Schools seek taxes this year

ALPENA — Several Northeast Michigan school districts are asking voters to approve tax proposals this year to help improve their schools.

On March 10, Alpena Public Schools is asking for permission to sell $33.9 million in bonds that would be used for facilities repairs and renovations throughout the district. While not technically a tax proposal, voters would repay the bonds over the next 25 years through property taxes. The district expects taxes would stay the same — 1.8 mills — because bonds sold in the 1990s are about to be paid off.

Also on March 10, both Atlanta Community Schools and Hillman Community Schools are seeking renewals of their operating millages.

Both districts’ proposals would allow them to charge up to 18 mills on non-homestead property, such as businesses or vacation homes. The taxes would cost the owner of $100,000 in property about $900 a year.

Both millages would be renewed for a four-year period, 2021 to 2024.

The estimated revenue that would be raised in Atlanta is $1.86 million, while the estimated revenue to come from Hillman’s proposal is $1.84 million.

“The funds generated represent a very significant portion of the fundamental formula used by the state to fund schools,” Carl Seiter, superintendent of both districts, said Wednesday. “Without these dollars, any school district would be closing their doors. It represents approximately 30(%) to 40% of our budget.”

Later this year, Rogers City Area Schools will seek a renewal of its operating millage and sinking fund tax.

The sinking fund is a 2-mill tax that would generate around $150,000 a year, Superintendent Nick Hein said Wednesday. That tax would apply to primary residences and would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $100 a year.

The money generated would be used to replace the Rogers City High School gym floor and repair the high school’s shop roof, along with other projects.

“It’s a small amount, but it goes a long ways in being able to keep up with building repairs, technology, and busing,” Hein said.

The sinking fund has been in place in the district for over 20 years.

Rogers City is also seeking a renewal of its operating millage later this year. That would allow them to charge up to 18 mills on non-homestead property.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money would be raised through that tax.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.