07-30-2020 Ballot proposals before voters on Tuesday; such as public safety, 911 answering and disp


BUDDING HISTORIAN… celebrated his 11th birthday with his family as special guests at the North Berrien Historical Museum in Coloma. Wagoner family pictured (from the left): dad Peter, mom Taia, sister Starla, birthday boy Ziah, and brother Micah.


Ballot proposals before voters on Tuesday; such as public safety, 911 answering and dispatch, senior centers, school operations seek citizen approval in Berrien and Van Buren counties

By Annette Christie Van Buren County proposals Van Buren County voters will be asked to approve a 9-1-1 service charge. The language on the ballot reads as follows: Shall Van Buren County be authorized to assess a county 9-1-1 emergency services charge on monthly billings to each service user located within Van Buren County at a rate not to exceed $1.83 each month in addition to the default rate of $1.17 each month for a total maximum allowed rate of $3.00 each month (replacing the current monthly surcharge) for the period of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2025 to be used exclusively for the funding of 9-1-1 emergency telephone call answering and dispatch services within Van Buren County? City of Hartford voters will be asked to renew their current fire apparatus and equipment millage. The ballot language reads, “Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in the City of Hartford, Van Buren County, Michigan remain 1.4185 (1.4185 for each $1,000) on taxable valuation of real property for the years 2021 through 2024 to provide funds for purchasing fire apparatus and equipment for the use by the Hartford Fire Department; (the estimate of the revenue the City will collect if the millage is renewed and levied for the first year is approximately $53,014.00); this is a renewal of a tax that will expire in 2020 and such renewal tax levy to be contingent upon approval by the Hartford Township of a similar renewal?” Hartford Township voters will be asked to also renew the fire apparatus and equipment millage. The ballot language reads, “Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in the township of Hartford, Van Buren County, Michigan, remain 0.7069 ($0.7069 mill for each $1,000) on taxable valuation of real property for the years 2021 through 2024 to provide funds for purchasing fire apparatus and equipment for the use by the Hartford Fire Department; (the estimate of the revenue the Township will collect if the millage is renewed and levied for the first year is approximately $53,281.88); this is a renewal of a tax that will expire in 2020 and such renewal tax levy to be contingent upon approval by the City of Hartford of a similar renewal?” Hartford Township officials are also asking for the renewal of the road millage. The ballot language reads as follows: Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in the Township of Hartford, Van Buren County Michigan, remain 1.4185mills ($1.4185 for each $1,000) on taxable valuation on real property for the years 2021 through 2024 for the purpose of township road maintenance and construction; which levy will raise in the first year of the estimated sum of $106,918? This is a renewal of a tax that will expire in 2020. Berrien County proposals Voters in Berrien County will be asked to renew proposals that support law enforcement and public safety, 9-1-1 emergency system proposal, and the Senior Centers. The ballot proposals read as follows: In support of law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety for the citizens of Berrien County, including the areas of drug enforcement, education and treatment, shall the limitation of the total amount of taxes which may be assessed against all taxable valuation of property in Berrien County liable for taxation be set at thirty-five hundredths of one mill ($.35 per each $1,000.00 of taxable valuation, as equalized). The above said millage represents a renewal of the millage rate of 35 hundredths of one mill ($.3500 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation, as equalized). The authorization to levy said millage is for a period of four (4) years being 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. It is estimated that the amount to be generated from the total millage rate in the first year of the levy (2021) will be approximately $2,888,518. In support of continued operation of a 9-1-1 Emergency System within Berrien County, shall the limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed against the taxable valuation of all property in Berrien County liable for taxation be set at forty-five hundredths of one mill ($0.45 cents per each $1,000 of taxable valuation). The above said millage represents a renewal of the millage rate of forty-five hundredths of one mill $.4500 per each $1,000.00 of taxable valuations, as equalized). The authorization to levy said millage is for a period of four (4) years being the years 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. It is estimated that the amount of revenue to be generated from the total millage rate in the first year of the levy (2021) will be approximately $3,713,809. In accordance with PA39 of 1976 and in support of continued operation of the senior centers in Berrien County, shall the limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed against the taxable valuation of all property in Berrien County liable for taxation shall be set at thirty hundredths of one mill ($.30 cents per each $1,000 of taxable valuation). The above said millage represents a renewal of the millage rate of thirty hundredths of one mill. The authorization to levy said millage is for a period of four years being 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. It is estimated that the amount of revenue to be generated from the total millage rate in the first year of the levy (2021) will be approximately $2,475,873. Hagar Township Hagar Township voters will be asked to renew their fire truck fund millage. The ballot language reads, “Shall the expired previous voted increase in the tax limitations imposed under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution in Hagar Township, of .5 mills ($0.5 per $1,000 of taxable value), be renewed at up to .25 mills ($0.25 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levy it for 10 years, 2021 through 2030 inclusive, for the Fire Truck fund, which .25 mills will raise an estimated $42,570.00 in the first year the millage is levied. Watervliet Charter Township Watervliet Charter Township will have several millage renewals to consider for fire protection, police protection, public safety, and roads. The ballot language will read as follows: Shall the expired previous voted increase in the tax limitations imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution of Watervliet Township of 1.0 mills ($1.0 per $1,000 of taxable value), reduced to 0.9896 mills ($0.9896 per $1,000 of taxable value) by the required millage rollbacks, be renewed at and increased up to the original voted 1.0 mills ($1.0 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for 10 years, 2020 through 2029, inclusive, for township fire protection services, raising an estimated $160,580 in the first year of the millage is levied. Shall the expired previous voted increase in the tax limitations imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution of Watervliet Township, of 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value), reduced to 1.4844 mills ($1.4844 per $1,000 of taxable value) by the required millage rollbacks, be renewed at and increased up to the original voted 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for 10 years 2020 through 2029 inclusive, for township police protection services, raising an estimated $240,870 in the first year the millage is levied. Shall the expired previous voted increase in the tax limitations imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution in Watervliet Township, of 0.3460 mills ($0.3460 per $1,000 of taxable value), reduced to 0.3424 mills ($0.3424 per $1,000 of taxable value) by the required millage rollbacks, be renewed at and increased up to the original voted 0.3460 mills ($0.3460 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for 10 years 2020 through 2029 inclusive, for township Public Safety services, raising an estimated $55,563 in the first year the millage is levied. Shall the expired previous voted increase in the tax limitations imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution in Watervliet Township, of 2.0 mills ($2.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), reduced to 1.9792 mills ($1.9792 per $1,000 of taxable value) by the required millage rollbacks, be renewed at and increased up to the original voted 2.0 mills ($2.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), and levied for 10 years 2020 through 2029 inclusive, for township road services, raising and estimated $321,160 in the first year the millage is levied. Hagar Township School District No. 6 proposal Voters in the Riverside School District will be asked to renew the operating millage. The proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2020 tax levy. The ballot language reads, “Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 18 mills ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in School District No. 6 in Hagar Township (Riverside School), Berrien County, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 4 years, 2021 to 2024, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes, the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2021 is approximately $97,163 (this is a renewal for millage that will expire with the 2020 tax levy)?

