Voters pass EMS, COA millages, reject Reed City library

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Thousands of registered voters across Osceola County shared their opinions on local millages during Tuesday's primary election. All results are unofficial.

Osceola County

Voters accepted the Osceola County Emergency Medical Services proposal, which asked voters to allow asking for the county to levy up to 1.33 mill ($1.33 per $1,000 of the taxable value), from 2014 through 2019, creating an estimated annual revenue of $915,719 based on 2013 taxes.

Out of 18 precincts, 2,483 voted in favor of the millage, while 1,034 voted against it.

Tammy Stoner, Osceola County commissioner and EMS Ad Hoc Committee chair, has been a leader in creating a larger EMS force, specifically in the northwest quadrant of the county.

"I am very excited," she said after hearing the final results. "I am just so happy for the people of the northwest quadrant and I'm pleased to enhance the services in the county."

Stoner is proud of the hard work she and other Ad Hoc Committee members accomplished since the idea sparked.

"The results say we did a good job and didn't let the idea just go away. It's not just my hard work that got us to this point, it's the people standing behind me," she said.

The funds will be used to purchase equipment, as well as purchase and maintain ambulances, personnel and general operational costs. It also will add an additional ambulance to the fleet for 12 hours per day throughout the entire year, allow the operation of four EMS stations within the county, purchase six new cardiac monitors to replace current monitors that are 10 years old, and maintain current revenue levels as insurance reimbursement declines.

Voters also approved a millage proposed by the Osceola County Commission on Aging, asking them to renew the levy up to 0.8 mill, through 2019, creating an estimated annual revenue of $550,808 based on the 2013 taxes. The funds will support the continued operations of senior citizens services through the Commission on Aging.

Out of 18 precincts, 2,676 voted yes, while 809 voted no.

Extending the millage will allow the COA to offer one hour of personal care per week, two hours of homemaking every other week for those who live in a house, and one hour every other week for those in an apartment, as well as up to three medical transports anywhere in the state of Michigan per month. It also will help fund the Meals on Wheels program and congregate meal sites in Tustin, Marion, Reed City and Evart, and will fund in-home health aides.

Reed City

Voters in Reed City and Lincoln and Richmond Townships voted down the two-part millage for the Reed City Area District Library. Out of the three precincts, 471 voted no, while 427 voted to approve the operation millage. Four hundred ninety six voters rejected the renovation millage, while 396 voters voted in favor.

The operation proposal language asked if the library can be authorized to levy a new additional tax annually up to 0.95 mill beginning in 2014 and continuing in perpetuity, to provide funds for all library purposes. The renovation proposal language asked voters if the library can borrow up to $958,000 unlimited tax bonds to renovate an existing building for use as a library facility and related parking and site improvements.

The millage would have created a permanent home for the library after the lease at The Annex expires in June 2016 and have enabled the library to use $75,000 of grant funding. Both proposals needed to be passed for the library to receive the funds, which would have enabled building upgrades, including a teen area, utility upgrades and a larger community room with updated technology.

Citizens for the District Library committee member Christine Cox expressed her sadness after results were final.

"The Citizens for the District Library committee members are very disappointed," she said. "The library is an important cornerstone of the community and we hope the voters will support the library in future elections."

A more in-depth article regarding poll results will be published in the Aug. 13 edition of the Herald Review