2012-09-06 / Front Page

MSUE millage will appear on ballot

Officials will attempt to pass for 4th time

MANISTIQUE – Failure does not appear to be an option for the Schoolcraft County office of the Michigan State University Extension. An MSUE official announced the organization would pursue its fourth millage to support the operations during Thursday’s meeting of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.

In the August primary, county residents voted against the .19 mill increase on personal property taxes to support the local MSUE office and its services. The office has been shut down since March 2011, six months after the board of commissioners decided to cease funding the organization’s operations. MSUE officials have sought three millages since the closure – one in February and November of 2011 and again this August. Each attempt failed, with varying levels of support, losing by 336, 73, and 98 votes, respectively.

MSUE varied in the amount they requested to fund their services – asking for .42 mills in February, .188 in November, and .19 mills in August. That amount will change again in the Nov. 6 election, according to MSUE District Coordinator Jim Lucas.

“We’re going to try one more time, because we heard from many supporters,” he said. “After talking to some of my mentors within the county, we are asking for less than we did before, and also for less of a period of time.”

The November millage request will seek .179 mills, or 17.9 cents on each $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. It will only be enacted for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014

– rather than the five year millage requested in August.

Lucas also inquired about potentially using in-kind office space within the courthouse, as the commissioners had previously promised, pending the passage of the millage.

Commissioners unanimously approved the organization’s use of open office space if the millage passes, as well as the placement of the millage on November’s ballot.

Thanking the commissioners for the opportunity, Lucas added that he hoped the organization’s commitment and programming would be enough to sway voters this time around.

“I feel the quality of our educational programs’ outreach will show the citizens of this county that it is a viable thing,” he said.

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