School levies approved

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:32 AM

"We are thankful for our community's continued support of our annual millage," Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said. "The funds received are absolutely critical to our day-to-day operations."

The tax questions on Tuesday's ballots are for 18 mills for nonprincipal residence and other nonexempt property, such as vacation homes; and 6 mills on commercial personal property. The voters in the Grand Haven district approved the renewal for just one year, while Spring Lake district voters approved it for the next three years.

The proposal passed in the Grand Haven district 1,787 to 621, or 74 percent saying yes. Spring Lake district voters passed their proposal 684-176, or nearly 80 percent saying yes.

Konarska said approval of the issue means a continuation of $18.6 million in annual income needed to maintain the school district's programs and services. Approval of Spring Lake’s issue equates to about $2.6 million in annual income for that district.

Voters in the Fruitport district were asked to increase the rate to 18.5 mills for five years, "which will be levied only to the extent necessary to restore millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the Michigan Constitution of 1963," according to the ballot proposal.

The 18.5-mill proposal passed 942-426. The seven Muskegon county precincts approved it 845-379, while the Fruitport district's two Ottawa County precincts approved it 97-47.

Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak has said the increase of a half-mill would actually be a “hedge” to protect the district over time to keep the millage rate consistent at the current rate of 18 mills. He said the millage rate collected would still not exceed 18 mills.

Voters in the Allendale, Coopersville, Holland, Hudsonville and West Ottawa school districts also overwhelmingly approved the nonprincipal tax levy on Tuesday. Voters in the city of Hudsonville approved an additional six-tenths of a mill to their property taxes for three years to provide public transportation in the city, with 74 percent saying yes.

As is typical for a one-proposal ballot, voter turnout was very light.

The women manning Grand Haven Township's precincts 2 and 4 at Hope Reformed Church said less than 100 voters had cast ballots as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. A total of 240 cast ballots there by the end of the night.

Countywide, the turnout was 7.6 percent of Ottawa County's 161,594 registered voters.

"Having this election alone on the ballot gave me a bit of anxiety," Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said. "I'm glad to have the new system tested and to know, again, that the Spring Lake voters have been well-educated on the importance of maintaining this crucial source of revenue."

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