Luczak attended Saginaw Valley State University where she studied business and was able to stay close to home.

She later found a job in the Arenac County Clerk's office and quickly advanced through their ranks.

During her time in Arenac, she met her husband, Doug Luczak, and they settled in Bay City to raise their family.

The couple owned and operated Gephart Funeral Home in Bay City and devoted themselves to giving back to the city in their free time.

In 2004, she was elected Bay County Clerk and has utilized her decades of experience to modernize outdated technologies and simplify complex bureaucratic requirements.

Her success earned her the top position as President of the Michigan Association of County Clerks, where she is in charge of updating election equipment across the state to ensure fair elections.

Luczak is well-known as a strong advocate and fighter for students, senior citizens and working families.

"As a state senator, I will help to bring back investments that assist local businesses and working people thrive," she said.

Democrat Chuck Stadler believes the more people who go to the polls on August 7 and in November, the better the chance for a representative government in Lansing.

"One of the biggest problems in Michigan and the United States is simply getting people to vote," said Stadler. "Unfortunately, the United States of America ranks 25th in the world in the percentage of the population that votes.

"How is that? We have more freedoms in this country than any place in the world. We have the richest class, the poorest class and a shrinking middle class.

"The poor and middle classes outnumber the rich by millions. A rich person equals one vote, but the poor and middle class are less likely to vote.

"Empower yourself by registering to vote and voting now and in November," Stadler implores. "Michigan residents must wake up and get out to polls. Don't just sit home and complain about the way things are.

"I'm fighting for you the voter," he said. "Let's take back Michigan from greedy people who just take your tax dollars."

The following items are listed among Stadler's goals if elected to the Michigan Senate: Lotto money should be used to improve public schools, not as a piggy bank for the greedy in Lansing; stop outsourcing our road construction jobs—leaving Michigan workers out of the equation; improving security for schools through the use of metal detectors, surveillance cameras at all doors, and trained police officers to keep our children safe; supporting our farmers; increasing the state's infrastructure budget by 4-6 billion dollars to repair substandard roads, bridges and streets, thus providing countless jobs; supporting legislation for funding in the fight against opioid and prescription drug additions;

repealing the Michigan Retirement Tax which hurts our senior citizens: supporting our veterans by making it easier for them to to find employment.

Tom Wearing

Dryden seeks slight increase in police millage

August 02, 2018 | 12:01 PM

DRYDEN TWP. — To maintain 24 hour police coverage, township officials will ask voters for a slight millage increase next month.

The proposal calls for raising the millage rate from 2 to 2.3 mills for a period of five years, 2018 to 2022. If approved, the levy would generate approximately $476,562 in the first year it's collected.

For a resident whose home has a taxable value of $200,000, the millage increase would amount to an $30 bump in their property tax bill, going from $200 to $230.

"We're just trying to keep our head above water," said Sgt. Shawn Peters.

Since 2010, the department has had to borrow from their fund balance to make ends meet in their annual budget. Currently, that savings account stands at one year of operating costs and the department wants to keep it at that level.

"Our auditors say that's a good healthy spot to be in," Peters noted.

If the township had opted to seek a renewal of the current two mills, that fund balance would likely be depleted once five years has passed and the township would be forced to reduce their police coverage down to 16 hours per day.

The township has had officers on duty around the clock since 1999 when voters approved raising the police millage from 1.5 to 2 mills. Since that year, the department has been funded exclusively by the millage.

In those first eight years, when the economy was strong and more homes were built in the township, the department was able to put extra funds into their fund balance. Then, when the recession hit, and property values plummeted, so did the millage revenues. In 2008, the millage generated just over $502,000. It dropped as far as $370,000 in 2012 and 2013 and has since recovered to stand at $387,599 in 2017.

The fund balance topped out at $857,000 in 2010 and has since shrunk to $445,000.

In addition to shrinking tax revenues, Peters notes that operational costs have continued to increase.

"From 1999 to 2018 there's been a huge increase in the cost of doing police work," he said.

Thanks to technology, officers have many improved and important tools at their disposal but they all come at a cost.

Other expenses, like insurance, continue to go up as well, Peters noted.

Currently, the township's department has four full-time officers, including Chief Larry Pack, 10 part-time officers and a clerk.

In a letter to residents, the Committee to Support the Dryden Twp. Police Millage stressed the proposed increase would not be directed toward purchasing additional equipment or "creating unrealistic wages or salaries" for officers, noting that their staff is some of the lowest paid in comparison to other full-time departments in Lapeer County .

"Our oficers are a dedicated group of individuals who do their very best to provide a service to this community in a field of work that presents ever-changing challenges," the committee stated.

Maria Brown

Many decisions for voters on ballots in Tri-City area

Residents head to polls on Tues., August 7

August 02, 2018 | 11:53 AM

TRI-CITY AREA — In less than a week, votes will be cast in the 2018 Michigan primary election. On August 7, residents in both Lapeer and St. Clair counties will decide the fate of ballot proposals and candidates seeking public office.

Candidate and proposal profiles have appeared in recent issues of the Tri-City Times and what follows is a recap of what will appear on the ballot in the Tri-City area next week.


There's one race each for local representation in the Michigan House, Senate and U.S. Congress.

In St. Clair County's 81st House District, eight Republicans are vying to move on to the November election.

The GOP field includes Gary Eisen, John Mahaney, Kenneth Nicholl, Michael Pratt, Eric Stocker, Dan Tollis, Dan Turke and Joel Williams. Whoever tops the field in votes will face Democrat Joshua Rivard in November.

