FLINT TWP. — Carman- Ainsworth school’s requests for an increase in its sinking fund millage and the setting of a higher millage rate to bypass annual Headlee Amendment losses to its budget were shot down by voters, Tuesday.
Voters rejected a 1-mill increase in the district’s sinking fund, potentially generating $750,000 a year from 2019 to 2023; and a Headlee Amendment override not to exceed 2.1314 mills that would have generated $45,000 a year for the same period.
The vote against the sinking fund issue was 821-1,197, while voters nixed the Headlee Amendment override by a 931-1,085 vote.
Superintendent Eddie Kindle said security concerns were the reason the district was asking for a sinking fund increase, citing the district’s plans to install more than 300 quick action locks on classrooms throughout Carman-Ainsworth’s school buildings.
Voters approved the current 18-mill operating millage and 0.5- mill sinking fund in 2004 and renewed them in 2013. However, since 2004, officials said revenue has decreased by nearly 30 percent; that means the district receives $141,000 less today than it did in 2004.
Currently the district levies a ½ mill for the sinking fund, generating $350,000-400,000 annually.
The second issue on the May 7 ballot was a Headlee Amendment override. Assistant Superintendent Russ Parks said the current operating millage is 18-mills, but the district currently does not receive the full amount because the rate is reduced when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation, due to the Headlee Override Proposition.
A Headlee override would have returned the millage to the 18 mills originally authorized by the community. Restoring the levy to the full 18 mills could have generated an additional $45,000 a year, said Parks.
Carman-Ainsworth has 18 mills, that generates approximately $6,450,000 in revenue, but in 2018, a Headlee Override reduced mills by .1314, losing $45,000 in revenue, he said.
When Michigan voters approve Proposal A in 1994, it established a statutory rate of 18 mills for non-homestead, that goes directly to the schools. This is assessed only on businesses, rental properties and vacation homes.
Parks said in 2018, the district had a Headlee Override – which happens when taxable values go up over the rate of inflation. The override is a rollback on the rate of inflation. This rollback caused the reduction in the 18 mills, thus creating a $45,000 loss in revenue.
Reaction from district officials was not available at press time.