The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners met via Zoom on Thursday, May 21 for the board’s monthly business meeting. During the three-hour marathon telemeeting that included a healthy amount of spirited discussion, the commissioners set the county’s operating millage rate at 5.5105 mills, to be levied on the 2020 summer taxes.
The Board of Commissioners sets the county’s operating millage rate annually. This year, the millage rate went from 5.5405 to 5.5105 because of Headlee rollbacks. However, while the millage rate decreased, the amount the county will realize will go up by $306,000 for the 2020 year. This takes the total amount to be collected from $10,247,099 to $10,563,627.
Voters narrowly approved a county operating millage proposal in November 2016, setting the millage rate at 5.555 indefinitely, though that rate decreases every year that overall county property revenues increase. The 2016 operating millage proposal was determined by the Shiawassee County Tax Advisory Committee, which was formed in January 2016 and was comprised of Commissioner John Plowman as chairperson; Sciota Twp. Supervisor Phil Matthews; Tim Dwyer, the county treasurer at the time; at-large member Bruce Cook; Burton Fox, then a member of the Owosso City Council; and Shiawassee RESD Sup’t Dave Shulte.
The commissioners also approved a ballot language proposal from Central Dispatch to renew the county’s monthly 9-1-1 surcharge of $2.65 per telephone line, which is set to expire on June 30, 2021. The countywide proposal will be on the Nov. 3 Presidential Election ballot.
As the proposal explains, “This renewal would allow Central Dispatch to continue with the radio project for fire/EMS agencies in Shiawassee County, and to focus on improving the communications system within the county by adding communication towers to increase the coverage area for all first responders. Each additional tower will cost approximately $1.2 million. Central Dispatch also plans to invest in new CAD software. This continuation of the surcharge will also support current maintenance contracts and the normal day-to-day expenses of running Central Dispatch.”
Voters approved a surcharge increase – from $1.22 to $2.65 per month per telephone line – in March 2016, with nearly 59 percent voter support.
Also, the commissioners approved proposed ballot language in April to renew the operating millage for the Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility – Pleasant View – at up to two mills for four years, 2020 through 2023. This countywide ballot proposal will appear on the Aug. 4 Primary Election ballot.