TAA renewal passes, Farmland fails

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

REGION – A nine-township ambulance renewal proposal was approved Tuesday by a large margin, as were several other millage proposals across the county, while a cemetery millage proposal and a two-township millage proposal intended to help preserve farmlands and open spaces failed by an even larger margin in Antrim County's Aug. 6 special election.

As expected, although much higher in Milton and Elk Rapids townships, turnout was very low for the election held in 11 of Antrim County's 15 townships, with a total of 2,268 votes cast for a turnout of just 13.6 percent.

Approved overwhelmingly by a collective vote of 972-114 in Central Lake, Chestonia, 

Custer, Forest Home, Helena, Kearney, Mancelona, Star and Warner townships was a four-year renewal of the one-mill tax levy which assists in providing funds for equipping, maintaining and operating the Township Ambulance Authority providing ambulance service to those townships.

Voters in Elk Rapids and Milton townships turned down a farmlands and open spaces preservation proposal that if approved would have provided funds for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements on private lands within those townships. The unofficial tally showed 476 voters against the measure in Elk Rapids Township, 279 in favor; and 270 voting no in Milton Township to 221 in favor of the proposal.

Also turned down in Elk Rapids Township was a renewal of a 10-year .60 millage for the continued maintenance, upkeep and repair of the township's Maple Grove Cemetery, with 429 voters against the renewal and 331 in favor.

Milton Township voters did approve a renewal of an existing .75-mill ambulance service millage as well as a renewal of a road millage, which allows for up to .70-mills to be levied. Both renewals will expire at the end of 2023.

Voters in the Gaylord school district of Warner Township also approved an 18-mill non-homestead operating millage, which will expire in five years and raise approximately $10,337,600 during its first year of operation. Of the 11 townships with issues on the ballot, Warner Township saw the lowest voter turnout, with just 15 voters casting their ballots for the election.

Elk Rapids Township had the highest voter turnout, with 761 voters casting their ballots.

With no proposals or government seats to be decided, the Aug. 6 election did not affect voters in Jordan, Echo, Banks, or Torch Lake townships.



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