Zeeland Public Schools will be on the ballot May 2 with a proposal to renew the 18-mill non-homestead property tax for one year. Last November, voters approved the Headlee Restoration for the 2016 and 2017 tax years, bringing ZPS to the guaranteed state minimum. If approved, this vote will renew the levy for 2018 and includes the Headlee Restoration. The tax is levied on industrial, commercial, and some agricultural property. It does not affect the taxes of a primary homeowner.
The annual operating millage renewal represents 10% of the budget, totaling $8.9 million for Zeeland Public Schools.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the non-homestead proposal on May 2.
- Q. Why is this referred to as a “non-homestead” ballot issue?
Because it is not levied on a resident’s primary home, but on industrial, commercial, some agricultural property, and second homes.
- Is this a new tax?
A. No. The 18-mill levy has been levied every year since 1995.
- How will this affect my property taxes?
A. If you do not own any non-homestead property (a business or a second home) in the Zeeland Pubic Schools district, you do not pay this tax. Regardless, you are still eligible to vote.
- Doesn’t the state guarantee per-student funding?
A. No. By law, in order to receive full funding from the state, school districts must collect a local non-homestead millage. Therefore it is critical for schools to collect 18 mills on non-homestead property in order to receive full funding.
- What does the 18 mills pay for?
A. The millage represents 10% of the ZPS budget used for critical operating costs, including staff wages, classroom supplies, building maintenance, snow removal, grounds care, and bus transportation.
- What if the renewal does not pass?
A. ZPS revenues would be reduced by $8.9 mil of tax dollars. This would reduce our funding to an amount less than the state minimum guideline per student, placing the district in a category of the lowest funded schools in the state.
- Who can vote on the ZPS non-homestead millage proposal?
A. All registered voters living in the Zeeland Public Schools district. You vote at the precinct you normally attend when voting in a presidential election.
- What is the official ballot language?
A. This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2017 tax levy.
Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 18.776 mills ($18.776 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Zeeland Public Schools, Ottawa and Allegan Counties, Michigan, be renewed for the year 2018 to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2018 is approximately $8,948,677 (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2017 tax levy)?
- Is the ZPS proposal a simple “yes” or “no” vote?
A. “Yes” means “yes” and “No” means “no.”