Commissioners approve property tax cut

Linda Gallagher

BELLAIRE — During a fairly productive evening meeting last week, the Antrim County Board of Commissioners approved a motion to set up a process to pay off the county's retirement fund debt, failed a motion to have a complete forensic audit of the November 2020 election done, and approved a motion to cut the county's property tax rate for one year. 

The cut in the county's general operating millage to 4.62 mills, came with a motion made last month by District 1 Commissioner Jarris Rubingh, supported by District 5 Commissioner Josh Watrous, who cited their interest in giving taxpayers in the county some property tax relief in light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The county's operating millage had been set at 5.3497 mills.

Rubingh noted the county's current fund balance of approximately $10 million — one of the highest county fund balances in the state, and lower operating millages in other counties, such as Otsego County, which currently has a 4.05 general operating millage — for his interest in cutting the tax level. 

Others, such as District 3 Commissioner Karen Bargy and District 4 Commissioner Ed Boettcher, voiced concerns, noting the county's growing unfunded liabilities retirement fund debt and the future needs of the county, which could include repairs and/or renovation of a number of county facilities.

In a rollcall vote of 5-4, the millage cut was approved for a period of one year. 

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