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West Bloomfield Schools Millage Proposal Approved for May 2013 Ballot

Voters will decide on 1.25-mill, 14-year building and site sinking fund proposal in special election.

The 2013 election picture got a little clearer at the West Bloomfield School Board meeting Monday with the approval of a building site and sinking fund millage proposal.

The district will ask voters to pass a 14-year, 1.25-mill ($1.25 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, or $125/year for taxpayers in a home with a taxable value of $100,000) proposal in a special election May 7. The first levy will, if approved, take place on July 1, 2013. 

The millage is expected to raise $30.25 million if approved for the district to use primarily on upgrades or repairs. The district's school enrollment and facilities committee identified $23.1 million in needed repairs, including $4.1 million of work at the high school, $9 million at the district's two middle schools and $10 million of work at the district's five elementary schools.

Deputy Superintendent Thomas Goulding said that a 10-year proposal (ending June 2023) was considered by the district's finance committee in addition to the 14-year proposal (ending June 2027) in order to not intersect with the election in which voters will consider the district's 10-year millage operating renewal (ending June 2025).

The district's millage operating renewal vote will come before voters in Nov. 2014.

Trustee David Einstandig that he felt asking voters in May would likely offer the proposal a better chance to pass than asking voters in November.

"You have to balance the risk with the reward and the committee felt ... it made sense to recommend 14 versus 10, given the information we have to date," he said.

A 10-year, 1.5 millage proposal was rejected by voters in the Nov. 6 general election. No voters amounted to 52.78 percent of the vote, while 47.22 percent voted yes. 

Goulding said that, if the millage proposal is the only issue on the ballot for voters to consider in May, it could cost the district between $25,000-$30,000.

Superintendent Gerald Hill added that the committee felt asking voters to approve a sinking fund was beneficial versus selling bonds, in order to capitalize on a decrease in interest rates as a result of the district paying off its current bonds.

In September, the board voted to close Ealy Elementary School at the end of the school year, as well as to consider the future closures of the Administrative and Community Services building and Roosevelt Elementary School. 

art December 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Ah yes, when the voters rejected the Nov voting, you knew the next step is the old "Put in May for the no show voter" and win the bigger levy lotto. Pathetic!
Louise Cantor December 19, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Leadership has not explained what repairs need to be addressed at all district buildings and how soon. The most recent bond took care of the district's most costly upgrades/repairs so this continues to be about raising new revenue to keep the district from going back into deficit. Leadership should be honest with voters about this smoke and mirrors sinking fund millage ballot question and not waste another $25,000 - $30,000 on another attempt at passing this millage in May. Walled Lake Schools had success because the Walled Lake School Board members are better caretakers of the district's finances. They did not ask for more than what they needed and the voters trust them.

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