TAWAS CITY – Iosco Count voters may think they had a case of déjà vu in November when voting on millage proposals, but it’s not in their heads.
This is because the Iosco County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously during their meeting, held over video conferencing Aug. 5, to reintroduce failed millage language for an increase in the county operation budget, back onto the November ballot.
The county operation millage increase failed the night before as a result of the Aug. 4 primary election. The millage lost with 3,816 “no” votes, or 52.43 percent of the vote, against 3,462 “yes” votes, or a difference of 354 votes, or 47.57 of the vote.
The failed millage asked voters to approve a millage increase to take the county millage rate back to 4.5 mills, which was the 1976 allocated rate. The millage was “rolled back” over the years from that rate due to the Headlee Rollback Amendment, which dictates that a millage cannot increase more than the rate of inflation.
If the millage were approved, the millage increase would have been an increase of .5871 mills, to make the county’s total operating millage rate to 4.5 mills for a period of 12 years.
During the meeting, Iosco County Clerk and Co-Administrator Nancy Huebel brought up the fact that the millage failed and asked if commissioners would like to put it back on the November ballot for another vote.
Commissioner Terry Dutcher immediately cast a motion to put the millage back on the ballot, and was seconded by Commissioner John Moehring.
“We have no choice,” said Dutcher, of the motion.
Moehring said that this time around, members of the county government needed to go out and really campaign for the millage and express the importance that it get passed.
“I think anything we can do to promote this, we should do,” he said. “We have time, not a whole lot of time, but we have a couple months to do some education and tell the voters just how important this is and what the ramifications would be of not having this.”
Chairman Robert Huebel said he thought it was important for all the commissioners to be in contact with their districts to express the importance of the millage’s passage in November after the August defeat.
“We need to just truly get out there and be somewhat vocal, but it’s tough right now because you can’t go out and there are not groups that are all meeting together that you can talk to, but anything that we can do would be well worth it,”: Huebel said.
Vice Chairman Jay O’Farrell said that he thought the county’s employees should get on board with promoting the passage of the millage as well.
“We are looking at some real dire consequences coming up if we don’t get this approved,” he said. “But it is what it is, these are different times that we have had in the past. The handwriting is on the wall and everyone should dig in and try to explain to the voting public why it needs passed.”
O’Farrell said that he thought there was some confusion on the way the millage language was written and how it was presented to the public.
“I plan on handing it in my five townships and districts,” he said. “I am going to try to make it as clear as possible. People in the county should know this is important to get passed.”
Moehring directed Nancy Huebel to come up with some talking points so that commissioners could visit various meetings, online or otherwise, and talk about the need for the millage to be passed in November.
“I also think that in the November election we will also have a greater number of voters turn out,” he said. “This was the primary and I think the general election is going to have more votes and just give us a better chance in November.”
Robert Huebel said he did not see the millage request as the the county begging for funding from the public.
“We are looking for a millage increase, but it’s very well needed to just keep the services that we provide up and running and personally that is what I would say that we’re going after,” Huebel said. “We have to provide the services and we’re not going to be able to do it, we’re not going to be able to employ the people or provide those services.”