ESCANABA - Tuesday's vote to renew a 1-mill tax levy for Bay College is a recognition that the college is important to the community, said an elated President Laura Coleman.
"We are so excited. We are so pleased. We are so happy," said Coleman in a telephone interview shortly after unofficial election results were announced Tuesday night.
In a 2,770 to 1,065 tally, voters approved a 20-year millage renewal of 1 mill ($1 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) to be used for capital improvements and for paying the principal and interest on outstanding bond debt.
Coleman described the voter support as "a wonderful ratification" recognizing Bay College is important to the community.
"Thanks to everyone," she added. "We could not be more pleased with the support."
The millage renewal is for a period from 2015 to 2034. Revenue the college will collect on the 1-mill tax levy beginning in the year 2015 is estimated at approximately $1 million.
Coleman said funding generated from the millage gives the college the ability to better serve the community and students by remodeling existing space and adding new programs.
Specifically, the welding lab will be renovated and expanded, she said. Funds will also go towards the student success center and a new wet lab for the water technology program, she added. Other areas the college will expand on include advanced manufacturing and a new paramedics program.
"It feels so very, very good to know the community supports the college," said Coleman, adding the "big margin" of the vote was "amazing."
Of the 3,835 voters who cast a ballot in the election, 72 percent supported the millage request, according to unofficial results.
Bay College Board Chair Bill Lake was also very pleased with the results of Tuesday's election.
"We are very elated. We're proud of the support of the community," he said. "I think that the voters are saying the community college is important to the whole county."