The Delton Kellogg School board will be going to voters in May to ask for a renewal of the school district's non-homestead operating millage for another five years. The proposal, which was passed by the board of education during Monday night’s regular meeting, is a renewal of the existing 18-mill rate and will run from 2021 to 2025.
“The non-homestead property tax is for people who have vacation homes and businesses,” Superintendent Kyle Corlett said during a Tuesday interview. “The most the school can levy on non-homestead property is 18 mills so what happens is, over time, that amount raised gets decreased because of inflation (and the Headlee Amendment). So, every five years schools must go out and ask for voters to raise it back up.
The non-homestead operating millage brings the school approximately $3.174 million annually and, if the renewal vote was to fail in May, Corlett said the result would be catastrophic.
“I couldn’t even speculate what we would have to cut,” Corlett said. “We’re not even at a point where we can cut things.”
Voters will see two proposals on the May ballot, the 18-mill non homestead renewal as well as a second proposal calling for an additional .5 mills, as recommended by the district's legal counsel, the Thrun Law Firm, P.C. of East Lansing.
“It is not an increase,” Corlett said of the two proposals. “We cannot do more than 18 mills. That’s just to protect us if the rate drops below 18 within five years. This way, if it does drop below 18 within five years, we won’t have to bother the voters again. Every time you have something on the ballot the district pays thousands of dollars.”
By doing this, Corlett said it will save both the school district and the voters, money.
Also, during Monday’s meeting, Corlett announced that bid requests for all the work to be done this summer have been issued. The money for the work comes directly from the bond that voters approved in May 2019. The work will include roofing half of the middle school; baseball and softball field improvements; parking lot improvements to increase traffic flow; high school bathroom improvements; the turf football field; and the tearing down of the old wood shop between the elementary and middle school.
The destruction of the old wood shop will make way for a new paved playground area for elementary students. The new area will be constructed where the wood shop currently stands and will give elementary students a place for recess when the other playgrounds are too muddy for use.
During the board comment portion of the meeting Vice President Jim McManus recommended that the school withhold considering transferring any property to Barry Township until the school’s property is included in any potential Delton Downtown Development Authority and commit to building a water tower in Delton.
“It’s a vital tool for us to access some state monies for façade improvements and other types of grants that might help our downtown core Delton area,” McManus said.
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