BOC approves ballot proposal to fund Kaliseum repairs

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Review file photo

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners will ask voters on May 7 to approve a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal that would help raise over $28 million to repair and upgrade the Kaliseum, as well as fund operations over the duration of the millage.

 

KALKASKA – The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners decided that more than a survey was needed to decide the fate of millions of dollars in proposed repairs to the aging Kaliseum Recreational Facility on West Mile Road in Kalkaska.

Commissioners voted, 6-1, at a special meeting Monday, Feb. 11, to approve a resolution to submit ballot language for a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal that would help raise over $28 million to repair and upgrade the facility, as well as fund operations over the duration of the millage.

County officials were facing a Feb. 12 deadline to submit the ballot language in order to have the funding request put before Kalkaska County voters in a May 7 special election.

The vote came after a series of special meetings concerning the possible fate of the nearly two-decade old, county-owned facility.

“We just need to engage voters and see if they’re on board with this,” said District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board. “It’s there for everyone, so everyone should have the chance to chime in on it.”

District No. 5 Commissioner David Comai was the lone dissenting vote at Monday night’s meeting held at the Kaliseum. And, that was partly due to the cost of the election itself.

“That’s a waste of $40,000 to me,” Comai said. “That was one of my biggest concerns.

“The $40,000 could be better spent on something else.”

Comai added that the election isn’t needed after commissioners hired Lansing-based firm Epic MRA to conduct phone and online surveys to see what options might have the support of local voters. However, none of the proposals netted 50-percent approval ranking.

The most popular option was a 20-year, 1.86-mill proposal that would fund structural repairs and renovations, as well as future mechanical upgrades, ongoing maintenance and personnel expenses over the life of the millage. However, support for the proposal was only 47 percent for online respondents and 43 for the phone survey.

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