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Local elections to largely seek status quo

Local elections to largely seek status quo

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In Saugatuck-Douglas the more things change, the more they remain the same.

All three incumbents on both city councils will run unopposed for re-election Nov. 7. Seeking millage renewals will be Saugatuck Township for roads and the Interurban Transit Authority for operations.

Saugatuck Public Schools, as detailed here last week, are seeking operating millages for the schools themselves plus the district’s public recreation and playground system.

The first seeks to levy no more than the 18-mill statutory limit against non-homestead properties, plus 2 mills to guard against losing money due to future Headlee Amendment rollbacks. The combination equates to $5,737,075 for the 2017-2018 school year, approximately 75 percent of the schools’ operating budget.

A second proposal seeks to renew 0.25 mills for two years to allow the schools to continue to operate the community recreation program. If approved, it will raise approximately $143,823, the program’s entire budget, in 2018.

Saugatuck City Council members Bill Hess, Christine Peterson and Jeff Spangler filed with the Allegan County Clerk’s office for re-election by Aug. 15 deadline. Ditto for Greg Harvath, Lisa Greenwood and Kathy Mooradian in Douglas. Both councils have three open two-year seats.

The Interurban, which offers low-cost, on-demand public transportation in Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township, will request a five-year renewal of its expired 0.5-mill property tax levy, reduced by required Headlee rollbacks to .4968 mill in its most recent year.

The first year is estimated to collect $70,478 in the City of Saugatuck, $72,462 in Douglas and $144,017 from Saugatuck Township.

The township seeks a five-year renewal of its previously increased 0.9667 mill on taxes to pave, repair, construct or reconstruct roads, bridges or drainage structures. This renewal would generate an estimated $284,332 in 2018.

Specific ballot language appears on each entity’s websites.