4 Gogebic townships seek to renew millages Aug. 7


July 27, 2018



Voters in four townships in Gogebic County will be asked on Tuesday, Aug. 7, to renew millages to fund township operations.

The Aug. 7 election is a primary election in Michigan for local, state and federal offices, but there are also a number of ballot proposals, including millage renewals for “general township operating purposes” in Erwin Township, Marenisco Township, Wakefield Township and Watersmeet Township.

Wakefield Township is asking to renew its 3 mills for four years. One mill translates to $1 per every $1,000 of taxable value. Supervisor John Cox said it will raise about $100,000 of the township’s $190,000 budget. The township also receives a 1.6 mill allocation from a countywide millage renewed last year. The rest of the budget comes from revenue sharing, PILT payments and other items.

Cox said the Wakefield Township has the lowest millage in the county. It contracts its plowing and lawn mowing. He said passage of the renewal is paramount. “Without it, we wouldn’t be able to meet our state obligations.”

Marenisco Township Supervisor Dick Bouvette echoed the idea about the importance of the millage renewal to his township. General township operations includes all sorts of things like water and sewer, police department and fire department.

Bouvette said while the ballot asks voters to approve 8 mills for 6 years, he said the township will levy about 6. The township receives 2 mills from the county’s allocation. This adds up to $450,000 of the township’s $600,000 budget.

Marenisco Township voters have been renewing the millage for 30 years, said Bouvette, adding the levy has remained the same for 20 years.

Mike Rogers, Watersmeet Township supervisor, said the renewal is essential to the township’s operations. The renewal of 3.5 mills for four years will raise $572,000 annually. The budget is just over $1 million, he said.

“With that, we do everything,” Rogers said. “Fire department, police department, ambulance, sewer and water.” They have a small township park and other property to mow, as well.

Watersmeet’s allocation from the county is 1.7 mills. State revenue sharing helps make up the difference, said Rogers.

Erwin Township is asking voters to approve 10 mills over four years. Supervisor Larry Grimsby said the township’s allocation from the county is 1 mill.

The millage will allow the township to continue its general operations, said Grimsby, including paying for lawn maintenance, plowing and salaries.

Voters in Ironwood Township and Bessemer Township will not find this general operating fund renewal on their ballots. An Ironwood Township official said the township plans to ask for its renewal at the coming November general election. Bessemer Township Supervisor Jeff Randall said it’s not time to renew their millage.

Editor’s Note: This story is part of the Daily Globe’s ongoing election coverage prior to the August primaries in Michigan and Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters head to the polls Aug. 14.


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