CORUNNA — The Michigan Secretary of State has approved Shiawassee County’s 2020 presidential primary ballots, according to Clerk Caroline Wilson, and area voters will face a slew of Democratic nominees — as well as several millage proposals, some of which are renewals, while others seek new tax money.
Durand is seeking a millage to subsidize its fire and ambulance services. The proposal, if passed, will levy add an additional 1.65 mills to property owners for 10 years. It would generate $104,647.40 in the first year.
According to City Manager Colleen O’Toole, the Durand Fire Department has a variety of needs.
“The Durand Fire Department is a major part of our first responder services. Our firefighters are often first on scene and quick to assist our ambulance service provider during medical emergencies,” O’Toole said. “Including fire services in the existing millage will allow the city to continue to support the role the fire department plays in these activities and improve existing training and equipment available to our firefighters.”
If the millage is passed the first priority would be replacing the city’s primary fire pumper — Engine 602.
“Engine 602 has been in service since 1997, which makes it 23 years old. This truck was set up to be ready for any type of emergency call. We’ve had a good run with Engine 602, but we are starting to experience minor performance issues which could lead to downtime. The city would like to purchase a new truck exactly like 602 so we can keep everyone in the city as safe as possible,” Durand Fire Chief Nick Spaniola said.
Owosso has a new bond proposal for street improvements. At its Dec. 16 regular meeting, the Owosso City Council members voted 6-0 to place a 20-year, $10-million bond proposal before voters.
Funds from the 2016 street bond have almost been spent, officials have said previously.
“The city engineer estimated that the first bond would halt the decline of city streets,” City Manager Nathan Henne said. “We have made improvements to 17 percent of the roads that were rated fair to poor. Another $10 million would reverse that process and actually improve overall the street system in the city.”
Since the vote in 2016, bond funds have been used to improve sections of Chestnut, Chipman, Stewart, Oliver, Monroe, McMillan, Gould, Howard, Stewart, Olmstead, Harding, Hanover, Washington, Ryan, 7th, North, Abrey, Allendale, Monroe, Palmer, Wiliams, Cedar, Clark and Summit streets.
The average millage to be levied if the proposal is passed per year is 2.98 mills.
New Haven Township voters will decide whether to renew funding for the Shiawassee Area Transportation Authority.
SATA provides bus rides to county residents within its service areas. If the proposal is passed, New Haven Township will levy about 0.3 of a mill for four years.
Officials estimate the township will receive up to $15,497 the first year if the millage is approved.
The Chesaning Union School District is trying to pass the same sinking fund millage proposal that failed during the Aug. 6, 2019, election. The proposal would fund upgrades and renovations to the districts buildings.
The five-year proposal would generate approximately $244,000 per year for capital improvements.
Voters approved a 29-year, $28-million bond proposal for the district in 2014, which resulted in a levy of 5.62 mills.
The 0.75-mill proposal would span five years.
The Ingham Immediate School District (IISD) has a millage proposal that affects some residents in Woodhull Township.
The IISD serves some disabled students in Shiawassee County’s southwest corner. The proposal would increase the millage rate in Woodhull by 0.243 mills for 20 years and generate roughly $2.3 million over its lifespan.
While many area residents will face tax questions, the star of the March election is the presidential primary.
When selecting a nominee for president, Shiawassee County Clerk Caroline Wilson wants residents to know many of the names on the ballot belong to people who have since dropped out of the race.
The candidates listed on the ballot for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate include Sens. Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former U.S. Representatives John Delaney and Joe Sestak, businessmen Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, former Obama Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and author Marianna Williamson.
On the Republican side, voters will choose between current President Donald Trump, former U.S. Representatives Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh, and former Gov. Bill Weld.
Since meeting the requirements to be placed on the ballot, Booker, Castro, Sestak and Williamson have dropped out of the race on the Democratic side, and Sanford on the Republican side.
Shiawassee County is often considered a bellwether county when it comes to presidential elections. The last times the county voted for the losing candidates was for Thomas Dewey and Gerald Ford.
More recently, Shiawassee County was deemed one of 206 “Pivot Counties” in the nation that voted twice for President Barack Obama then switched and voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.