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Museum millage up for renewal in 3 communities

Alex Doty • Jul 13, 2018 at 2:00 PM

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum looks to renew its millage in several local communities next month.

Voters in the cities of Ferrysburg and Grand Haven and Grand Haven Township will be asked to approve a six-year millage renewal for the museum on Aug. 7. 

The millage was last renewed for six years in the three communities in August 2012.

“The millage is a huge thing for us because it is where we get a large part of our funding from,” said Julie Bunke, the museum’s executive director. “All of the services we offer are free and it’s because of the millage that we can do that.”

The museum is estimated to raise a combined $355,069 from the three municipalities in the first year of the levy.

“It really helps us provide those essential exhibits and public programs for the community,” Bunke said. 

The 0.25-mill museum tax is also levied in Spring Lake village and township, where it will be up for renewal in 2020.

“They’re staggered so we’re not going around asking everyone at the same time for the same support,” Bunke said.

The main museum location at 200 Washington Ave. offers permanent and rotating exhibits that highlight various points of history, both locally and beyond, as well as space for special events, classes and tours. The recently opened Community Archive and Research Center houses the museum’s artifact collection, and also allows a greater space to access and research local history.

Bunke noted that providing the same level of service — from the trained staff to the various community programs — would be difficult without the revenue from the millage.

“We would probably be able to keep our doors open, and that would be it,” she said.

Bunke said her staff is grateful for the support the community has given the museum over the years.

“It’s wonderful that people value the place the museum has in our community,” she said.

According to the official ballot language, the museum is asking for a six-year renewal, from 2019-24, for 0.25 mill. If voters approve it, the millage would generate 25 cents per $1,000 of taxable property value, with all funds going toward the operation, maintenance, renovation and improvement of the museum and its facilities.

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