Osceola County asking voters for additional millage

Override of Headlee rollback will be on ballot in August

The Osceola County board of commissioners has approved placing two proposals for additional millages on the ballot in August.

The Osceola County board of commissioners has approved placing two proposals for additional millages on the ballot in August.

Tyler Thompson/Pioneer file photo

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Voters in Osceola County will be asked to decide whether or not they support additional millages on the August 2022 ballot.

The board of commissioners approved placing the following millages on the ballot during a recent meeting:

  • A road patrol millage renewal to levy up to 1.0 mill, including an additional levy up to 1.0 mill for school resource officers and operations; and 
  • An MSU Extension millage to levy up to 0.19 mills.

A resolution approved by the board states that county road patrol services are a substantial benefit to the community and the board of commissioners has determined it appropriate to submit a millage renewal proposition to the electors to determine whether or not they want to continue to raise funds for operations of the road patrol and maintain the voter-approved addition of road deputies, vehicles and equipment.

The previously approved road patrol millage expired in December 2021.

The road patrol millage renewal proposal states that the same millage level previously approved by the voters in 1994, 1998, 2004, and in 2010, and 2016, will be continued and renewed, and the county will be authorized to levy, up to 1 mill, or $1 per $1,000 of taxable value, for a period of six years.

If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $700,000 per year.

On the proposal, voters will also be asked to support an additional road patrol levy of 1 mil, or $1 per $1,000 property evaluation, for the purpose of funding a school resource officer.

The MSU Extension millage would be for the purpose of sustaining 4-H youth development, agriculture and agribusiness, health and nutrition and other community education programs throughout Osceola County, according to the proposed ballot language.

The total amount of ad valorem taxes imposed, if approved, would result in a new levy of up to 0.19 mills, or $0.19 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, for a period of four years, 2022 to 2025, inclusive. 

This levy is estimated to raise around $150,000 for MSU Extension programs. 

A resolution approved by the board states that steadily decreasing revenues have severely limited the county’s ability to support these programs and the board of commissioners seeks to have the voters determine whether or not they support raising funds for the programs through the MSU Extension by approving a millage.

If the proposals are approved, the total millage levied by the county will increase by 1.19 mills. 

The precise language of the proposals is still being developed and will come before the board at a later meeting, county coordinator Tim Ladd said.

A request from the county veterans’ services department to place a proposal for a 0.20 millage for four years on the ballot was voted down by the board until further research can be done.

HEADLEE ROLLBACK

In addition to the new millage proposals, the board approved placing a proposal to override the most recent Headlee rollback on the ballot in the November general election.

The county had a Headlee rollback on the general operating millage in 2021 from 6.403 mills to 6.399 mills, and on the road patrol millage from 1 mill to 0.993 mills.

“The board did approve to place the county’s general operation millage on the ballot in November to ask for voters to approve a Headlee rollback, or override,” Ladd told the Herald Review. “The original millage was approved at 6.75 mills. Due to Headlee rollback, the current rate we are able to collect by law is 6.3727. If we are successful in passing the rollback override it would generate approximately $300,000 additional tax revenue.”

Ladd added they are currently discussing with the county’s attorney the possibility of bringing the townships and schools in on the rollback override, as well. 

“The process is a little different to get the language placed on the ballot if we chose to go in this direction,” he said, “however, if we do and the millage were to pass, not only would the county benefit but the townships and schools and would benefit, as well.

“I do not anticipate any formal action until probably May or June,” he added. “That would be the earliest we could expect to have language ready to go to the clerk, and it will take some time to talk with the schools and the townships.”

The Headlee Amendment requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation. The local unit’s millage rate gets “rolled back” so that the resulting growth in property tax revenue is no more than the rate of inflation.

 A “Headlee override” is a vote by the electors to return the millage to the amount originally authorized via charter, state statute, or a vote of the people, and is necessary to counteract the effects of the “Headlee rollback.”

For additional information regarding the millage proposals visit osecola-county.org or call 231-832-3261.