October 30, 2020

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These school tax proposals are on Genesee County’s November ballot

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI — Some Genesee County voters will decide the fate of local school...

GENESEE COUNTY, MI — Some Genesee County voters will decide the fate of local school tax proposals in the November general election.

Proposals include a $55-million bond for Linden Community Schools and an operating millage renewal and sinking fund millage extension for Flushing Community Schools.

Linden Community Schools’ $55 million bond proposal

The Linden School Board originally voted to place the 25-year, $55-million bond on the May ballot, but the novel coronavirus pandemic prompted it to reschedule for the Tuesday, Nov. 3 ballot.

No changes have been made to the original proposal, and the net tax rate increase for residents remains at 1 mill. To reduce overall bond interest costs, the bonds will be sold in three series, district officials said.

If passed, the funds would go toward student safety and security, expanding and enhancing instructional spaces, remodeling, upgrading and constructing school facilities and upgrading technology, according to the district.

The proposal would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an estimated tax increase of $50 per year, according to the district.

Linden schools approves placing $55M bond on May ballot

The total school tax estimated for 2020, if the proposal passes, is 4.8 mills. Residents are still paying on a 25-year bond passed in 2003. They would pay an estimated 1.88 mills on the new bonds and 2.92 mills on existing bonds.

The bond millage rate is estimated to remain at 4.80 mills through 2028. After this it is estimated to decline due to bond repayment and taxable value growth.

The school district does not expect to borrow from the state to pay debt service on the bonds, officials said.

If passed, bond dollars would go toward projects including a new media center in Linden Elementary School, expanded media center in Linden High School and additional secure entrances to Central, Hyatt, and Linden elementary schools; Linden Middle School and Linden High School, according to the district.

Projects also include the relocation of the Early Childhood Center from Argentine Elementary School to Hyatt Elementary School, the construction of a new multipurpose center between Linden Middle School and Linden High School, development of areas for student collaboration and adding space for robotics instruction and STEM programming.

The school district worked with construction and architectural specialists, to complete an in-depth facility study in early 2019. The overall focus was to identify projects designed to upgrade and enhance the learning environment, officials said.

More bond information can be found on the district’s website.

Flushing Community Schools tax proposals:

Operating millage renewal:

This proposal would renew and restore the district’s 18-mill non-homestead property tax. This tax applies only to non-homestead, industrial, commercial and non-qualified agricultural property. It does not include primary residences.

The proposal would also allow the district to continue to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non-homestead property in the event of future Headlee rollbacks of up to 1 mill.

Michigan’s Headlee Amendment caps property tax increases at the rate of inflation. When the taxable values of properties rise faster than the rate of inflation, the actual tax levy is rolled back and funding decreases, which is known as a Headlee rollback.

The renewal will allow the district to continue to receive the full per-student state funding. If approved, it would provide an estimated $2.3 million to the district in 2021.

Building and site sinking fund millage extension

If approved by voters, the sinking fund millage approved in 2015, which expires in 2020, would be extended for 10 years.

Sinking funds are specific and restricted funds that only can be used for construction, renovations, repairs, security improvements and the acquisition or upgrade of technology – not salaries, benefits or even routine maintenance. It generates revenue, but doesn’t need to be paid back to a third party with interest, like a bond does.

If the extension is approved, it would provide $553,939 to the district during the 2021 calendar year.

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