In February of this year, the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved placing a millage renewal and restoration on the August 2 primary election ballot. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the millage:
When is the election?
Tuesday, August 2, 2016. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
What is on the ballot?
Voters residing within the boundaries of Washtenaw County will vote on a 0.85 operating millage proposal.
Why is this election necessary?
The primary purpose of the election is to seek voter approval of a 0.85 operating millage origi-nally approved by voters in 2004. Revenue from this millage pro-vides essential financial support to WCC’s programs and services.
How will the ballot proposal benefit students and the Washtenaw community?
A recent survey revealed that Washtenaw residents are very pleased with the programs and services provided by WCC. Survey respondents gave high marks to the quality of instruction, the variety of pro-grams and services, and how well WCC prepares students for jobs and careers. In summary, the survey respondents asked WCC to “keep up the good work.” In short, the ballot proposal will help support the good work WCC has been doing for 50 years while helping the college position itself for the challenges and changes students and community members will face in the immediate future. It is designed to continue supporting “good work,” such as…
- Providing a comprehen-sive curriculum that prepares students for jobs, careers, and continuing education. Offering over 200 continuing education courses each semester.
- Sponsoring community events that attracted over 80,000 Washtenaw County participants last year.
- Attaining a top-ten ranking for Washtenaw Technical Middle College in Newsweek Magazine’s “America’s Top High Schools.”
- Generating a $373 million economic impact on Washtenaw County.
Why does the ballot say that this is a millage ‘renewal and restoration’?
Washtenaw voters approved a 0.85 operating millage proposal in 2004. In general terms, this is a request to renew that millage for another 10 years. However, the 2004 operating millage approved by voters was reduced by the 1978 Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution. As a result, the WCC millage was “rolled back” 0.0116 mills, from 0.85 mills to 0.8384 mills. As a result, on August 2, Washtenaw voters will vote on a 0.85 ballot proposal composed of a renewal of 0.8332 mills and a restoration of 0.0168 mills.
What is the Headlee Amendment?
In a nutshell, the Headlee Amendment requires a local unit of government (like Washtenaw Community College) to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation. The local unit’s millage rate is “rolled back” so that the resulting growth in property tax revenue, county-wide, is no more than the rate of inflation. A “Headlee over-ride” is a vote by the electors to return the millage to the amount originally authorized by a vote of the people, and is necessary to counteract the effects of the “Headlee rollback.”
What will the ballot proposal cost?
If voters approve the 0.85 ballot proposal, the WCC tax rate will be the same as it was in 2004. Returning to this tax rate will require a renewal of 0.8332 mills and a restoration of 0.0168 mills. The restoration is technically a tax increase and will cost a person living in a $200,000 house about 2¢ per week.
If the ballot proposal is approved by voters, will property values be affected?
Real estate values tend to be higher in communities with school districts and com-munity colleges that offer quality educational programs and services, and have up-to-date facilities. Property values tend to be lower in communities that do not offer a comprehensive curriculum or that have educational facilities that are out of date and poorly maintained.
Who can vote on this ballot proposal?
Anyone can vote who resides in Washtenaw County, will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day, and is registered to vote by July 5.
Where can I register to vote?
You can register to vote at any Secretary of State office or at the clerk’s office where you reside.
Do I need to update my voter registration?
You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can do this at any Secretary of State office or at the Clerk’s office where you reside.
Where do I vote?
You will vote at your regular precinct in the community where you reside. If you are unsure of your precinct, visit www.mich-igan.gov/vote.
Can I vote by absentee ballot?
If you expect to be out of town on Election Day; or, if you are 60 years of age or older; or, if you are unable to vote without assistance at the polls; or, if you cannot attend the polls due to religious reasons, you can vote by absentee ballot. For details, go to www. michigan.gov/vote and click on the “Absentee Voting” button. You can obtain an application from the Clerk’s office where you reside, complete your application and vote—all in one stop. The whole process takes less than five minutes.
Where can I get more information about the election?
Contact Community and Government Relations 734-477-8933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.