Voters OK 911, road patrol millages

ESCANABA — Voters in Delta County approved a pair of county-wide millage requests Tuesday.

A total of 2,695 votes, or 55.08 percent, were cast in favor of a law enforcement millage request for up to 1.3 mills — $1.30 per each $1,000 of taxable value — from 2020 to 2029. 2,198 votes, or 44.92 percent, were cast against the request.

Funds from the millage will be put towards road patrol, search and rescue services and the operations of the Delta County Sheriff’s Office, and any other law enforcement purpose authorized by law.

“We are just very much appreciative of the county’s support of the sheriff’s department and the road patrol services associated,” Delta County Administrator Philip Strom said.

The request voters approved Tuesday will both renew Delta County’s existing law enforcement millage and add on to it. .9 mills will be a renewal, and .4 mills will be newly introduced.

About $1,550,000 will be levied in the increased millage’s first year, part of which may go towards local downtown development and brownfield redevelopment authorities.

Delta County Sheriff Ed Oswald said one factor that played an important role in the request’s approval was the work done by “Citizens for a Safe Delta County.” The group was made up of citizens and employees of multiple local law enforcement agencies.

“We had a lot of people out there, spreading the word (about) exactly what we’re planning to do with that increase,” he said.

Oswald noted these plans include the continuation of drug enforcement efforts and the addition of personnel for road patrol services.

Meanwhile, 3,300 voters (67.36 percent) supported a request to renew Delta County’s 911 millage of .75 mills, or $0.75 per $1,000 of taxable value, from 2020 to 2024. 1,599 voters (32.64 percent) opposed the request.

“911 was really predominantly passed,” Oswald said.

Strom said he was pleased with — but not particularly surprised by — the county’s support of the 911 millage request, as it asked for a straightforward renewal of an existing millage.

“I’m very happy and satisfied by that result,” he said.

Delta County is expected to collect about $875,000 in the renewed millage’s first year if it is levied in full. Millage funds will be used to “operate, furnish, and equip” Delta County’s 911 emergency telephone answering and dispatch system.

As is the case for the law enforcement millage request, some of the 911 millage funds may go towards local downtown development and brownfield redevelopment authorities.

Residents of Bark River Township okayed another millage proposal Tuesday. 122 voters, or 58.94 percent, were in favor of increasing the tax limitation on general ad valorem taxes in the township by 1 mill, or $1 per $1,000 of taxable value, from 2019 to 2023. 85 voters, or 41.06 percent, were against the request.

Millage funds will be used to operate and maintain the Bark River Township Senior Center and the Bark River Township Fire Department. The millage will generate an estimated $40,726 in its first year.

In Big Bay de Noc School District, voters supported the renewal of the current school district operating millage rate limitation of 19.7958 mills, or roughly $19.80 per $1,000 of taxable value, from 2020 to 2029. 241 voters (61.95 percent) supported the renewal, and 148 voters (38.05 percent) opposed it.

This will provide the Big Bay de Noc School District with operational funds. If 18 mills are levied, the district will collect about $1,645,300 in 2020. The rate includes two extra mills to compensate for a Headlee rollback.

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