Mid Michigan College Ask Voters for Additional Millage in March

January 20, 2020

Mid’s Revenue Sources Compared to State Averages
At $949 per fiscal year equated student. Mid’s rate is considerable less than the state average, as well as its neighboring community colleges.

By Pat Maurer

At the March Primary Election, Mid Michigan College will ask voters to approve restoring the college charter millage, reduced to 1.2232 mills by the Headley rollbacks, to its original 1965 rate of 1.5 mills, established when Mid Michigan Community College became the 25th in Michigan. The Board of Trustees is also asking for an increase of .35 mills for a total of 1.85 mills ($1.85 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation).

If approved the .6262 mill increase for the next ten years will add $1,261,822 to MMC’s operational millage the first year in 2020 taxes and will provide funds for technologies for students and program and equipment to support the Health Sciences and Skilled Trades programs, according to information from Jessie Gordon, Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications at MMC.

One Clare resident expressed his concerns over the March 10 date for the millage request.

Former Clare Mayor Al Demarest said, “This is a classic example of what I call ‘a very low-key election’ with a minimum of information provided and no ‘get out to vote plea’ to the voters. The lowest possible turnout of voters is the name of the game.”

He continued, “We the taxpayers need honest justification and an explanation of ‘why’ this issue couldn’t have been voted on in November to give all voters, including the snowbirds, a chance to cast their ballots.”

The MMC Board of Trustees unanimously approved placing the millage request on the March ballot at their December 3rd meeting.

Property owners in Clare, Beaverton, Farwell, Gladwin and Harrison support the College’s operational funding through the charter millage. Those taxpayers, and their dependents, pay a lower tuition rate ($129 per contact hour, while out-of-district students pay $217 per contact hour.

Mid operates well below the state average in both revenue and expenses, Gordon said.

A 2017-18 graph shows Mid got 71 percent of its revenue from Tuition and Fees compared to the state average of 39 percent. Only nine percent of MMC revenue came from property taxes compared to the statewide average of 33 percent in the same year.

Compared to the other 28 community colleges in Michigan, MMC levies the second lowest millage rate; is the most dependent on tuition and fees for revenue; collects the lowest amount of property tax per ‘fiscal year equated students’ (FYES); and operates with the 4th lowest expenditures per FYES.

According to a preliminary draft of EMSI (Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.) findings about the economic impact of MMC, “In fiscal year 2018-19, Mid added an [estimated] $69.2 million in income in the MMC service area economy (1.8 percent of the region’s total gross regional product (GRP). Expressed in terms of jobs, [the preliminary impact analysis estimated that] Mid’s impact supported 1,314 jobs, or one out of every 43 jobs in the College’s Service area.”

Gordon said she is “in the process” of getting confirmation from EMSI about the findings and said, “The final report is being assembled.”

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