Proposal to renew millage funding Lake Michigan College on the ballot

NOW: Proposal to renew millage funding Lake Michigan College on the ballot

BERRIEN COUNTY, Ind. -- On Tuesday voters in Southwest Michigan will make their vote on the millage that plays a hefty role in funding Lake Michigan College. 

Since 1963, Lake Michigan College has relied on this millage to help fund higher education and training in the community.  

With 70% of Michigan jobs requiring some training after high school, leaders at LMC say renewing the millage is essential.  

“You can imagine if you didn’t have 25% of your budget, it would be a major problem,” says Al Pscholka, Executive Director of Government and Community Relations at Lake Michigan College. 

It’s a proposal to renew the millage, or tax rate, that provides 25% of the operating budget at Lake Michigan college.  

“This is not a tax increase,” Pscholka assures. “This is a millage renewal, and it’s a chance to freeze this particular millage rate until 2043.”  

If renewed, the millage would freeze at .8804, meaning no new cost to taxpayers and generating nearly $9.5 million in 2024.  

The proposal hasn’t been on the ballot in 20 years, and the proposal would freeze the current tax rate for another 20 years. 

If the millage doesn’t get renewed, college leaders say LMC would have to increase tuition, decrease services for students, and eliminate some community programs.  

“With the prices of everything going up, this is a great value,” says Pscholka. 

With three campuses covering southwest Michigan, a study from research firm Lightcast estimates LMC’s socioeconomic impact to the community at $426 million a year.  

Whether or not it leads to a renewal, some voters see the value!  

“I think education is important and I think LMC is a great asset to the community,” says Annette King, a Niles voter. 

“We are the source for training and retraining, and if we’re going to build our workforce locally, Lake Michigan College is key to that,” Pscholka says. 

The proposal will be on Tuesday’s ballot in all of Berrien County and parts of Van Buren County for the Michigan Primary elections.  

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