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Michigan counties are limited in their revenue options by state statute. Like all counties in Michigan, the majority of Lenawee County’s general revenue, that funds operations, comes from the property tax. This dependence on the property tax has been a struggle for the County due to several factors:
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RENEWAL OF SEPARATE TAX LIMITATION PROPOSAL
As provided in MCL 211.2015c, by petition from the tax allocation board, shall the separate tax limitations, first established in 1968, be renewed and established for a period of four (4) years, 2018 through 2021, inclusive, or until altered by the voters of the County, for the County of Lenawee, the Townships therein, and for the Lenawee Intermediate School District, the aggregate of which shall not exceed 7.05 mills, as follows:
County of Lenawee 5.75
Lenawee Intermediate School District 0.30
The Countywide impact expected 2018 additional levy on $100,000 home:
If the renewal passes Lenawee County will be able to continue services that the residents of Lenawee County expect. At the same time, the Lenawee County Board of Commissioners will continue to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. It is not expected that the maximum levy rate will be applied any time soon. The determination of the millage rate in any given year will be subject to the requirements of the Uniform Budgeting Act which requires the Board of Commissioners to hold a public hearing on the budget including the millage rate.
The Michigan Constitution and state laws require that counties perform certain functions. These are often referred to as mandated functions. Other services have evolved over time in Lenawee County because they met the needs of our citizens. Some of these services are:
The table below lists most of the mandated and non-mandated services. There are also county departments that exist in support of both mandated and non-mandated functions such as the Maintenance Department, Information Technology and Administration.
2018 Budget A & B Summary
Lenawee County has struggled to provide adequate funding for services since the start of the 2008 Great Recession. After eight years of cuts, adjustments and transfers the commission has run out of options to keep the current service levels and keep up with facility demands within the existing revenue structure.
The Tax Allocation Board reviewed financial information from all of the local units of government that levy allocated millage. Presentations were made to the board by representatives of all types of local units.
No, the Tax Allocation Board had several options and gave consideration to all. They reviewed doing nothing, which would have left local units with no change in their revenue options. They reviewed setting new millage limitations, which could have reallocated millages. Finally, they reviewed renewal of the previous limitation which they determined would provide local units options and not create the confusion of setting new limitations.
The Tax Allocation Board petitioned the County Board of Commissioners to place renewal of the 1968 tax limitations on the first available ballot. The renewal will last four years, 2018 through 2021 inclusive, or until changed by the voters of the county.
The authority of the Tax Allocation Board is limited to the levy rate for the County of Lenawee, all of the general law townships in the county and the allocated portion of the Lenawee Intermediate School District levy. Those governmental bodies whose millages are not affected by the renewal are cities, villages, charter townships and the charter millage portion of the LISD.
The Lenawee County Board of Commissioners, on a unanimous vote, received the petition from the Tax Allocation Board and placed the renewal on the first available ballot. Given the time frames involved that is the November 7, 2017 election.
Lenawee County did have reserves however, it has been necessary to use general fund reserves and transfers from non-general funds to maintain services for the last eight years. With the rising costs of doing business money management is no longer enough to keep moving forward.
Lenawee County has taken several steps over the last eight years to reduce costs and contain expenses. For example: