May 2nd Election Information: Operating Millage Renewal

Watersmeet Township Voters


On May 2, 2023, a millage renewal election is going to be held for Watersmeet Township Operations. The local operating millage comes up for renewal typically every four years.

The State of Michigan allows townships to levy 1.77 mills as part of their winter property tax collection in order to cover operating costs.  Townships can levy additional millages if approved by voters.  The ballot proposal is seeking a renewal of the 3.5 mills that has been approved by voters since 2001. The amount requested doesn’t reflect an increase, although costs for the township have increased tremendously since the last renewal. Assuming passage of the renewal millage, it would remain in effect until April 1, 2027.

You are all aware of how inflation is affecting all our lives and is having a similar effect on the township. The township board has made every effort to keep operating costs down in the past and has not always levied the full millage approved by voters.  For example, this past year the Township levied 3.1867 of the approved 3.5 mills, for a total of 4.93 mills when combined with the State allotted millage.   Efforts will continue to minimize operating costs but the Township has no control over things such as lights, electricity, heating, fuel, insurance premiums and many others.

Examples of some of the costs associated with general operation of the township for 2022-23 were as follows. Police protection, $199,853.00; Fire (including EMS), $76,503.04; Roads, $109,768.59; Transfer Station, $87,214.60; and Insurance, Payroll Tax and Pension, $130.403.15. A copy of the Revenue and Expenditure Report for the fiscal year April 1, 2022-March 31, 2023 can be seen here (2022-2023 Watersmeet Revenue and Expenditure Report).

The 3.5 operating millage will generate an estimated $703,826.00 in revenue.  The 1.77 mills allowed by the State will generate an estimated $355,935.00.  Combined revenue from both millages is $1,059,761.00, sufficient to cover operating costs.  If renewal of the 3.5 operating millage is not approved by voters, Watersmeet Township still will be able to levy the 1.77 mills.  However, the amount of money generated will not cover the operational costs described above.  For the township to continue providing current services, and possibly expand some of them, we need the Renewal to pass.

Failure of the Renewal means making serious cuts to the budget.  For example, Police protection would be limited, if at all available.  Emergency vehicles (Fire, EMT, Police) would not receive necessary maintenance.  Transfer station hours would be greatly reduced.  We would be unable to maintain roads.  These are just a few examples.

The township board hopes that those voting consider the impacts of the millage renewal passing or failing on their voting decision. Voters should keep in mind what their decision will mean for the level and type of services the township will provide for this fiscal year and the implications it will have for services being offered in the future.

For the township to continue providing current services, and possibly expand some of them, we need the Renewal to pass.

Please exercise your right to vote on May 2, 2023.  (Click here for sample ballot)

If you have any questions regarding the millage renewal proposal don’t hesitate to contact any of us to clarify them. This millage renewal is extremely important for the future of our township.

Watersmeet Township Board

Mike Rogers, Supervisor
Julie Mathiesen, Clerk
Paul Kemppainen, Treasurer
Yvonne Clark, Trustee
Alan Piel, Trustee