GENESEE COUNTY — The Michigan State University Extension in Genesee County will ask voters Nov. 5 to approve a proposed .04-mill property tax.
At stake are programs like the 4-H, master gardener and other agricultural services the extension office offer. They have managed to keep going since a similar proposal was defeated by voters in 2012, due to the generosity of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners., who contributed $55,000 to the MSU Extension’s budget this past year.
Next year, however, the board won’t be able to fund the programs without a vote of the people.
With a $1.6-million deficit the county cannot justify spending its money on the extension services, according to officials.
Local millages failed in both Schoolcraft and Oscoda and resulted in the closure of their extension offices in the past year. A failure of the Nov. 5 proposal in Genesee County would mean the same fate here.
The proposed tax would cost the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 about $4 a year, generating an estimated $342,000 in the first of four years.
The request is double that of what was asked for in 2012.
“Ninety-nine years of 4-H and if our 0.04 mills (four cents on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) doesn’t get enough ‘yes’ votes on Tuesday, Nov. 5 — we’re done in Genesee County,” said Beth Brancheau, a Davison 4-H Livestock Club Leader. “No more 4-H for the 4,000 county youth. Deb Caryl and I can’t stand the thought of no more kids in the Davison 4-H.”
The millage has the endorsement of the UAW Region 1-C; state Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint; and the Genesee County Democratic Party, among others. — Gary Gould