by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
This year, as in many years, voters of Shiawassee County will be tasked with deciding the fate of a countywide millage proposal. Every county voter will be asked to vote on a millage question that, if approved, would levy .50 mills for the funding of senior citizen services within Shiawassee County. The .50 milł levy is the same amount voters approved in 2014, and, if levied in full, would generate an estimated $864,410 in the first calendar year.
The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners decides annually how much of that .50 mills will be levied based on the needs of the county’s senior citizen programs, such as Meals On Wheels and the services provided at the county’s three senior centers in Owosso, Morrice, and Durand. Though the board could levy the maximum .50 mills for senior citizen services, the rate levied in 2017 was .43 mills.
The other part of the ballot question – more specifically the second paragraph – states that a portion of the millage may also be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities of the cities of Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, and Owosso; the villages of Byron, Lennon, Morrice, New Lothrop, and Vernon; and the Brownfield Authorities of the city of Owosso and Owosso Township.
Contrary to popular belief, this language is not added at the county level. Instead, it is the result of Public Act 197, a state law that was initially passed in 1975. The county does not have a say in whether or not to include this language, which is a mandated part of every countywide millage proposal.