Missaukee County Headlee Override Loses in Landslide on Election Day

Voters in Missaukee County turned out to defeat a millage renewal.

County officials say it would have helped balance a struggling budget.

Fox 32’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jacob Johnson have more details on how the Headlee Override’s failure to pass could hurt the county.

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Voter turnout in Missaukee County nearly broke a record.

But a millage proposed by county commissioners to get rid of an $80,000 budget shortfall lost by a landslide.

"It was clear that the voters wanted their voice heard on that," says Jessica Nielsen, Missaukee County Clerk and Register of Deeds.

Nearly 5,000 "no" votes, shut down Missaukee County’s Headlee Restoration Override for the first time in more than 10 years.

"The Headlee Override was to bring the county’s tax millage back up to the 5% millage that it originally started at in 2004," says Lori Cox, Missaukee County Treasurer. "It wasn’t a tremendous amount but I guess it was just was determined that people didn’t want any more taxes and they voted it down."

Missaukee County Administrator Precia Garland says the Headlee would have raised the county’s operating millage…from 4.9 to 5 mils.

"If you own a house that has a $100,000 true cash value, that means its taxable value is $50,000," Garland says. "This would have been a $5 per year additional tax to you."

Without it, she says the budget shortfall won’t get any extra help.

That could affect county jobs and services.

"We did include revenue from the headlee override, should it have passed, so, therefore, we now know that there is $58,000 that we won’t be receiving in revenue," Garland says.

The board hasn’t come up with a solution.

But without one, Garland says cuts could happen.

"Unfortunately, if we’re going to be making further cuts in this fiscal year, it would probably be related to staffing, either in the way of perhaps furlough days or looking at specific positions," Garland says.

The county administrator says the commission could use funds from the county’s fund balance.

But that money will run out if they do.