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County millages on ballot

October 30, 2013 - Atlas Twp.- Township residents will be heading to the polls on Tuesday to decide on two millage proposals.

A proposed 0.04-mill property tax for the MSU Extension-Genesee County would cost taxpayers with a $100,000 home about $2 per year and support Agriculture 4-H, master gardener, and nutrition programs.

The millage would fund 4-H Youth Development programs which includes kids working on projects where they learn life skills. In Genesee County, this includes working with the Flint River Watershed Coalition and local schools to test the Flint River and the streams that flow into it, including Kearsley Creek. The funding would also support MSU Extension with MSU AgBioResearch scientists and with local farmers to prepare for and prevent pests from infesting their crops, helping to protect the fruit industry and to protect the food supply for Michigan, including the raspberry crop at local orchards.

In addition, MSU Extension nutrition programs work with families to teach how to safely cook and preserve food around the home. They also support the Master Gardener Volunteer Program (MGVP), which connects gardeners in Genesee County to MSU resources and a statewide network of MG volunteers.

Voters will also be asked to renew a Mott Community College bond that will allow the school to borrow about $50 million during the next several years. This proposal would mean an estimated rate of 0.87 of a mill with an annual cost of $43.50 for a $100,000 home— equal to what Genesee County taxpayers are currently funding.

Michael Kelly, MCC executive director, public information, said Mott Community College is a great community asset, but must be maintained.

"Failure to maintain college buildings and equipment means bigger bills later on and a declining value of this community asset," he said. "Use of technology like computers, audio-visual and distance learning systems at MCC has doubled over the past five years and is now an integral part of the curriculum in almost every program. If our students learn on outdated technology, they won't be able to compete in a rapidly changing economy."

If the millage fails, it would drop to 0.80, a reduction of 0.07 of a mill, or 7 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, about $3.50 on a $100,000 house.

"Ultimately, county residents would save $3.50 and a key community asset would decline," added Kelly. "Consider, too, that Mott Community College attracts the most graduates from the Genesee Intermediate School—which includes Goodrich High School graduates."

Tere Onica, township clerk, said expect a 10 percent turnout at the polls on Tuesday.

"A voter turnout of 20 percent would be nice," she said. "There are two money issues on the ballot, so voters turn out better for that."

Onica said that 98 voters in the township that live in the Grand Blanc School District will vote on a $36 million school bond proposal.

"Voting is a privilege, so get out there," she added.

Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

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