Leelanau County Early Childcare Millage Could End in 2022

Voters in Leelanau County passed an early childhood millage in 2019, expecting it would be funded for five years.

Some members of the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners want the millage to be set at zero, effectively canceling what voters approved.

The millage funds the health department’s parenting communities incentive program.

“We do home visits, playgroups and developmental assessments,” says Michelle Klein, Director of Personal Health at the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. “It might be a new mom struggling with breastfeeding and needs a visit with a lactation consultant or other families may have challenges with mental illness and substance abuse or children with challenging behaviors.”

The program is targeted at kids six and younger, but Klein says it makes life-long impacts.

“It makes kids ready to enter kindergarten, making them more successful in general,” said Klein. “Kids are also more likely to be economically efficient as adults down the road.”

9&10 News reached out to all of Leelanau County’s commissioners, but only heard back from one against the millage being set to zero.

“I care about families, and I care about the people in the county,” said Gewenne Allgaier, Leelanau County Commissioner. “I want our children to grow and have everything they need to be productive adults.”

On Monday, the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners will meet to discuss the millage further. On Tuesday, they’re expected to vote on it.