Playground and Recreation Millage
While it seems terribly cold right now, spring is just around the corner! As we move into the warmer weather, I wanted you to be aware of our CPS Recreation Millage renewal, which is on the ballot for May 3rd, 2022. This millage was originally introduced and supported 10 years ago, and it is up for renewal this year. This is a renewal of an existing millage, so there would be no change to current tax rates. This does not raise our taxes, and would sustain the current rate for the next 7 years. Below is an FAQ to explain the millage further.
Charlotte Public Schools is expanding our programming with the goal of being the hub of our community, regardless of age. Thank you for your continued interest, and look for more information in mailers, articles, social media, and live/virtual town halls.
Go Orioles! Oriole Pride!
Dr. Mandy Stewart
Superintendent- Charlotte Public Schools
CHARLOTTE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL TO PROVIDE FUNDS TO OPERATE A SYSTEM OF PUBLIC RECREATION AND PLAYGROUNDS
This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy public recreation millage previously approved by the electors that will expire with the 2022 levy.
Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 0.4948 mill ($0.4948 of each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Charlotte Public Schools, Eaton County, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 7 years, 2023 to 2029, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for operating a system of public recreation and playgrounds; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect for such recreation program if the millage is approved and levied in 2023 is approximately $307,000 (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2022 tax levy)?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is on the May 3, 2022 ballot?
On May 3, 2022, voters in the Charlotte Public Schools District will be asked to approve the RENEWAL of the public recreation and playgrounds millage proposal for a six year period to provide a dependable and secure source of funding to assure continued operation of the Charlotte Aquatic Center for community use, reduced facility rental rates, and enhanced recreational programming for youth and adults.
The current voter approved Public Recreation and Playgrounds Millage is only authorized through the current year (2022) so in order to maintain this critical funding source, voter approval is required before 2023.
The District chose the May election date in order to substantially reduce/eliminate costs associated with the election.
The District wants to continue to offer a variety of public recreation opportunities at reduced rates that are affordable for our community.
Community surveys continue to show that public recreation for all residents is valued and desired.
It is important that the Charlotte Aquatic Center continue to be self-sufficient with the use of these funds for COMMUNITY use of the facility. This will help preserve the primary obligation of the school district to focus on the classroom education of children in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Why do we need this millage?
When the community approved funding to construct the Charlotte Aquatic Center in December 2001, the proposal was solely for the CONSTRUCTION of the facility with operations to be supported through community use and with limited budget support through the school district. In addition, during the initial years of operation, the program received operating revenue from the community recreation council which totaled $76,000 per year in additional funding. This funding from the City of Charlotte and surrounding townships was discontinued in 2008.
Charlotte Public Schools finds itself challenged to provide operating costs for the PUBLIC USE of the pool when its core mission is educating students.
Does the Board of Education support the recreation proposal?
Yes. At the January board meeting, the Charlotte Board of Education unanimously voted to ask voters to consider a recreation millage for 0.4948 mill for seven (7) years at the May 3 election to provide operational funding for community use of the Charlotte Aquatic Center, continued expansion of recreational programming, and reduced facility rental rates.
How was the millage proposal originally developed?
In preparation of the school 2011-12 budget, the closure of the Charlotte Aquatic Center was considered as a budget balancing idea resulting from ongoing public school funding reductions from the State of Michigan.
A Citizen Committee had been meeting since January of that year to develop a new business plan to include new cost saving measures, program efficiencies, and new revenue options to present to the Board of Education.
The Citizen Committee met regularly until it made its formal recommendations with a comprehensive report to the Charlotte Board of Education in June of 2011 including a new business and marketing plan. A comprehensive list of action items was prepared with a goal of helping the aquatic center operate in a self-supporting manner into the future.
The Board of Education reviewed and discussed various options for implementation of the most important considerations. The Board supported going forward with this proposal.
H2Orioles is a community support group that has continued to meet regularly throughout this time to discuss topics related to the Aquatic Center and recreational opportunities. They continue to support the updated business plan and this millage proposal.
What did the Citizen Committee take into consideration and recommend?
