By Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved two county-wide millage questions during its Thursday, April 14 meeting, which clears the way for both questions to be included on the Aug. 2 ballot.
The Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility (SCMCF) is asking for a four-year renewal of its two-mill levy that will generate an estimated $3.4 million. The SCMCF is planning to break ground on a new facility behind Home Depot on M-21 this spring, and SCMCF Interim Director Bill Hekker said during the Wednesday Committee of the Whole meeting that the millage funds would be used only for operation expenses.
Additionally, the Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) is asking to increase its .05-mill levy to .076 of a mill for another six years, or until 2022. The increased levy will be used to expand the county’s 4-H program, in addition to the organization’s nutritional program and other community education programs.
The MSUE first requested a millage in 2012 after the board of commissioners cut the office’s funding in half while preparing the county’s 2012 budget. The .05 of a mill generated roughly $82,500 for MSUE in 2012, and the proposed millage would increase that figure to an estimated $129,278 for the first year, 2017.
Diane Smith, the MSUE District 9 Coordinator, said one goal is to make 4-H Program Coordinator Nikki Hersch a full-time employee, which would give the program a chance to expand and provide more services. The program currently relies heavily on volunteers to administer many of its services, and Smith would like to see Hersch transition out of her current role as a volunteer manager in order to promote and grow the program, which would mean more available services for county youth.
If the millage question is approved, the average county home owner with a taxable valuation of $50,000 would pay an additional $1.30 per year, or $2.60 for those with a taxable valuation of $100,000. In 2012, Shiawassee County voters approved the MSUE millage question by a 71 to 29 percent margin.