InterCare back in Watervliet for COVID-19 testing

InterCare Community Health Network, headquartered in Bangor, has a mobile unit to test for COVID-19. On Friday, August 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., their unit is scheduled to be back in Watervliet, this time in the public parking lot on Main Street next to Jot Liquor. To get tested for COVID-19, people are not required to have a doctor’s order and do not have to be an InterCare patient. For more information, call 855-869-6900.

N.B. Historical Museum gives young historian special

birthday tour

On June 23, St. Joseph resident Taia Wagoner posted an image of a button hook to the community Facebook page, “Benton Harbor & Saint Joseph, Michigan Memories”. The button hook was produced by Lopker Bros., a clothing store that was located in St. Joseph. Along with the image, she typed, “I need some help. My 10-year-old is a budding historian and has found the joys of estate sales. He came home with this little treasure.” Her son in question, Ziah, wanted to know more details about Lopker Bros. Taia received many helpful responses from the community regarding her son’s inquiry. “Oh man! He has the bug now!” she typed in reply. “This kid is a sponge with questions beyond me. Love him! Thanks again!” This is what community is all about—a question being posed and a group pulling together to find an answer. But one organization took it a little further. Jack Greve, the Executive Director of the North Berrien Historical Museum, reached out to Taia and wanted to help her son with his passion for history. Coincidentally, Ziah’s 11th birthday was just around the corner so Taia scheduled a tour for July 24 to celebrate his birthday. Little did the Wagoner family know they were in for a treat; Jack has always been one to do things a little extra. “In order to make history exciting for all ages, you have to put in the time and effort to make every event, program, or visit interesting in its own way,” states Jack. On July 24 the Wagoner family, including father Peter, elder son Micah, and daughter Starla, arrived for their private tour. Jack took the family through the Main Gallery and then directed them to the Lower Level to give them a peek behind the scenes at a museum—in the archives. Ziah learned how to search in the museum database to locate artifacts in the collection. After finding items that were tailored toward Ziah’s personal interests, Jack instructed Ziah to try one final search: his own name, “Ziah.” Unbeknownst to the Wagoner family, Jack had placed an item in the collection just for this occasion: two North Berrien Historical Museum promotional Frisbees with “Happy Birthday Ziah” custom-printed on both. One Frisbee was gifted to Ziah to take home and the other shall remain a part of the permanent collection at the Museum to commemorate this special occasion. Jack Greve and the rest of the staff at the North Berrien Historical Museum would like to thank the Wagoner Family for visiting to celebrate Ziah’s birthday and hope that the experience has further shaped the young historian’s interests.

Coloma student named Michigan 4-H State Award winner

Morgan Gruss, a 4-H member from the Countrysiders 4-H Club in Berrien County was selected as the winner of the 2020 Michigan 4-H State Award in Senior Visual, Performing, and Expressive Arts. The Michigan 4-H State Awards Program took place on June 24, 2020. While 4-H members were unable to gather at Michigan State University (MSU) as in past years, the Recognition Celebration was able to be held via a zoom webinar allowing 4-H members along with their family and friends to attend the program. A Michigan 4-H State Award is the highest honor bestowed on Michigan Congratulations go out to Morgan Gruss who is one of this year’s winners. She is a member of the local Countrysiders 4-H Club and a student at Coloma High School. She is from Benton Harbor and the daughter of Monica Gruss. Morgan’s specialty is in Visual Arts and her favorite project is Tin Punch. Throughout her 11 years in the 4-H program, she has been selected as treasurer and president for her club. Within her involvement in 4-H, she has learned many skills including responsibility, problem solving, and organization. With these skills she plans to incorporate them into her future career in medicine.

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