The Citizen Committee had worked on efforts to increase utilization of the aquatic center by the community. Their findings included adding a new emphasis on:
- Health and wellness for the community
- Fun and entertaining activities
- Competitive athletic activities and events
Concerning finances, the Citizen Committee encouraged the school board to “consider offering a millage proposal with a five year term to provide a stable and reliable source of funding to assure ongoing aquatic operations in a self-supporting manner”. The current recommendation of a six (6) millage term was determined in order to allow for even year elections, resulting in lower cost exposure relating to future elections.
Economically, is this a good time for a recreation proposal?
The value and vitality of our community rests on the quality and marketability of our schools. For many years, the school board has been able to provide both quality educational and recreational programs. As our nation and state face difficult economic times, so does our public school district. The school budget, as with the budgets of many families, has been stretched thin. The RENEWAL of this millage will allow the district to continue its recreational programming with enhancements.
What will the recreation millage raise for the aquatic center?
The estimate of the revenue the school district will collect is approximately $307,000 annually for the aquatic center and recreation programs if the millage is approved.
How will the funds be used?
To keep youth active by maintaining and expanding youth recreational activities at affordable rates for our community.
Increase ball field and gym use by holding the reduced rental rates for organizations at approximately 50 percent or market rates.
To keep adults active by maintaining and expanding adult recreational activities at affordable rates for our community.
To provide for long term recreational facility repairs and improvements.
Help establish a dependable and secure source of funding for operating the Charlotte Aquatic Center for COMMUNITY USE.
Please explain what recreation millage funding can cover and how it will be monitored.
The millage is being offered as a Millage Proposal to Provide Funds to Operate a System of Public Recreation and Playgrounds, Including an Aquatic Center as provided by law. The funding can only be used for recreation-related program operation for PUBLIC USE including operation of the aquatic center. If the proposal is successful, the funds received and all related expenditures will be annually audited by an independent Certified Public Accounting firm to verify proper allocation and usage. The funding cannot be used for non-recreation related purposes.
What will the millage cost a homeowner?
0.4948 mill represents $0.4948 per year for each $1,000 of taxable value on real property. Taxable value normally is set at one-half of market value.
The table below illustrates the costs for different property values:
|Est Millage Per Year
What will happen if the millage does not pass?
If the millage does not pass, the Charlotte Board of Education will need to assess how it can balance its overall budget in light of funding levels determined by the state government. The board is required to adopt a balanced budget each year. School officials believe the budget will continue to be a challenge until the school funding system is changed in Michigan.
With the support of the millage, participants would expect to pay more for registration in recreation offerings - youth, adult, and aquatics. If funding remains to be a challenge, the school board could elect to close the aquatic center. If this were to occur, the thirty year bonded debt approved in 2001 would need to be paid off over the remaining years of the issue.
How will this proposal impact the District’s current curriculum?
The District will not have to use funds intended for student learning materials and resources to pay for operating needs of the aquatic center related to community use if this millage is approved.
Keeping the aquatic center operation viable will help assure that swimming instruction can continue as a part of the physical education curriculum – with the hope of saving lives in water environments in the future due to swimming instruction. It will also allow for the continued growth of our club, middle school and high school swim teams.
Why don’t you just close the pool?
The aquatic center is used by many groups in the community and many view the facility as a valuable asset for the Greater Charlotte community. Many expressed concern at the possible closing when it was discussed as a part of the school budget development process for 2011-12.
The pool is used by the following groups in the community:
- Students to learn to swim
- Families, parent and baby classes, pre-school youngsters, and adults
- Disabled and injured individuals who need water therapy
- Seniors who are regular users
- Lap swimmers for daily exercise
- Community rentals
- Special Olympics
This proposal is about more than just the aquatic center, however. This proposal supports the extensive adult and youth recreation programming that occurs all year long. The millage allows us to keep participation rates low so all families can participate.
How many people use the aquatic center each year?
About 49,000 individual swims are enjoyed by youth and adults at the pool each year.
Approximately 735 children learn to swim each year at the aquatic center through the participation in American Red Cross lessons.
