Voters Asked to Renew Lowell Area Schools Sinking Fund

In November 2013, voters approved a 1 mill, seven-year proposal for a Lowell Area Schools Building & Site Fund, commonly known as a sinking fund. The proposal generated money for the construction and repair of school buildings and facilities.

That millage is expiring, and Lowell Area Schools is asking voters to renew it with a new millage that will pay for both structural maintenance as well as technology needs. If approved by voters, 1 mill would be added to property tax bills for the next six years.

One mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value. Therefore, a home with a $100,000 taxable value will pay $100 per year in property tax for this millage should the proposal pass. In Michigan, a property’s taxable value is set at half the assessed value at the time of a sale.

Funding for Security, Technology

If passed, the sinking fund millage is expected to raise more than $900,000 per year from 2021 to 2026. Lowell Area Schools Superintendent Greg Pratt says that money will be vital to keep area schools competitive and help create a vibrant community.

“High quality schools produce a quality work force, attract and retain business investment and attract and retain new families,” Pratt notes. “Lowell has enjoyed excellent quality schools, and we want to continue to be the school district of choice in this area.”

By law, money in school sinking funds can only be used for certain purposes such as building improvements, security enhancements and technology upgrades. Money from a sinking fund can’t be used for salaries, buses and classroom furnishings such as desks although it can free up cash in the general fund for these and other purposes.

Lowell Area Schools expects to use a portion of the money from the sinking fund to ensure all students have access to technology. According to the district, funds may be used for Chromebooks, smartboards, printers, projection units and desktop computers. Building maintenance is another planned use for the sinking fund.

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Other Races on the August Ballot

The sinking fund proposal isn’t the only issue on the August ballot. There will also be primary races for federal and state government positions. Voters can choose to cast their ballot for Democratic or Republican candidates, and most races on the ballot are uncontested.

However, on the Democratic ballot, two people are running to become their party’s candidate for the 86th District in the Michigan House of Representatives:

  • Sue Hayes
  • Jeff Merritt

The winner will face the Republican incumbent, Representative Thomas A. Albert, on the November ballot.

On the Republican ballot, five people are running for their party’s nomination to represent the Michigan 3rd District in the U.S. Congress:

  • Lynn Afendoulis
  • Joe Farrington
  • Peter Meijer
  • Thomas J. Norton
  • Emily Rafi

The winner will face the Democratic nominee, Hillary Scholten, on the November ballot as well as incumbent Congressman Justin Amash, who is an Independent.

The election will be held on August 4, 2020. However, those who prefer to vote from home can request an absentee ballot for any reason. Voters may request an absentee ballot application from their municipality’s clerk or print one online.

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