Ottawa County: Voters to decide 15 issues on Nov. ballot

Larry Limpf

With a few exceptions, voters in Ottawa County will primarily face renewal levies on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The exceptions include requests for additional millage in the Village of Genoa, the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District and Allen Township.
For B-C-S voters, they will again decide a 3.9-mill, 5-year operating levy that, if passed, will generate about $1.5 million annually.
Voters rejected an identical levy in August by 51 votes, according to the official tally by the Ottawa County board of elections.
Superintendent Guy Parmigian said the district has been conducting a “pretty robust” campaign.
“This past weekend we had about 25 people go door to door and we’ll do it again next weekend,” he said. “We want to get the word out there and see if we can close the gap.”
In May, voters rejected a property tax increase by about 366 votes and an income tax request by about 323 votes.
Parmigian said the district has been operating with a much leaner staff since 2012 when personnel cuts began.
“We’re down 47 staff members (240 to 193), including teachers, administrators and support staff,” he said. “That’s a lot of people to be down in a small school district. Pair that with our performance, which we are really proud of. We just want people to see the facts that we are a very efficient and effective organization for kids.”
If passed, the property tax would cost an additional $136 per $100,000 of valuation annually. It would generate approximately $1.5 million per year for operating expenses.

Genoa parks, rec
In the Village of Genoa, voters will decide a request for an additional 0.75 mills for 5 years to maintain and improve parks and recreational facilities.
Village officials let the levy millage lapse for a year but have decided to seek approval again to help fund improvements to the quarry and adjacent ball fields and shelter house, Kevin Gladden, village administrator said.
The tax generates about $27,900 annually, according to the Ottawa County auditor’s office.

Allen Twp.
Allen Township has placed a request for an additional 1.5 mills for 5 years on the ballot.
During a recent public forum, township trustees explained the current level of services can’t be maintained without additional funds.
With passage of the levy, the owner of a $100,000 property would see an additional $52.50 on their annual property taxes.

Genoa schools
The Genoa school board is asking voters to approve a substitute levy of 5.4 mills. The millage has been in effect since 2015 and generates about $1.025 million annually for the district’s operating expenses.
The 5-year levy won’t increase taxes on current property owners but will collect additional revenues on new construction after it goes into effect.

Other jurisdictions have placed renewal levies on the ballot:
-Benton Township: 5.5 mills, 5 years for operating expenses.
-Harris Township: renewal with 3.8-mill increase for fire protection.
-Harris Elmore Library: 1.1 mills, 5 years for operating expenses.
-Mid County Joint Ambulance District: 2 mills, 5 years for emergency medical services.
-Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties: 0.5-mill, 5-years for operating expenses.
-Rocky Ridge: 5 mills, 5 years for maintaining the fire department.
-Put-in-Bay Township: Four renewal levies for road maintenance, maintaining a refuse site on Middle Bass Island, current expenses and maintaining a physician’s house.


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