Another 625 community members participate annually in non-aquatic recreation offered through the Charlotte Aquatic Center.
How many people take advantage of our land-based recreation activities?
Due to COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 and 2021 program years, participation was limited but in 2019 prior to these restrictions being in place, we had over 600 participants in youth recreation programs.
With the addition of the tennis and pickleball courts we expect participation levels to dramatically increase.
Is CPS planning for any new community recreation programming if this millage is renewed?
- Youth tennis
- Adult tennis
- Youth pickleball
- Adult pickleball
- 3v3 basketball
In addition, a full summer program will be released for 2022 that brings back many recreation traditions and announces new and exciting opportunities.
What community partnerships exist with the aquatic center?
The aquatic center has a strong partnership with Sparrow Eaton Hospital to provide pool use for physical therapy patients in its therapy pool. We continue to partner with a variety of state agencies and local organizations for specialized training and events.
Is the aquatic center regulation size for hosting of competitive swimming events?
The Charlotte Aquatic Center is regulation size and is able to accommodate standard competition events. The Charlotte Swim teams regularly host home events during their competition seasons.
If approved, when will the millage begin/end?
The ballot proposal is for a period of 7 years, 2023 to 2029, inclusive.
What are the benefits of the recreation millage for residents who don’t have students in the District?
Charlotte school facilities and sites are regularly used by community members who do not have school-aged children. The District takes pride in its role as an important community resource and partner. The value and vitality of a community rests on the quality and marketability of its schools – in other words, great schools keep home values up. Our community has generously supported our school facility improvements and invested in amazing facilities that we want to share with our community. The district wants to protect these investments and to be a partner in attracting families and businesses to Charlotte.
Why is it important to attract and retain students in the District?
Public schools in Michigan receive nearly all of their funding from the State on a per-pupil basis. Simply put, the more students that we have, the more programs and classes we can offer. Since parents have choices regarding where their children go to school, we need to make Charlotte Public Schools as attractive as possible to prospective homebuyers. The Charlotte Aquatic Center is an offering that many area communities wished they could have in their community. A number of families have been attracted to the community because of the aquatic center and the specialized experiences that our students have that many do not. In addition, being able to offer and promote a robust recreational program for youth and adults is essential for strengthening and maintaining a healthy community.
When was the last time the District presented a bond proposal to local voters and what did it entail?
In November 2020, local electors voted to continue the same bonded debt rate in order to build additions to two elementary schools, provide air conditioning in all of our buildings, build a new Agricultural Learning Center, build a new auxiliary gym at our high school, construct new tennis/pickleball courts, and other physical enhancements to our facilities. The ability to raise these funds without raising the overall millage rate was due in part to the District taking advantage of several bond “refinancing” opportunities. The District has refunded (similar to refinancing your home mortgage to take advantage of lower rates) voter approved bonded debt nine (9) times since 2005; saving taxpayers nearly $23 million.
Can I deduct these property taxes on my income tax return?
Property taxes are fully deductible as itemized deductions on your federal income tax return, if you itemize. You may also be eligible for the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit on your Michigan income tax return. Please consult with your tax preparer.
Where can I find out more information about registering to vote and the election process?
- Visit www.michigan.gov/vote
- Contact your city of township clerk's office
- Contact the Eaton County Clerk's Office
What are the key dates leading up to the May 3, 2022, recreation millage election?
April 18, 2022 – Last day to register in any manner other than in person with the local clerk for the May election.
April 29, 2022 up to 5 p.m. – Deadline for electors to obtain an absent voter ballot via First Class mail.
May 3, 2022 up to 4 p.m. – Deadline for voters to obtain an absent voter ballot in person in clerk’s office.
May 3, 2022 up to 8 p.m. – Election Day registrants may obtain and vote an absent voter ballot in person in the clerk’s office or vote in person in the proper precinct.
Election Day…………………………………………….…..Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
You are welcome to call or email:
Charlotte Public Schools
Phone number: (517) 541-5102
District Website at: www.charlotteorioles.org