03-05-2020 March 10 primary election contains local proposals; Outdoors; WHS Winterfest

2020 WINTERFEST KING & QUEEN… crowned at Friday night’s Watervliet High School varsity basketball game against Coloma is Queen Raelyn Statler and Jay’Shawn Scruggs. The King and Queen titles were voted on by their peers during Winterfest festivities last week.


March 10 primary election contains local proposals

By Annette Christie In addition to the Presidential primary offering Democrats and Republicans for the party nomination for President, Van Buren County voters have several local proposals to consider. Road Millage – Renewal This proposal will allow Van Buren County to continue to levy 0.9769 mills which was previously approved by the electors to fund road maintenance, repair and reconstruction, but which expired with the 2019 levy. The question on the ballot reads, “Shall there be a 0.9769 mill levy ($0.9769 per $1,000 dollars) of the taxable value on taxable property in Van Buren County for the next four (4) years (2020-2023) for the purpose of maintenance, repair and reconstruction of all public streets, avenues and roads in Van Buren County?” A portion of the revenue collected may be required to be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities, Tax Increment Financing Authorities, Local Development Financing Authorities and Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities established in Van Buren County, City of South Haven, Bangor City, Gobles City, Hartford City, Keeler Township, Villages of Lawrence, Lawton, Paw Paw and Mattawan. It is estimated that the revenue generated on this proposal will be $3,320,282.00 in the first year of the levy. Public Transit Millage – Renewal This proposal will allow Van Buren County to continue to levy 0.2471 mills which was previously approved by the electors to fund public transportation services, but which expired with the 2019 levy. The ballot language reads as follows, “As a renewal of previously authorized millage which expired with the 2019 levy, shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in Van Buren County be increased by 0.2471 mill ($0.2471 per thousand dollars of taxable value), for a period of four (4) years, 2020 to 2023, inclusive, for the exclusive purpose of providing funds for public transportation purposes, including the accommodation for seniors and disabled persons?” A portion of the revenue collected may be required to be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities, Tax Increment Financing Authorities, Local Development Financing Authorities and Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities established in South Haven City, Bangor City, Hartford City, Gobles City, Keeler Township, South Haven Township, Villages of Lawrence, Lawton, Paw Paw and Mattawan. It is estimated that 0.2471 mills would raise approximately $800,000 when first levied in 2020. Veterans Services Millage A new ballot proposition would be used to enhance veteran services for Van Buren County residents. The ballot language reads as follows, “Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in Van Buren County be increased by 0.10 mill ($0.10 per thousand dollars of taxable value), for a period of four (4) years, 2020 to 2023, inclusive, as new additional millage, to provide funds for operations and services dedicated to veterans who have served honorably on active duty in the United States Armed Forces?” A portion of the revenue collected may be required to be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities, Tax Increment Financing Authorities, Local Development Financing Authorities and Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities established in South Haven City, Bangor City, Hartford City, Gobles City, Keeler Township, South Haven Township, Villages of Lawrence, Lawton, Paw Paw and Mattawan. It is estimated that 0.10 mills would raise approximately $339,744 when first levied in 2020. Van Buren Intermediate School District Special Education Millage Taxpayers serviced by the Van Buren Intermediate School District will be asked to increase the special education millage. This proposal will increase the levy by the intermediate school district of special education millage previously approved by the electors. The ballot language will read as follows, “Shall the current 3.3177 mills limitation ($3.3177 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the annual property tax previously approved by the electors of Van Buren Intermediate School District, Michigan, for the education of students with a disability be increased by .9 mill ($0.90 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 5 years, 2020 to 2024, inclusive; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate schools district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2020 is approximately $3,730,173 from local property taxes authorized herein?” Democrat candidates for the Presidency The following Democratic Party candidates are still seeking the Democratic nomination and the chance to face President Donald J. Trump in November. Bernie Sanders, a Senator from Vermont since 2007, has served in Congress since 1991. He unsuccessfully challenged for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but fell to Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden, Washington D.C., U.S. Senator from 1973 – 2009 and U.S. Vice President 2009 – 2017. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. She was previously a law school professor. Michael Bloomberg, New York, New York, one of the world’s richest men, he was the Mayor of New York City from 2001 – 2014. Tulsi Gabbard, Kapolei, Hawaii, a military veteran, she has served in the U.S. House since 2013. The March 10 ballot will include several additional names, those of candidates who have since dropped out of the race. Several states held their elections on March 3 which could change the leaders by the time voters in Michigan get the chance to vote. The 2020 Democrat National Convention will be held in Milwaukee in July 2020. Prior to that, individual state caucuses and primaries are held to allocate convention delegates. I Republican candidates for the Presidency One lone candidate remains in contention for the Republican nomination, opposing United States President Donald J. Trump. Bill Weld of Boston, Mass. is a lawyer and businessman. He was the Governor of Massachusetts from 1991-1997.