The 81st District includes Lynn, Mussey and Berlin townships and the village of Capac.

The 31st Michigan Senate features contests on both sides of the ticket. Kevin Daley and Gary Glenn are battling for the Republican nomination while Democrats Joni Batterbee, Bill Jordan, Cynthia Luczak and Chuck Stadler look to move on to November's contest. Those races will be decided by voters in Lapeer, Tuscola and Bay counties.

Hoping to head to Washington as Michigan's 10th District representative are three Democrats—Frank Accavitti Jr., Kimberly Bizon and Michael McCarthy. Whoever gets the most votes next week will face off against incumbent Republican Paul Mitchell.


In the city of Imlay City, voters will decide the fate of a 2.0323 bond proposal to fund the construction of a new fire hall.

Voters in the Ruth Hughes Memorial District Library (Imlay City and Imlay and Attica townships) will be asked to approve a slight increase in their operating millage by renewing the existing .9966 mills and approving an additional .1034 mills.

At the township level, Attica is asking for a renewal of both their fire and public safety millages each for 20 years at a rate of 1 mill.

Berlin Township is also hoping voters will renew their 10 year, two mill fire levy.

Dryden Township officials are seeking a slight increase in their police millage, from 2.0 to 2.3 mills for a period of five years.

The only school-related measure on the ballot comes from Dryden where they're seeking a five year, .75 mill sinking fund.

Both Lapeer and St. Clair counties will put senior citizens millage renewals on the August 7 ballot. Lapeer's calls for a continuation of the four year, .25 mill levy and St. Clair's will be asking for 0.8 mills also for a period of four years.

Residents in the St. Clair County Community College district will be asked to consider two funding proposals—one for facilities improvement and and the other for operating purposes. Both are four year, half mill requests. The facilities levy is a new proposal.

Election day

Polls open at 7 a.m. on August 7 and close at 8 p.m.

All polling locations are the same as in past years, except for Almont Township, where voters will cast ballots at the fire hall (located at the corner of Tubspring and Howland roads) while construction on the township hall is ongoing.

Contact your local clerk for information about obtaining an absentee ballot.

Maria Brown

School district sinking fund request on ballot in Dryden

Measure would upgrade security, technology, infrastructure

August 02, 2018 | 11:51 AM

DRYDEN TWP. — School officials hope voters will grant the district another sinking fund proposal when residents head to the polls on August 7.

Superintendent Mary Finnigan said Dryden Schools is asking for the same amount of the last proposal put before voters in 2016—.75 mills for three years—but because state law has since changed since then, this would technically be a continuation not a renewal.

If the majority of ballots are in favor, Finnigan said they'll spend the funds on technology, security and infrastructure improvements over a five-year period, 2019-2023.

"Our main purpose in asking for the sinking fund is to upgrade our security measures and replace parts of roofs and sidewalks," she said.

"We have several things that are nearing the end of their lives, like boilers and water pumps that need to be replaced."

As for security measures, Dryden wants to upgrade security cameras and purchase more of them, plus put alarms on all exterior doors, change out locks and install a key pod system so they can better monitor who has access to the buildings.

"We want to make sure we provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff," Finnigan said.

With the most recent sinking fund proposal, Dryden was able to install new lighting that has resulted in significant savings. This week, the high school's parking lot was repaved.

"We've been good stewards of tax payer dollars. We've saved money to use down the road and have refunded bonds in the last year and a half," she said.

"Our objective is to take care of our kids and provide them with a great education."

In 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill into law that allowed for the expansion of sinking fund millages to include security and technology in addition to building and infrastructure repairs.

A sinking fund differs from a traditional bond in that districts don't need to borrow money or pay interest for projects; instead, the money is generated from a levy that's issued once per year.

Maria Brown

Fire, public safety millage renewal on ballot in Attica

August 02, 2018 | 11:50 AM

ATTICA TWP. — Funding proposals that support the township's emergency services will go before voters on the August 7 primary election ballot.

Up for renewal are both a fire operating and a public safety millage up to 1 mill for a term of 20 years from 2019 through 2039. If approved, each would generate approximately $150,122 in their first year they're levied.

Supervisor Al Ochadleus said township officials opted to put the renewals before voters in 2018, one year before the current millages expire, so as to save taxpayer dollars.

"If we wait until next year we'll have to pick up the full tab for the election," he said.

"The renewals won't kick in until the current millage expires."

Ochadleus said the renewals are asking voters to restore the 1 mill that was originally approved at the ballot box but that has since declined because of Headlee rollbacks. Currently the public safety millage stands at .9796 and the fire millage stands at .8857.

"We're not asking for any additional monies...we just want to bring it back to what it was originally," Ochadleus said.

Attica uses their public safety funds to help cover costs for the service of two deputies contracted through the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department for a total of 80 hours per week. Ochadleus said that the township, some three decades ago, started receiving community policing grant dollars from the federal government and although those funds no longer exist, the township decided to self-fund deputy coverage themselves and added a second per "demand from the people," Ochadleus said.

Funds from the fire millage go towards basic necessities of the 17 member department, he said.

"They spent almost every penny for general operations," Ochadleus stated.

Although Attica, like nearly everyone else in Michigan, saw their taxable values plunge during the most recent recession, township officials were prudent with their funds and were able to cut costs without drastic effects to service.

Just prior to the recession, these one mill levies were each generating $166,000 per year. At its low, values only resulted in $123,000 per year. Today the township's taxable value has rebounded to $152 million.

"We're slowly coming back up," Ochadleus said.

Maria Brown
Castle Creek
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