Renew. Restore. Reclaim.

 

Date of election: May 4, 2021

Poll hours: 7 am to 8 pm

Polling location:  City of Romulus, Wayne County, MI

Proposal term: 10 years starting in 2022

Also, taxable value increases are capped at the lesser of the rate of inflation or 5%. SEV continues to grow uncapped, and taxable value=SEV when a property transfers ownership.

  1. How much will the millage cost primary homeowners? 
    A successful vote will result in NO increase to primary homeowners because the millage is not levied on a taxpayer’s primary residence.
  2. Why is the district asking for this millage?
    After the 2021 millage levied in July, the district will be without non-homestead millage unless it is approved by voters.
  3. If the millage passes, how much will this mean for the education of each student on the average?  
    Based on an estimate of 2,500 students in the district, the $10,230,000 raised would amount to $4,100 per student.
  4. Reason for request: 
    • To restore the funding level of 18 mills that voters approved in May 2011
    • To get full per student operational dollars of $8,902 as approved for the current year
    • To restore millage eroded from the effect of the Headlee Rollback
  5. Has the district experienced a Headlee Rollback?
    Yes, since the last non-homestead election for the district in 2011, a Headlee Rollback of millage occurred which now costs the district about $180,000 annually in lost revenue.
  6. What is a Headlee Rollback?
    A rollback occurs because of Proposal A’s impact on the Headlee law when properties are sold, and the assessed value has increased.
  7. How can you prevent a Headlee Rollback?
    In the ballot language, the district is asking voters to approve a millage level that will bring the rolled back rate of 17.6836 mills back to 18.0 mills by asking for an “increase” back to the 18.0 mills, plus a small hedge to allow for any potential future Headlee rollbacks.  In any event, the district will be prohibited from levying more than the 18 mills for non-homestead purposes.  This is the maximum allowable by law.  The total non-homestead operating levy is capped and cannot go higher than 18 mills.
  8. Ballot description:
    The School District can ask voters to “renew” only the 17.6836 non-homestead operating mills that it is currently authorized to levy.  The School District can also ask voters to authorize an “increase” of up to 0.5 additional mills in the same ballot proposal.
  9. How did Proposal A in 1994 change local taxation?
    After the passage of Proposal A in March 1994 by the voters of Michigan (69% Yes, 31% No), average operational mills decreased to 6 mills levied on homeowners by the State for the State Education Tax (SET), and a maximum of 24 mills for non-homesteads (6 mills for the SET, 18 maximum mills levied by schools). This reduction in property taxes, and increase in State revenues for schools, changed the State/local funding mix to approximate an 80%/20% split.    Source: Senate Fiscal Agency Feb 2019
  10. How did the method of financing schools change?
    In general, local taxation for operations (not including debt/capital or sinking fund) is capped at 18 mills levied on the taxable value of non-homestead property, with no operational mills levied on homesteads (there is an exception for “hold-harmless” districts). 
    • How is a homestead defined?
      Taxpayer’s primary residence, including noncommercial agricultural property. 
    • What does “non-homestead” mean?
      Non-homestead represents industrial, commercial and some agricultural property and “second homes.”  It does not include a family’s primary residence. 
  • Also, taxable value increases are capped at the lesser of the rate of inflation or 5%. SEV continues to grow uncapped, and taxable value=SEV when a property transfers ownership.
  1. If the millage did not pass, could the district operate anyway?
    The estimated millage revenue of  $10.23 million amounts to about one-third of all district revenue with its $31 million budget.  It would be extremely difficult for the district to operate without this amount of revenue.  If this millage does not pass, the State will not replace the funding, and Romulus Community Schools will be forced to reduce or cut programs to offset the loss.
  2. What property will be affected if the millage passes?
    The millage will be applied to all property EXCEPT principal residence and other property exempted by law in Romulus Community Schools.  This is typically businesses, rental property, second homes, some vacant land, and commercial/industrial properties.
  3. I thought schools no longer received funding through property taxes, so why are they talking about a millage renewal?
    Funding for school districts changed significantly in 1994 when the Michigan voters passed Proposal A.  Under Proposal A, the State pays the majority of the cost, but to receive full funding, schools must levy the maximum 18 mills on non-homestead property in their district.
  4. Can the district use sinking fund money to cover an operating loss?
    No, these funds are restricted by law and cannot be used for operational expenditures.
  5. What other area districts have recently passed a non-homestead millage proposal?
    Detroit Community School District recently and Redford Union Schools both passed 18 mill non-homestead proposals.