Our community will have the opportunity to vote on a bond proposal on the May 3, 2022 election ballot. If approved, the millage rate is estimated to remain the same with no tax rate increase over the current rate. It would extend the current millage rate into the future, allowing for an investment of $24.9 million to renovate and partially re-construct the Junior High School.
What is a bond proposal and how can funds from a bond be spent?
A bond proposal is how a public school district asks its community for authorization to borrow money to pay for capital expenditures. Voter-approved bond funds can be spent on new construction, additions, remodeling, site improvements, athletic facilities, playgrounds, furnishings, equipment, and other capital needs. Funds raised through the sale of bonds cannot be used on operational expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, school supplies, and textbooks. Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds and must be audited by an independent auditing firm.
How would the bond proposal impact my property taxes? Is the bond millage rate expected to be the same for the next 30 years?
If approved by voters, the millage rate is estimated to remain the same with no tax rate increase over the current rate, which has remained at 5.65 mills since 2016. It would extend the current millage rate of 5.65 mills further into the future until 2028 when it is estimated to decline due to growth in property valuations.
How much money would the bond proposal generate?
The proposal would generate $24.9 million, which would be spent over three to four years.
Are businesses and second homes (non-homestead) and primary homes (homestead) treated the same regarding bond millage?
Yes, businesses and second homes (non-homestead) and primary homes (homestead) are treated the same regarding bond millage.
Would money from the bond proposal be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits?
No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries, routine maintenance, or operating costs. Bond revenue must be kept separate from operating funds and expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.
How would I know the bond funds would be spent the way they are supposed to be spent?
The Revised School Code required an independent audit of every bond construction fund. The objective of the audit is to determine if the bond proceeds have been expended in accordance with the stated purposes for which the bonds were authorized.
The audit must be performed by an independent CPA, licensed with the Michigan State Board of Accountancy, and comply with generally accepted auditing standards as adopted by the American Institute of CPAs. A bond construction fund audit report is required after construction is completed as determined by a Certificate of Substantial Completion. This report is for the entire construction period, from the sale of the bond issue or the beginning of the project (whichever is earlier) through completion, and must include all activity in the fund for that period.
What oversights would hold the district accountable during the construction of the projects?
If approved by voters, the district’s Architect/Engineer would design the proposed projects and prepare construction documents and specifications for the projects. Once the projects are designed, the district’s Construction Manager will assemble bid packages and publicly advertise to solicit competitive bids for all work. This is required by law, as outlined in the Revised School Code. This process ensures that the district selects the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. All qualified contractors will have an opportunity to attend a pre-bid meeting to obtain additional information and project clarification. All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to participate in the competitive bid process.
How do I register to vote?
Visit Michigan.gov/vote to register to vote online. It is recommended by the Secretary of State to register by mail on or prior to April 18, 2022 to participate in the May 3, 2022 election. Individuals may also register in-person at their local clerk’s office through May 3, 2022, with the required documentation. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote.
Are owners of property in the school district eligible to vote if they do not reside in the school district?
Owners of property are only eligible to vote if they reside in the school district boundaries. To be eligible to register to vote you must be:
If I rent a house, can I vote?
Yes, if you rent a house you can still vote. You must be a registered voter in the city or township you are living in and live within the district boundaries.
How is an absentee voter ballot obtained?
Registered voters must complete and submit the application to receive their absentee voter ballot. To vote by mail, fill out the application and sign it, and then return it to your local clerk. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote. When filling out the application, if you check the box to be added to the permanent absentee voter list, you will get an application mailed to you before every election.
If you registered to vote after absentee voter ballot applications were mailed, applications may be obtained online at Michigan.gov/vote. Absentee voter ballots are available by March 19 through May 3, 2022.
What are the key dates leading up to the Tuesday, May 3, 2022 election day?
Registering to vote:
Where and when will the vote occur?
Tuesday, May 3, 2022 is election day, but absentee voting can occur leading up to that date. All registered voters may cast an absentee voter ballot by mail. Voters may also cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township. If you have questions or do not know where you vote, please contact your city/township office. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
What is the ballot language?
Shall Wyoming Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Twenty-Four Million Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars ($24,900,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, for the purpose of:
The following is for informational purposes only:
The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2023, is 0.94 ($0.94 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a 0 mill net increase over the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-five (25) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 1.28 mills ($1.28 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).
(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)
Didn’t the 2017 bond proposal include funding for Wyoming Junior High School?
There were funds set aside for Wyoming Junior High School in the 2017 proposal. These new funds would be used in addition to the funds set aside for the building in the 2017 proposal. In 2017 the district proposed a total amount that would not result in a tax rate increase at that time, as opposed to the total amount required to complete all of the work needed across the district. The current proposal is for the amount needed to “finish the job,” and because of property market changes since 2017, this proposal, if approved, will also result in no increase in the tax rate, just like the 2017 proposal.
If you have questions, contact Matt Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Administrative Services at 616-531-8944 or email@example.com.