SAGINAW, MI – Voters in Saginaw County will be asked to consider whether or not to approve multiple millages and proposals during the November general election.
Voters will decide the fate of a proposed millage that is the first of its kind in Saginaw County for the local Saginaw County Health Department. The millage is for 0.48 mills for 10 years to help provide funding for operational needs at the department. If approved, the millage is expected to raise $2,435,478 in its first year.
“The millage will allow us to sustainably and efficiently operate 1 to 2 mobile units to travel to out-county areas for back-to-school immunizations, COVID-19 testing, and flu shots as well as to enhance our services countywide beyond the walls of our building on Michigan Avenue,” Health Officer Chris Harrington said.
The millage aims to bridge a gap in decreased funding that the department says would leave it without the resources and required infrastructure to improve health outcomes in the county, to provide services and to respond to situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Funding for public health has drastically declined in Michigan in the last two decades. At the same time, local health departments are required by law to provide an increasing number of services. Resources to do their ‘regular jobs’ are already too scarce. They are simply inadequate when faced with unprecedented responses to new and emerging infectious diseases like swine flu, ebola, H1N1 and COVID-19,” reads a statement from the Saginaw County Health Department supporting the millage.
According to information provided by the department, the funding from the millage would be used to pay for the following needs:
– Sustained operation of mobile units returning services to out-county areas and enhancing services county-wide beyond the health department building on Michigan Avenue.
– A full-time epidemiologist to delve into Saginaw County’s higher-than-average cancer, asthma, heart disease, and mortality rates.
– A team of nurses for disease surveillance and investigation of more than 100 diseases including influenza, Hepatitis A, and COVID-19.
– New equipment and increased testing capacity for the public health laboratory.
– Enhanced public communications for reliable health information and education.
“Since I joined the health department as part-time medical director in January, I have been amazed at how our public health system works behind the scenes in Saginaw County to safeguard this community. We truly need local support to continue and improve these efforts,” said Dr. Delicia Pruitt, medical director at the Saginaw County Health Department.
Some Saginaw County voters will have two proposals to consider relating to educational institutions in the area.
Voters in the Saginaw Public School District will be asked to approve a nearly $100-million bond proposal.
The bond proposal asks for the funding to finance a construction, renovation and technology plan. The costs would cover building and furnishing new high school and elementary school buildings, as well as new technology, outdoor athletic facilities and playgrounds in the district.
The proposal would levy an estimated 7 mills for 2021, or $7 for every $1,000 in taxable property value. The bonds won’t go longer than 30 years, according to the proposal.
More information on the bond proposal can be found on the district’s website.
Saginaw County voters will join Bay and Midland County voters in deciding the fate of a millage renewal and Headlee restoration for Delta College.
The millage has two functions at its core – renew the current rate of 0.4864 mills and restore 0.0136 mills of funding reduced by provisions of the Headlee Amendment. This restoration will return the funding level to 0.5 mills, which was originally approved by voters in 1990, prior to the Headlee Amendment rollback in 1993. The Headlee Amendment requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation, according to the Michigan Municipal League.
“Now more than ever, Delta’s classes and programs are needed to help the region rebound and rebuild its economy following the economic downturn we’ve been experiencing,” Dr. Jean Goodnow, president of Delta College previously told MLive.
If approved, the millage would generate $5,705,218 in its first year and would be in effect for 8 years. Taxpayers who own a $100,000 home will continue to annually pay $24.32 for the renewal and the restoration will add an additional 68 cents annually.
According to information provided by Delta College, the facility annually serves more than 10,000 students and the college impacts the local economy to the tune of $406.6 million.
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