Ontwa Township passes 2.25 percent millage increase

EDWARDSBURG — Following a vote of the Ontwa Township Board of Trustees this week, township residents will see a slight increase in their property taxes.

Monday, the Ontwa Township Board of Trustees hosted a tax hearing over a proposed increase of .1210 mills in the operating tax millage to be levied on property in 2020.

The millage will increase operating revenues from ad valorem property taxes, meaning a tax based on property value, 2.25 percent over such revenues generated by levies permitted without hosting a hearing.

During the hearing, the increase was approved by the board members, and no members of the public spoke during the public comment portion of the hearing. Had the increase not been approved, the millage rate would have been raised by 1.9 percent over the preceding year’s operating revenue, the rate the township is permitted to increase a millage without a hearing.

“This is something we hold every time there is a proposed tax increase,” said Ontwa Township Supervisor Jerry Marchetti. “It was a short and sweet public hearing.”

According to Marchetti, the hearing was spurred by a 1.09 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index and millages supporting the fire, ambulance and police services passed by voters in the August primary election.

“It’s not a big increase, but it is in line with the Consumer Price Index,” Marchetti said. “That is really what has driven that up.”

During the hearing Monday, trustees discussed the property tax increase.

Trustee Jerry Duck argued against the proposal, saying he does not believe taxes should be increased, as he does not think the township needs it at this time.

“It’s just the idea that we are not raising taxes when we don’t need it,” he said. “It’s not the amount of money; it’s the idea of it. It’s the idea that we don’t need it. If we were broke, I would not be arguing this.”

Supervisor Marchetti and Trustee Jeff Kozinski disagreed that the increase was not needed.

“This helps us keep up with inflation and the cost of living and so on and so forth,” Kozinski said. “If we were to bypass this, in two years, we could be saying to the township, ‘We have to put something on the ballot, and now we are looking at 5 percent.’ Then stuff is really going to get bad. … I agree that we have been fiscally responsible, but two years from now, I would not be comfortable asking for a huge jump. We are just going in line with the cost of living. To me, that is a wise way to go.”

Ultimately, the proposed increase was passed 6-1, with trustee Duck being the sole “no” vote.

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