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Tag Archive | "First Steps Kent"

Residents to vote on proposals


 

By Judy Reed

Besides statewide proposals you may have heard about, there are also a few local proposals voters will need to consider on November 6.

Bond proposal for a new fire station

The City of Cedar Springs is asking voters to consider a bond proposal for a new fire station. The current fire station on W. Maple Street is almost 40 years old. “Despite what some people are saying, there are not a lot of frills in that station,” said Fire Chief Marty Fraser. We had to meet a lot of government standards not in effect 40 years ago. People don’t understand what we’ve done here (at the current station) the last 38 years. We’ve made do. It was built to code in 1980 but it no longer meets code.”

The proposal that residents will vote on will be a 15-year bond at 3.455363 mills the first year, and an average of 3.4290 mills thereafter. For someone with a home that has a taxable value of $50,000, that equates to about $172 more per year, or just under $15 per month. And, if the taxable values in Cedar Springs go up, the millage rate will go down. 

The total cost of the fire station is estimated at $2,991,741. That includes $2,136,958 in building and site prep; engineering and testing of $320,544; and $534,240 for contingencies. “Contingencies are additional funds that are set aside for fixing problems that were not accounted for or were unknowable at the time of design and planning,” explained City Manager Mike Womack. “Any funding that is leftover at the end of the construction of the building would then be put towards ‘equipping a new fire station’ and ‘acquisition of fire equipment, apparatus and vehicles, and other related expenses and improvements’ as is indicated in the ballot language.”

The total payback on the 15-year bond would be $4,013,850. It is designed to be a 50-year facility. For more info, see letter from Pam Conley on page 12.

Solon Zoning ordinance

Voters in Solon Township are being asked to vote on Township Ordinance No. 18-4-Z, which would “create a new AR-2 Low Density Agricultural Residential District, with a minimum lot size of two acres for new lots, and would rezone numerous lands within the Township to the new AR-2 District, among other matters.” The Solon Township board approved this ordinance in April 2018, at the recommendation of the Planning Commission. “The purpose was to control development in the township, like a planning commission is supposed to do,” said Solon Township Supervisor Bob Ellick. “After going over the Master Plan, the Planning Commission made that recommendation, and we passed it.” Under the ordinance, the AR district was broken up into AR-1 and AR-2, with AR-1 lots being a minimum of one-acre in size, and AR-2 being a minimum of two acres in size. He said it would not affect anyone already living in the designated AR-2 areas. But it would limit the amount of new housing developments.

He said the township did not put it on the ballot. He said there were a couple of people that didn’t agree with the limitations and wanted to put it to a vote of the residents. See map for areas zoned AR-1 and AR-2. For more information on whether the ordinance will affect your property, call the township at 696-1718.

Ready by Five proposal

Kent County is asking whether voters will approve a levy .25 mill, or 25 cents of every $1,000 of taxable value on real and personal property for 208-204 t0 provide planning, evaluating, and provide early childhood development services to persons up to age 5 and their parents. The amount raised by the levy in the first calendar year is estimated at $5,702,887. In Kent County there are local authorities that capture and use, for authorized purposes, tax increment revenues from property taxes levied by the County. Such capture would include a portion of the millage levy. The total amount of captured tax increment revenue from such millage in the first calendar year of the levy is an estimated $243,962. The owner of a $150,000 would pay just over $18 per year, according to First Steps Kent, the organization spearheading the proposal.

If it passes, the proposal would provide health and developmental screenings for all children under age 5, as well as support for parents, and increased access to high-quality learning experiences. Visit https://www.firststepskent.org/earlychildhoodproposal for more information.

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