Alpena Public Schools Non-Homestead Operating Millage Renewal Information
On February 27, 2024, voters will go to the polls to decide the renewal and restoration of Alpena Public Schools’ 18-mill levy ~ previously voted on and approved in 2016 ~ on non-homestead property for six years.
Although all registered voters may vote on this millage proposal, most do not pay the 18 mills operating millage.
This is NOT a tax on peoples’ homes, nor is this a new tax. It is:
- levied only on non-homestead property, such as businesses, commercial property, rental property, and vacation properties and second homes.
- an important way businesses and those with recreational property contribute financially to the schools in our community.
Operating Millage Proposal
Alpena Public Schools
This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its full revenue per pupil foundation allowance. This proposal will further renew millage that will expire with the 2024 tax levy and restore millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the “Headlee” amendment to the Michigan Constitution of 1963.
Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Alpena Public Schools, Alpena and Presque Isle Counties, Michigan, be renewed by 17.7769 mills ($17.7769 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 6 years, 2025 to 2030, inclusive, and also be increased by .2231 mill ($0.2231 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 6 years, 2025 to 2030, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2025 is approximately $9,743,659 (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2024 levy and a restoration of millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the “Headlee” amendment to the Michigan Constitution of 1963)?
Funding Sources for Alpena Public Schools
APS operates on an annual budget of $51 million. Where does it get that money?
Don’t Let the Language Confuse You!!
The actual ballot language refers to this tax levy as an “increase” and also a “renewal.” It’s really a renewal and restoration of the 18 mills voters approved against non-homestead property in 2016. Over the last 3 years, the Headlee Amendment has caused a gradual, fractional “rollback” to 17.7769 mills, so a small part of the total millage is not currently being levied. Renewing the 18 mills will bring us back to our original starting point.
Things To Think About
- All registered voters may cast ballots on the 18 mills, although most do not pay the tax because it is not levied on peoples’ homes or the family farm. The millage, which will raise a projected overall $9,743,659 million or approximately 17% of the district’s unrestricted revenue, is an important way business, industry, and those with recreational property contribute financially to public education.
- Homestead property (primary residences) owners are exempt from the operating millage. A taxpayer who only owns a homestead property will not pay, and has not paid, the 18 mills operating millage.
- The 18 mills sought on Feb. 27th replace the 18 mills expiring Dec. 31, 2024. It is not a new tax. If voters approve the renewal, it will be levied in 2025 and will expire Dec. 31, 2030. If the millage proposal is not approved by the voters, APS would need to make budget cuts to make up for the loss of $9,743,659 in revenues.
- Since the passage of Proposal A, school districts have received a per-pupil “Foundation” allowance that is currently about $9,608 per student this year. What you may not know is that the State is counting on the 18-mill non-homestead levy as part of the $9,608. That’s right! The State guarantees $9,608 per pupil but expects each community to kick in 18 mills. The State will not provide replacement funds for any community that chooses not to pay the 18-mill non-homestead tax or for funds lost through the Headlee rollback. If the voters in Alpena Public Schools say “no” the district is short 17% of its revenue. That’s why this election is critical. The 18-mill non-homestead levy is one essential piece of the school funding process that also includes the rest of the State’s foundation levy, federal aid, careful budgeting, cutbacks in jobs and spending.
Non-Homestead Operating Millage Renewal F.A.Q.
Alpena Public School District voters will have the opportunity to vote on an operating millage renewal proposal. On the ballot will be a Non-Homestead millage to levy 18 mills enabling the District to receive the full per-pupil allowance and restore millage lost to reduction.
What does Non-Homestead mean?
Non-homestead represents industrial, commercial, apartment buildings, and some agricultural property and “second homes.” It does not include a family’s primary residence.
How does this millage support the District’s funding?
Michigan schools are funded under a structure created when Michigan voters approved Proposal A in 1994. Under this proposal, Michigan schools are funded with a total of 24 mills on non-homesteads. This is made up of a statewide millage rate of 6 mills on all properties and 18 mills on non-homesteads. The 6 mills go to the State of Michigan to help fund the School Aid Fund. The 18 mills go directly to the district and are deducted from the per-pupil allowance the state provides to the district. When the 18 mills are reduced due to a Headlee rollback the state does not make up the difference. The district then receives a lesser per-pupil allowance.
Is this a new tax?
No. This tax has been in place since 1994. The voters last renewed this millage in August of 2016. The district has voter approval to levy this millage through 2024.
Will my residential school taxes increase?
No. This tax is on non-homestead property and does not apply to your primary residence.
How much will this cost my business?
Currently, a business with a taxable value of property established at $200,000 pays $3,555.38 ($200,000÷1,000)x17.7769. This millage would allow the district to once again levy the full 18 mills which, for that same business, would be $3,600 annually ($200,000÷1,000)x18, a change of $44.62 for the year.
What is the district currently able to levy?
Currently, the district is losing funding under a Headlee rollback and is only able to levy 17.7769 mills. Headlee rollbacks occur when the increase in property values out paces the rate of inflation. To date this rollback has cost the district $233,590.78. The State of Michigan does not make up this reduction.
Can the district use bond money to cover the loss if this is voted down?
No. Although the district has received revenue from a bond for district improvements, those funds are restricted by law to specific uses, which do not include general operating expenses.
What if the millage is not approved?
The estimated revenues generated from the 18 mills total $9,743,659 annually. The State will not replace the funding and Alpena Public Schools would be forced to reduce and cut programs to offset the loss.