Lake Michigan College to seek millage renewal

Published 4:22 pm Monday, January 9, 2023

BENTON HARBOR — A local college is asking taxpayers to support an operating millage proposal for the purpose of funding day-to-day operations.

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place a millage renewal proposal on the May 2 ballot during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 4.  

The proposal would renew the current millage for Lake Michigan College, which expires with the 2023 tax levy, for another 20 years. The current millage generates nearly 30 percent of LMC’s total operational budget. 

“This is a renewal of critical funding that the community has previously voted to support,” said Lake Michigan College President Dr. Trevor Kubatzke. “It is important to note that we are not seeking any tax increase. This proposal would freeze the LMC tax rate for district residents for the next 20 years.”  

A millage is the rate at which property taxes are levied on real estate or other property. The millage rate is the number of dollars of tax assessed for each $1,000 of property value. A mill is one-thousandth of a dollar or one-tenth of a cent. LMC’s renewal proposal is for 0.8804 of a mill.  

“Lake Michigan College has a demonstrated 76-year history of financial accountability, responsibility, and commitment to the community,” said LMC Board Chair John Grover. “The college continues to provide outstanding training and education to all community residents while maintaining an affordable tuition rate. 

“LMC offers more than 75 accredited academic programs with small class sizes taught by accomplished and knowledgeable faculty,” Grover continued. “Nearly 400 high school students are enrolled in our Early College Program. Many of our in-district students qualify for free tuition through the LMC Promise. Plus, LMC offers community destinations such as the Fab Lab and LMC Mendel Center, the largest performing arts center in the region. The millage renewal is important to continuing the impact LMC has on our students, employers, the local economy, and the community.”   

According to a 2021 study by Lightcast, LMC’s positive economic impact on the community totals more than $400 million a year. This includes the economic and social impact of LMC alumni, workforce training, and college operations. LMC is a leader in higher education, community and employer partnerships, workforce training, and retraining and serves as a cultural hub for Southwest Michigan.  

“As the labor market continues to change, Lake Michigan College is the choice for employers and workers, helping to strengthen the regional economy,” Kubatzke said. “The number one issue for economic development is workforce and people, and LMC plays a key role in enhancing and expanding training to attract and retain quality employers and good paying jobs.”