Fire levy to be on ballot

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:25 PM

A request for a 1.9-mill operating/capital millage will be put on the Aug. 5 ballot. If approved, the levy would be in place for eight years.

The Township Board this week unanimously approved putting the measure before voters.

Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said the millage proposal includes aspects that would ensure funding for both daily operations and larger expenses for the Fire/Rescue Department.

“The resolution included language specifying a certain percent was for operating and a certain percent was for capital, so that the board's full intentions are communicated to any future board,” she said.  “(We) wanted to make it clear of the intent to reserve part for capital expenditure.”

The township decided to go the route of the property tax millage after public opposition to a proposed special assessment several weeks ago.

“It’s going to be 2 percent higher than what would be collected before,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said, “but the money going to the fire department will be the same.”

There are several differences between an assessment levy and a property tax.

One is that a property tax is “captured” by tax increment finance districts — such as a Downtown Development Authority — while a levy is not. A property tax is also subject to the township’s 1 percent Tax Administrative Fee, while a levy is not.

“That 2 percent difference wasn’t as important as the ability to vote,” Cargo said.

Despite the difference in amounts, Cargo noted that the money going to the fire department would be the same as if a levy were passed — just over $1 million for daily operations and a little more than $100,000 for capital needs.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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