by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

Confusion and questions have been arising regarding the proposal for Shiawassee County on the upcoming Nov. 8 ballot. The proposal states, “Shall separate tax limitations be established for an indefinite period, or until altered by the voters of the county, for the County of Shiawassee and the townships and intermediate school districts within the County, the aggregate of which shall not exceed 6.8 mills as follows: County of Shiawassee – 5.555, Townships – 1.000, Intermediate School Districts (RESD) – 0.250 for a total of 6.8 mils.”

By voting “yes” on this proposal you would be renewing the original operating millage set by voters in 1996. The millage would be set indefinitely or until changed by voters and is still subject to Headlee rollbacks. If the proposal were to fail, the county, township, and RESD millages would then be set annually by the County Tax Allocation board and would not need voter approval to set the combine millage number anywhere from 4.33 to 9.8 mills.

The combined rate of 6.8 mills was set for a 20-year term and will expire at the end of 2016. The County portion of the combined rate has dropped to 5.1146 from the original rate of 5.555 due to Headlee rollbacks. The Headlee amendment of 1978 changed the Michigan Constitution. At the time, real estate was going up in value faster than the rate of inflation. When taxing entities (city, townships, county, state) calculated property taxes based on how much the property was worth, they would collect more than the increase in inflation – and often the property owner’s income. This meant people were paying a greater percentage of their paychecks for taxes year after year. To keep taxes from increasing more than inflation, the Headlee Amendment automatically “rolls back” the millage rate to equal the rate of inflation.

The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners established a Tax Allocation Board at their

November 19, 2015 meeting. The Allocation Board consists of six members including Sciota Township Supervisor Phil Matthews, Shiawassee County Treasurer Tom Dwyer, Owosso City Council member Burton Fox, Commissioner John Plowman, county-at-large member Bruce Cook, and Shiawassee RESD Superintendent Dave Schulte.

Under the Property Tax Limitation Act 62 of 1933 the committee was required to recommend ballot language to the Board of Commissioners along with millage rates and duration of the recommended millage. The Board of Commissioners then approved the language which is what voters see on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election. Chairman Hartmann Aue notes that voters originally approved the 6.8 mill tax rate back in the 1960s.

Upcoming November Proposal Will Set County Millage Rate was last modified: November 7th, 2016 by Karen Elford