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BHS asking to restore operating millage

By Lisa Brody


On August 2, voters living in the Bloomfield Hills Schools district will be asked to consider a proposal to restore the operating millage, a proposal which if passed would restore and increase the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be levied by the Bloomfield Hills Schools for general operating purposes by 2 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempt by law.


According to the district, this millage restoration proposal is only for non-homestead taxpayers, not for primary households. It would not affect the tax rate of primary residential homeowners.


This authority, if approved and combined with the school district’s other unexpired authorization, would allow the district to continue to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempt by law, in the event of future Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment rollbacks.


The district's board of education unanimously approved a motion to place an operating restoration proposal millage on the August 2 ballot at their meeting on Thursday, April 28. The money will be used for day-to-day operating expenditures of the district which includes classroom instruction, instructional support, co-curricular activities, instructional and other supplies.


The current millage rate expires in 2025, and the district's financial team estimates the district is projected to only levy 16.8490 mills.


According to Karen Huyghe, director of communications, “The Headlee Amendment requires local governments, including schools, to reduce their millage rates if taxable values rise higher than the rate of inflation. This typically happens when properties are sold and reassessed. This is known as a Headlee rollback, and that has occurred in our district since 2016, after the voters approved the last non-homestead operating millage in 2015. It is an annual calculation, and it has reduced our authorized millage from 20 to 18.0838 mills over the past seven years.”


Rollbacks are expected over the next three years, 2023 to 2025, Huyghe said.


Without the restoration of this operating millage, Bloomfield Hills Schools is projected to lose $256,138 in 2023, $579,712 in 2024, and $908,548 in 2025 for a total impact of $1,744,398 in lost revenue.


“Rollbacks mean a permanent reduction in revenue that directly and negatively impacts student learning and the district’s ability to continue the level of educational programming the community has expected of Bloomfield Hills Schools,” Huyghe said.

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