Operating millage proposal on Spring Lake ballot

Krystle Wagner • Oct 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Voters in the Spring Lake Public Schools district will see a proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot tied to funding.

The two-year, 18-mill operating millage renewal excludes principal residences and other exempt properties. The district would receive an estimated $2.91 million in the first year, according to the ballot language.

If districts don’t receive funding from the operating millage, the state doesn’t make it up, said Scott Powers, the Spring Lake district’s chief financial operator.

Spring Lake school district voters will also see a “Headlee override” proposal on the ballot.

Districts seek a “Headlee override” when taxable values of homes, businesses and land rise faster than the rate of inflation. A constitutional clause caps how much districts can collect, Powers explained.

Given the rising prices in West Michigan, more districts are seeing voter approvals for a “Headlee override,” Powers said.

The only way to avoid an override would be to put the operating millage on the ballot annually, but there’s a cost to having such a proposal on the ballot every year, Powers said.

Districts can’t levy more than 18 mills, and the override ensures they can collect the full 18 mills voters approve with the operating millage.

“It allows districts to collect what voters approved,” Powers said.

Spring Lake school district voters previously approved a “Headlee override.” The district would have lost out on collecting between $30,000 and $35,000 in the first year, and about $100,00 in the second year if it hadn’t been approved, Powers said.

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