SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven Township voters will be voting on two local ballot issues in next week’s Aug. 4 primary.
The first proposal involves renewal of the 0.25 recreational millage for the next four years. If approved the millage would generate $40,000 annually to help pay for maintenance and improvement of township parks, nature preserves and for possibly purchasing property for future recreational purposes.
“At this time the millage is used for improvements,” said Township Clerk Brenda Bertorell. “No acquisitions as of yet.”
Over the past couple of years some of the millage funds has gone for improvements to Pilgrim Haven natural area that overlooks Lake Michigan.
If voters approve the renewal, the owner of a home valued at $150,000 would pay $18.75 a month.
The second proposal has to do with the township’s library millage. The township is asking voters to approve a new millage of 1 mill for four years. If approved, the homeowner of a house valued at $150,000 would pay $75 a year.
Currently, the township levies 0.4297 mills to disburse annually to South Haven Memorial Library. The City of South Haven also provides millage funds to the library, but it levies more money.
“We have an agreement with the library and the city,” Bertorelli said. “It is years old and says that we will match funds.”
The problem is that the millage amounts between the two municipalities have changed over the years and don’t always coincide with each other, due to different times that millages are voted upon by electors in the city and township.
The township board has spent a considerable amount of time over the past year considering how to resolve the issue.
“We just want to match the City of South Haven which is currently just over 0.5, so at 0.4297 we are unable to meet our obligation of matching funds,” Bertorelli said.
If township voters wonder why the proposed ballot issue seeks 1 mill rather than 0.6 or 0.7, Bertorelli explained: “When we have a fixed rate, we end up being stuck at that rate until the millage runs out. This way we can have some flexibility but yet promise our voters we will never go above 1 mil.”
If the library millage proposal passes, the current 0.4297 levy will be rescinded.
The new millage rate, if approved, would generate $164,000 annually for the library, which serves residents in South Haven and South Haven Township.
According to Bertorelli the library is utilized quite a bit by township residents.
“We also have township members who are very active on the library board,” she said.