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EGR voters asked to renew & restore full rate for non-homestead property tax levy

Among several local districts going to voters Tuesday, May 7 with tax requests

East Grand Rapids voters will be asked on Tuesday, May 7 whether to renew the existing non-homestead millage levy of 17.6258 mills for four years, and to support an additional 3 mills of authority for five — through 2023 — to return the overall non-homestead levy to 18 mills. The additional authority is requested to protect against further reductions triggered by the Headlee Amendment, which limits tax increases to the inflation rate.

If approved, homeowners will not see an increase in their primary residence property tax. Non-homestead properties are businesses, rental properties and vacation homes.

“The non-homestead millage is a portion of our state ‘per-pupil foundation allowance’ and amounts to $1.3 million annually, or $450 per pupil,” wrote Superintendent Heidi Kattula on the district’s homepage. “In order to receive full operational funding granted by the state, schools must levy 18 mills on non-homestead property in their district.”

Further information on the request can be found on this FAQ posted by the district.  

Area voters will also see tax requests from six other school districts next Tuesday. They include:

Byron Center: The district is also seeking a Headlee override to bring its non-homestead operating millage back up to 18 mills. The district this year levied 17.3984 mills, a loss of approximately $219,000 or $52 per pupil, said Superintendent Dan Takens. See SNN story here.

Kelloggsville: Voters will consider a two-year non-homestead tax renewal, to replace the 17.6-mill levy expiring this year and to restore .5 mills lost as a result of the Headlee Amendment. If it is approved, the school district will collect approximately $3.25 million in 2020, representing 11 to 12 percent of the overall budget, said Jeff Owen, district director of education supports. Passage would provide funds for operating purposes, including school programs and activities.

Kentwood: Voters are being asked to renew, through 2029, the current 10-year, non-homestead operating millage of 18 mills. The millage raises over $18.2 million, approximately 16.9 percent of the district’s budget, said Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff. See SNN story here.

Lowell: Voters are being asked to approve a $52.1 million bond issue to address infrastructure upgrades, including new classrooms at Alto Elementary and a major middle school renovation. Approval would extend the existing 7-mill levy for seven years. See SNN story here.

Rockford: Voters will see two separate ballot requests: a 10-year bond issue of $174 million for capital projects, including a new elementary school; and a sinking fund generating $11 million over 10 years, for improvements such as new roofs. Approval of both would reduce the current capital-fund rate to 7.5 mills from 8.5, due to a decrease in debt retirement millage, district officials say. See SNN story here.

Sparta: The district seeks renewal of its sinking fund for an additional 10 years at a rate of 1.25 mills. The levy would pay for building and site maintenance and improvements such as new roofs and repair of parking lots. The district currently levies 1.15 mills for the fund. See SNN story here.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


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