On the ballot
Millages to be voted upon in August include:
Livingston County to fund 911 Emergency phone and central dispatch
Cohoctah Township 1.5-mill road millage renewal
Green Oak Township 1.5-mill Fire Department millage renewal
Green Oak Township 1.6-mill Police Department millage renewal
Hamburg Township bond proposal for a new fire station
Hartland Township 1.8819-mill Fire Department millage
Howell Township 0.9532-mill road millage renewal
Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority 1-mill millage
Brighton Area Fire Authority 1.25-mill fire millage
""""In all, nine millages are on the ballot in various communities this August. They range from renewals of road millages to establishing a parks and recreation tax in the Howell area.
These ballot proposals come in the midst of a tight state economy and on the heels of three out of five budget millages failing in the May election. Those factors caught the attention of the Howell City Council.
The city is the main force behind establishing the Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority. The authority, which would serve the city, along with Genoa, Oceola and Marion townships, would take over the city's recreation department.
The authority is asking for a 1-mill tax, the maximum it can request, to maintain recreation facilities and to purchase new parkland. That would give it an annual budget of between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.
To help sell the proposal, the City Council approved lowering the city's millage by 1 mill if the authority's millage passes. They say the cut won't harm city services.
"So our citizens come out even," Howell Mayor pro tem Steve Manor said.
Recreation officials estimate the Howell area will need to purchase at least 325 acres of parkland for recreation to meet demand from the growing population.
Not everyone agrees with that assessment. Dave Hamilton, chairman of the Livingston County Taxpayers Association, said the parks and recreation millage will be an "enormous" tax increase for the area.
Hamilton added that it's not a good idea to raise taxes during tough economic times, like the state is experiencing now.
Hamilton says he believes tax increases, such as the Hamburg Township Fire Department's push for new taxes for a new $3.5-million fire station, should be rejected as just too big.
The "government should really tighten its belt like normal families have to," Hamilton said. "Some of these bonds are just outrageous. It's like their eyeballs are bigger than their pocketbooks.""""