Mayville schools millage vote delayed to November ballot
By John Schneider | Editor
It turns out the polls will be closed on Aug. 3 at all Tuscola County voting precincts.
There was just one issue scheduled to be decided that day – a Mayville Community Schools operating millage renewal proposal. But a technical issue caused it to be removed from the Aug. 3 election.
“It was an unfortunate communication mishap,” said Mayville schools Superintendent Barry Markwart.
The proposal was a little less than the 18-mill operating renewal proposals that passed in 2012 and 2016. This year, the language on the submitted proposal asked residents to authorize a 17.1396-mill proposal for a five-year period, from 2022 to 2026.
But after the school district submitted its renewal proposal to the Tuscola County Clerk’s Office, it would later find out that the information it received from the Tuscola County Equalization Department was for a preliminary millage figure, not a final one.
The final proposal would have been a little less than the 17.1396-mill renewal.
“(Mayville schools) filed (April 29) before they received the final taxable value rate so the ballot language was based off a preliminary figure from the equalization department with the disclaimer that it was only preliminary and the final would come after that (on May 4),” said Tuscola County Clerk Jodi Fetting.
If the error would have been immediately discovered, the school district would have had until May 11 to correct it. But it wasn’t recognized until the middle of May, after proofed ballots were sent out.
“It was too late, at that point, to make an adjustment as it is considered a substantial change,” Fetting said. “We had to follow protocol and have it withdrawn and have it submitted at a correct rate at a future election.”
At its May 25 meeting, the Mayville school board voted to rescind the proposed millage renewal and the decision was accepted days later by the Tuscola County Election Commission.
The Mayville school board decided to pull the proposal and submit one with a slightly smaller tax payment, the same figure which would have been on the August ballot if not for the error.
“In the end, (the Mayville school district) will be saving taxpayers money,” Fetting said.
Now, the school district will have to wait until the Nov. 2 general election to ask voters to approve the renewal. Markwart anticipates the school board will approve the proposal at its next meeting.
The current operating millage ends at the end of the year.
The renewal, which is different than a bond issue, when officially at the ballot box, will authorize a millage rate of a little more than 17 mills on each $1,000 of taxable valuation. The school district’s last operating millage renewal proposal, in 2016, passed 987 (60.18 percent) to 653 (39.82 percent).
Markwart stressed that most district voters don’t pay the tax because it is a Michigan Non-Homestead renewal. Only those who own rental property, second homes, industrial property, businesses, etc., are eligible to pay. And those who do pay won’t see their taxes go up.
“It doesn’t affect 95 percent of our voting population because it’s not their residence (that’s being taxed) and we want to get that out there,” Markwart said. “It’s not very many people who are going to be affected, and we want to educate people on that.”
Markwart says voters may become disenchanted when they hear the words bond or millage or increase.
“That’s why we aren’t going for the full 18 (mills),” he said. “That was an issue for us. Otherwise, it would have been an increase, and we didn’t want to put an increase on anything.”
The Mayville Community Schools district includes homes in Dayton Township (1,077 voters), Fremont Township (2,593) and Watertown Township (1,158). The school district also extends into Lapeer Coun