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No increase in general operating tax levy in county

Rebecca Pierce


Barry County property owners won't be seeing tax increases this year, county Equalization Director Tim Vandermark said Tuesday.

“We did have quite a few Headlee rollbacks,” Vandermark told commissioners at their regular board meeting.

The Headlee Amendment requires a millage rate to be decreased – called a rollback – when the assessed value of a property increases by more than the rate of inflation.

Those rollbacks have been happening a lot in the county, Vandermark said, particularly in the residential sector.

In fact, about two-thirds of townships in the county experienced Headlee rollbacks this year, mostly due to the strong residential market, he noted.

“The residential market's pretty strong right now,” Vandermark said. “There's actually a lack of houses, and it's pushing up the market.”

When houses go on the market, they sell fast, he said, some within two weeks.

The county board, which must OK all local tax rates so that those taxes may be collected, approved the 2019 apportionment report Tuesday.

The apportionment report shows an overall tax levy of 5.3504 mills for general operation in the county for 2020, down from 5.3521 mills in 2019. The county also levies 1.7502 mills in an extra voted operating rate.

With the commissioners' approval, Vandermark said he would post tax rates online for the public to see.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved contributing up to $5,000 to the Barry Career Access Network with funds to be paid from the current fiscal year’s general fund contingency.

• Approved grant contracts for fiscal year 2020 for adult drug court, sobriety court and Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, and to authorize Barry County Trial Court Administrator Ines Straube to sign the grant contracts on behalf of the county.

• Approved the 2020 proposed Barry County Health Plans for county employees as recommended by the Healthcare Cost Containment Committee.

• Approved transfers and disbursements of pre-paid invoices of $10.86 million, claims of $153,056 and commissioner reimbursements for mileage of $650.

• Approved a resolution to support passage of state legislation to adopt four-year terms for county commissioners. In a 5-2 vote, with commissioners Vivian Conner, Howard Gibson, Dave Jackson, Dan Parker and Heather Wing supported the change. Ben Geiger and Jon Smelker opposed it, saying constituents should have the ability to choose their county commissioners as frequently as every two years if that is their preference.

• Authorized the execution of a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the construction of a non-motorized path at the intersection of M-79 and School Street in Nashville.

• Heard public comments from Joel Ibbotson, who spoke of the poor presentation by TowerPinkster at the community forum on the county jail and Commission on Aging facilities; and from Sharon Zebrowski, who spoke about the importance of the appointment process to county boards.



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