On Tuesday, Aug. 7, the voters of the cities of Owosso, Corunna and Durand, as well as the townships of Bennington and Caledonia, will once again have the opportunity to voice their opinions about the value of the Shiawassee Area Transportation Agency (SATA) to them and to their family members, friends and neighbors. All of these municipalities are voting on millage renewals, which have been previously approved by voters.
I write to provide you with the facts, to assist you in making a decision on August 7. Included are: municipality, mills requested and length of time, and the annual tax on a $100,000 home.
• city of Owosso: .333 mills for five years, $14.52;
• city of Corunna: .333 mills for five years, $16.67;
• city of Durand: .20 mills for three years, $7.63;
• Bennington Township: .333 mills for four years, $8.10;
• Caledonia Township: .19 mills for two years, $8.38
With the passage of these millage proposals, residents of these municipalities will continue to receive a 67 percent discount on the cost per ride that residents in municipalities who do not support SATA pay. They will also continue to have the ability to reserve a ride as far in advance as one year, and to reserve a recurring ride, such as three days a week to a dialysis treatment or to a senior center, once a week to a medical appointment or to a grocery store, or five days a week to work. Of the trips noted, approximately two-thirds were for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
This local millage support can only be used for operation of the buses. No voted millage can or will be used for any capital expenses, such as building construction or purchasing new buses.
Although federal and state grants, as well as fares paid by individuals and agencies, pay for nearly 80 percent of SATA’s expenses, local financial support is required, just as it is for all public transit agencies in the United States.
Most of us support police and fire protection, even though we may have never needed it. Most of us support our schools, even if we do not have school-aged children or grandchildren. SATA service is no different. Although you, your family or friends may not use SATA’s service now, you may need it one day. Many people rely on SATA’s service for daily independence and quality of life.
I urge you to vote on August 7.
Mary Rice, Executive Director,
Shiawassee Area Transportation Agency