Saline Area Schools Puts Sinking Fund, Recreation Millages on November Ballot

 08/14/2017 - 23:03

Saline Area Schools will put two familiar tax requests before district voters in the November election.

The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution to hold the special election on Nov. 7. The district is asking to the public to approve a 10-year, .35-mill sinking fund levy and a 10-year, .5 mill recreation millage.

Both would replace existing levies and would effective from 2018 to 2027.

The sinking fund millage would pay for school maintenance, security and technology. The recreation fund millage would fund the Saline Area Senior Center, the school pool, cultural arts and other activities.

Voters originally passed a .85 recreation millage in 2000. In 2009, the district reduced the size of the recreation millage to .5 mills because it also asked for a .35-mill sinking fund levy. Voters approved both.

In recent years, the Headlee rollback has reduced those millages to .495 and .3461, respectively, according to Saline Area Schools Chief Financial Officer Janice Warner. Because the district is asking for the pre-Headlee amount, the tax proposals are not legally considered renewals.

The school district is putting the proposal in front of voters a year early because the state government has given school districts more ways to utilize sinking fund tax dollars. In the past, districts could only use sinking fund millages on bricks and mortar projects.

“We are going out early so we can use the sinking funds for the new purposes approved by the state in November 2016 – school security improvements and the acquisition or upgrading of technology,” Warner said.

However, the legislation dictates the provisions weren’t available to districts spending sinking fund dollars generated by levies approved before the new state legislation.

Warner said that if voters approve the two levies for .85 mills, it will not levy final year of the millages previously approved by voters.

Many know the recreation millage as the CARES millage, because it funds cultural arts, recreation, the senior center and other activities. The millage also helps fund the pool at Saline High School and various initiatives approved by the CARES board. The CARES millage is expected to generate $823,000 in 2017-18, according to Warner.  Of that, about $206,000 is spent on the Saline Area Senior Center. That represents close to 80 percent of the center’s expenses, Warner said.

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is owner of The Saline Post. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294

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