East Lansing Voter Guide to Your March 10 Ballots (Ingham and Clinton Counties)

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Monday, February 10, 2020, 7:46 am
By: 
Chris Gray

The March 10 ballot will contain the names of 15 candidates for registered Michigan voters to choose from in the Democratic presidential primary, and three challengers in addition to President Donald J. Trump on the Republican ballot.

East Lansing voters will also decide the outcome of a number of local issues, including the question of whether to authorize Council to sell a chunk of land downtown.

Clinton County residents who live within East Lansing’s borders face a proposal to increase real and personal property taxes to fund the county’s emergency dispatch center, plus two more proposals on Ingham County Intermediate School District and public transportation.

Ingham County residents will have five tax questions to decide, including proposals on public transit, trails, Potter Park Zoo, Ingham County health services, and the Ingham County Intermediate School District.

Why so many items on the ballot? Because the March 10 presidential primary election is funded with money from the Secretary of State, it presents a prime opportunity for local jurisdictions to piggyback for free onto the main event in order to ask for voter input on local issues.

Registered East Lansing voters will have until 8 p.m. on March 10 to vote at their local precinct or hand in their absentee ballots at the East Lansing City Clerk’s office. Absentee ballots can also be mailed but they must be received by March 10 to count. U.S. Citizens who reside in East Lansing have until Election Day to register to vote. (Learn more about your voting options in this special ELi report.)

Land sale question (on all East Lansing ballots):

We have a separate voter guide on the land sale question; you can find that here.

CATA ballot proposal (on all East Lansing ballots):

CATA (the Capital Area Transportation Authority) is asking for a simple renewal of its 3.007 mill levy, which voters approved in 2014. The renewal levy, which would keep the tax rate for this the same as current, would last through 2025. Officials estimate it would bring in just under $19 million in 2021.

The levy would cover the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, along with Meridian, Delhi and Lansing townships, to maintain bus service.

Ingham Intermediate School District proposal (on all East Lansing ballots):

The Ingham Intermediate School District is asking voters in its service area for a restoration of Headlee reduction, to increase its millage by 0.2438 mills, which will raise the total millage to the maximum 4.75 mills as allowed by state law. The increase in property tax is equal to $24.38 on every $100,000 in taxable value. It would be enacted for 20 years and would raise about $2.3 million a year. This money would provide special education services to children. (Update: Read more about that proposal here.)

Clinton County emergency dispatch proposal (Clinton County only):

The small subset of East Lansing voters living in Clinton County at the north end of the city will help decide whether to support a new 10-year levy of up to a 0.85 millage to support the Clinton County Central Dispatch Center with funding for capital, equipment and operational needs. The levy would apply to both real estate property taxes and “personal property taxes,” which is taxes on some material items owned by businesses.

The money is being raised to replace the public safety radio system, which serves 911 calls and will become obsolete by the end of next year. The system is currently supported by a $2.75 per phone monthly surcharge, but that revenue stream has dropped due to a decline in the number of landline phones.

The new levy is estimated to raise $2.5 million a year annually ($85 for every $100,000 in taxable value).

Health Services proposal (Ingham County only):

Ingham County voters are also being asked whether to approve a small increase in taxes to fund primary health care and mental health care for uninsured low-income Ingham County residents who are not eligible for Medicaid. According to the Lansing State Journal, about 75 percent of these residents are non-citizens, which often makes them ineligible for federal medical assistance.

The additional 0.63-mill levy for 2020-23 would allow Ingham County to continue to provide basic medical care, including doctor visits, generic medications, mental health appointments, preventive testing and treatment for serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The new levy is estimated to raise about $4.8 million in its first calendar year.

Potter Park and Zoo proposal (Ingham County only):

Potter Park and Potter Park Zoo are also on the Ingham County ballot, with voters asked whether to approve an increase of that dedicated levy by 0.5 mills for the continued operation of the small county-operated zoo and the surrounding park in Lansing. The levy would cover six years through 2026 and would raise about $3.8 million for the operation, improvements and maintenance of the zoo and surrounding parkland.

Trails and Parks renewal proposal (Ingham County only):

Ingham County voters are also being asked to approve a renewal of the 0.5 mill trails and parks levy, which is estimated to raise about $3.8 million for trails and adjacent parks throughout the county. The funding is used to maintain the current system, construct new paths and acquire rights-of-way for them.

Money from this funding stream has been used to construct bike paths along the Red Cedar River and East Lansing won funding for an extension of the Northern Tier Trail through White Memorial Park from this levy, which will open up an easier connection to the Meridian Township trail system.

Have a question about the ballot or anything else? Contact us!

Photo credits: Trails photo by Raymond Holt; medical and bus images by Alice Dreger.

 

Note: This article originally indicated that the Ingham County Intermediate School District (ISD) question would appear only on Ingham County ballots, based on information from the East Lansing City Clerk. On Feb. 11, the Clerk's office announced reissuance of ballots for the East Lansing precinct in Clinton County (precinct 17) because that precinct will vote on this measure, as it falls within the Ingham County ISD service area.

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