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  • Lisa Brody and Dana Casadei

Township, school district, DIA ballot issues pass

Voters in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills turned out to cast ballots on or prior to Tuesday, March 10, in the presidential primary election, as well as to approve a 10-year, general fund operating millage in Bloomfield Township, a $195 million bond proposal for Birmingham Public Schools to provide funding to address facility needs and a renewal of the Oakland County Art Institute Authority Millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts. BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP Voters in Bloomfield Township provided a decisive victory for renewal of a 10-year, general fund operating millage that generates about $5 million a year, by a margin of 65 percent support to 35 in opposition. Of the 17,205 votes cast, 11,171 supported the millage renewal, with 6,034 voters voting against, the renewal which will “continue to be used to support and fund the operations of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, including but not limited to, Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Department of Public Works and all other general operations of the Charter Township of Bloomfield. Approval of this proposal would permit a tax levy of up to $1.2401 per $1,000 of taxable value on all taxable property in the Charter Township of Bloomfield as reduced by required millage rollbacks,” per the ballot language. It is estimated it will generate $5.1 million in the first year of its levy and collection, which will be in December 2020. “We were very pleased with the results,” said township supervisor Leo Savoie. “I'm just pleased with the voters, that they understood the issues and did not let a small group of voters, with a different agenda, hold the community hostage.” All precincts in the township but one, precinct four, located at Bowers Farm on E. Square Lake Road between Squirrel and Adams roads, supported the millage renewal. Services in the township for police, fire and EMS are expected to be maintained at their current level. BIRMINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS Voters in the Birmingham Public Schools district gave a thumbs up to districtwide site and capital improvements, 76 percent, 16,390 votes, to 24 percent, 5115 votes, against. Birmingham Public Schools includes voters in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Southfield Township, Troy and West Bloomfield. The bond proposal passed overwhelming in all communities and in all precincts. Among the major features of the $195 million bond proposal are building and site enhancements and improvements to every school within the district; high school athletic field enhancements; Midvale preschool and senior center site improvements; purchase of school buses; security system and technology enhancements; and critical infrastructure improvements,including HVAC, roofing, plumbing and electrical. School officials have said they expect the annual debt millage to remain at or below the 3.8 mills levied in 2019. DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS Unofficial results listed Wednesday morning by the Oakland County Clerk's Election Division showed Oakland County voters approved the Oakland County Art Institute Authority Millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts millage with 75.73 percent, or 268,337 votes, in support, and only 24.27 percent, or85,986 votes, opposed. In Bloomfield Township, 75.65 of those casting ballots supported the renewal compared to the 24.32 percent of voters in opposition. The percentage of voters in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills supporting the DIA tax were considerably higher, coming in at 84.15 percent and 80.88 percent for the renewal, respectively. The proposal renewed a 10-year millage from 2012 to provide county residents with services from the DIA through the Oakland County Art Institute Authority. The DIA was permitted by law to seek a renewal of the millage, which wasn't set to expire until 2022, at a rate of no more than the current .2 mill. Revenue from this millage will be disbursed to the Art Institute Authority and then transferred to the DIA as permitted by Public Act 296 of 2010. It is estimated that once approved and levied, this millage renewal will generate approximately $13.6 million in 2022 from Oakland County taxpayers.

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