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Home News  Voters must decide on CADL, CATA millages
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Wednesday, July 30,2014

Voters must decide on CADL, CATA millages

by Mickey Hirten
Voters next Tuesday will find a few countywide proposals and, in some cities and townships, local millages on their ballots. Heading the list are millage renewals for the Capital Area District Library and the Capital Area Transportation Authority. Neither is seeking increases, which seems to have dampened what could have been opposition to these proposals.

A parks improvement proposal in Meridian Township calls for a significant increase in funding and for two years the collection of two millages. This has stoked a “Vote No” campaign. But most proposals are straightforward affairs to improve roads, fund schools or address governing issues.

Here is what voters will find:

Capital Area District Library: The countywide system serves every Ingham community except East Lansing – 23 municipalities with 13 libraries. CADL is asking for a renewal of 1.56 mills ($1.56 per $1,000 of taxable value) for 2014 through 2017 for library operations. It is expected to generate about $9.18 million the first year.

The proposal comes with this confusing statement:

If approved and levied in full, a portion of the millage may be subject to capture to the Downtown Development Authorities of the Cities of Lansing, Leslie, Mason, Williamston, the Villages of Dansville and Stockbridge, and the Town ships of Delhi, Lansing, Leroy and Vevay; the Tax Increment Finance Authorities of the Cities of Lansing and Williamston; the Local Development

Finance Authorities of the Cities of Leslie and Mason; and the Brownfield Redevelopment

Authorities of the County of Ingham, the City of Lansing, and the Townships of Delhi and

Lansing; and the Ingham County Land Bank.

This means that all of these public entities will skim off a small share of the millage, dip their beak, so to speak. State law allows them to do this, and they do.

DeWitt Public Library: Passage could be a challenge for supporters considering the community´s history of rejecting library improvements. Two millage proposals, one to increase the operating budget and the other to fund a new and larger building, failed in 2013. Both asked for increases. This year, the library is asking for levy of $.9998 – call it $1 – for each $1,000 of taxable value. It doubles the current millage of $.4998 – that is, fifty cents. If approved the millage will raise $646,000 for the 2014 calendar year.

Capital Area Transportation Authority: Voters in City of Lansing, City of East Lansing, Meridian Township, Lansing Township, and Delhi Township will be asked to renew the current millage of 3.007 mills ($3.007 per $1,000 of taxable value) for five years starting in 2016.

CATA serves about 12 million riders a year. The millage, which will generate approximately $14.7 million in 2016, provides about 38 percent of the CATA´s annual operating costs. The remainder comes from assorted state and federal funds, passenger fares and contracted services.

Meridian Park System Millage: Meridian Township is asking for a 12-year millage to develop and maintain its park system. Signs throughout the township urge votes for and against. It is seeking roughly 67 cents on each $1,000 of taxable value that would raise $1.04 million (if levied in 2014) for the first year. Meridian has an expiring millage of about 33 cents on each $1,000 of taxable value. But if the new millage is approved, it will run concurrently with the current levy, meaning taxpayers will pay a $1 per $1,000 of taxable value per until 2016. This double millage tax has fueled some of the opposition.

What will Meridian voters get? Plans include a multi-use sports complex at Towner Road in Haslett, a canoe launch, pavilion and walking trail at Wonch Park in downtown Okemos, and a 15-acre dog park and comprehensive environmental improvements at the 100-acre Legg Park on Van Atta Road in Okemos.

The Meridian Township Park Commission plans to hire a development firm to create a redesign of Central Park, which includes South Central Park, the undeveloped "Ledebuhr property," the Municipal Complex and the Historical Village and Nancy Moore Park.

Williamston is seeking votes on three amendments to the city charter. The questions facing voters are:

– Shall Section 4. 1 of Chapter 4, entitled " The City Council," of the City of Williamston Charter be amended to acknowledge the determination of mayor and other city council member´s salary pursuant to the local officers compensation commis sion ordinance, being Williamston Code sections 2-281 — 2. 285, adopted in 1974 in accordance with State law?

– Shall Chapter 3 of the City of Williamston Charter be amended to modify subsection ( a) of section 3. 13 of that Chapter to provide terms of office for persons appointed, on or after December 1, 2014, to fill elected office vacancies expire at the end of November after each regular City election on the same basis as elected officers?

– Shall Section 5.6, Penalties, of the City of Williamston Charter be amended to state that the penalties to be assessed for a violation of an ordinance, which may be classified as a misdemeanor, a civil infraction or a municipal civil infraction, shall be provided in accordance with state law?

Police and fire
Bath Township
is seeking a renewal of a 3 mill ($3 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) levy for 2014 through 2016. The funds will be used to operate, equip and purchase police and fire protection services for police and fire departments . If approved, the millage will raise an estimated $1.10 million in 23014. The current millage expires in 2013.

DeWitt Township is seeking to renew a 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) levy for 2014 through 2017. The funds will be used to for the acquisition, repair, replacement, maintenance and housing of the equipment and apparatus of the township´s fire department. If approved, the township would raise $426,685millage, based on a levy in 2014.

For more on roads, sidewalks and schools, please see an expanded story at www.lansingcitypulse.com.

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