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Three Michigan Communities Approve Millages

Voters in the Kalamazoo area, Saginaw and Benzie County, MI, voted overwhelmingly Aug. 4 to enact or renew property tax millages to support public transportation in their communities.

Voters in the cities of Kalamazoo, Portage and Parchment, Kalamazoo and Comstock townships and part of Oshtemo Township—members of the new Central County Transportation Authority—approved the measure by a vote of 7,048 in favor and 4,200 opposed, according to preliminary totals. It provides for 0.75 mills for five years to maintain and expand fixed-route public transit service under the new authority, replacing a 0.6-mill levy in the city of Kalamazoo that expires at the end of this year.

In addition to maintaining current levels of fixed-route bus service, the new millage will add Sunday and late night services and increase frequencies on selected bus routes. Estimates show it generating $3.5 million annually.

In Saginaw, the unofficial vote totals show 1,415 in favor of renewing the 3-mill property tax for five years and 444 opposed. The millage had been scheduled to expire at the end of this year.

“We are overjoyed that the citizens of Saginaw consider public transportation part of their future and glad to see the overwhelming support we received,” said Sylvester Payne, general manager, Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services.

Benzie County voters approved a renewal of its half-mill property tax with almost three-quarters of the vote.
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