On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the General Election, voters in the Kentwood Public School District will be asked to consider renewing the current assessment of 18 mills on non-homestead properties.
There are two very important things to understand about this request:
- This is a renewal of the current assessment of 18 mills on non-homestead properties. Non-homestead properties are primarily properties that have not been designated as a primary residence
- This millage provides approximately 16.9%, or over $18.2 million, of the school district's annual budget.
Questions and Answers
The following questions and answers are provided for your information so that you may cast an informed vote.
WHAT IS MEANT BY HOMESTEAD AND NON-HOMESTEAD PROPERTIES?
When Michigan voters passed Proposal A in 1993, Michigan’s property taxes for schools were restructured and reduced. Property was divided into two categories: homestead and non-homestead. A homestead property is your primary residence (the home where you live). Non-homestead properties include land and buildings such as businesses, rental properties and vacation homes that have not been designated as a primary residence.
IS THIS A NEW TAX?
No. This millage has been in place since 1994 with the passage of Proposal A. KPS voters last approved a levy for 18.9718 mills on non-homestead property in May 2009. The current millage expires with the 2019 tax levy.
WHY IS THIS ISSUE ON THE BALLOT NOW?
Under Proposal A, renewal of the 18 mills is required periodically by voters in order for the district to continue collecting this millage. Because our authorization expires in 2019, we need voter approval to continue collecting these dollars, which are crucial in maintaining Kentwood’s educational programs.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT HOMEOWNERS?
If approved, homeowners will not see an increase in their property taxes. In other words, this millage renewal will not change the taxes on your primary residence. This tax is levied on non-homestead properties only, such as commercial properties and second homes.
HOW MUCH OF OUR LOCAL SCHOOL BUDGET DOES THIS NON-HOMESTEAD MILLAGE FUND?
The current assessment of 18 mills that voters are being asked to approve is used to fund a significant part of the school district’s operating budget. Approximately 16.9%, or over $18.2 million, of the annual budget comes from the 18-mill non-homestead tax assessment.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THIS MILLAGE DOES NOT PASS?
If the request for the renewal of the 18 mills non-homestead were not approved, Kentwood Public Schools would lose more than $18.2 million (16.9%) of funding for the 2019-20 school year and a similar amount each following year. Voter approval is the only way the district can receive these dollars. Losing over $18.2 million of the district’s operating budget would have a major impact on the educational programs offered to students and the community.
WHY IS THE DISTRICT ASKING FOR 18.8033 MILLS, WHEN BY LAW, THE DISTRICT CAN ONLY LEVY 18?
The 1979 Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution added a provision to require a “roll back” in millage rates if the local non-homestead tax base (taxable value) increases more than the rate of inflation. Like most districts in the state, Kentwood Public Schools request that the voters authorize additional mills even though we can only levy 18 mills per year. Thus, if we experience a “Headlee Rollback,” we would not have to have another expensive election to restore the non-homestead tax.
WHAT ABOUT ABSENTEE BALLOTS?
Applications for absentee ballots will be available from your local township or city clerk on or before Saturday, March 23, 2019.
WHEN IS THE ELECTION?
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Last day to register to vote in this election is April 22, 2019.
WHERE DO I VOTE?
Voting will take place at the polling locations which have been designated by your local township/city clerk. Contact and precinct information are included below.
Kentwood Public Schools
5820 Eastern Ave
Kentwood, MI 49508