By Judy Reed
Residents in the City of Cedar Springs will get to decide in November whether they want to pay an extra tax so that the City can help fund community events.
The City Council voted 6-1 in favor of putting it on the ballot for the voters to decide. Councilor Pam Conley was the dissenting vote.
Funding for community events was cut in 2011, to help balance the City’s budget. Previously the City had helped fund events such as the Red Flannel Festival, Spooktacular, and the tree lighting. They also cut funding to various non-profit groups.
The proposal would ask for .25 mills (a quarter of a mill) per household. That would be about $25 per year for someone that owns a $100,000 house. The millage would be good for five years, 2012-2016. The voters would then need to vote again if they wanted to renew it. The millage, if approved, would raise an estimated $18,115 in its first year.
Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl said that the millage for community events would cover more than the Red Flannel Festival, although that’s where the idea started, with asking the taxpayers if they wanted their money to go toward funding the Festival.
Mayor Charlie Watson said that the Council would begin work on a plan to show voters how they would approve which community events received funding.
Former City Councilor and Mayor Ronny Merlington spoke at the meeting, and said he would not approve a millage for community events, but he would approve a millage for roads and sidewalks.