Ingham proposal: Tax levy for juvenile detention plan
By Daniel Sturm
Ingham County voters will cast ballots on a 0.6-million dollar tax levy
that, if passed, would fund juvenile detention efforts. The proposal
is set to raise property taxes for the next five years and would finance
48 additional low-security beds for juveniles sentenced by the Family
Court of Justice. Ingham Countys high-security facility has 24
beds and is reported chronically overcrowded.
JUVENILE MILLAGE AUTHORIZATION QUESTION
For the purpose of funding an increase to Ingham Countys capacity
to detain and house juveniles who are delinquent or disturbed, and
to operate new and existing programs for the treatment of such juveniles,
shall the constitutional limitation upon the total amount of taxes
which may be assessed in one (1) year upon all property within the
County of Ingham, Michigan, be increased by 60/100 (.60) of one
mill, $.60 per thousand dollars of state taxable valuation, for
a period of five years (2002- 2006) inclusive. If approved and levied
in full, this millage will raise an estimated $3,720,396 for juvenile
housing and programs during the first calendar year of the levy
based on taxable value.
Ingham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Grebner says
that the tax would also be used to create additional county foster care
housing. Anna Macielinski, Manager of the Children Services Division
in the Family Independence Agency (FIA), stated that increased costs
were due primarily to a dramatic influx of children entering family
foster care. Projects such as Angel House, a 12-bed shelter and assessment
center for abused children, would benefit from the proposed juvenile
millage. Angel House will cost up to $500,000 per year, and will serve
between 500 and 1,000 children each year once doors for the new facility
open in the spring of 2003.
Critics of programs such as Angel House say that children will be removed
from their current homes and placed in the FIA system for irrational
reasons. They argue that only extreme cases should be referred to the
If approved and levied in full, the new property tax will raise an estimated
$3,720,396 for juvenile housing and program in its first year. County
commissioners have said they will offset part of the new millage with
a 0.1-mill reduction from the general fund. That would mean an actual
property tax increase of 0.5 mills, or about $25 on a $100,000 home
with a taxable value of $50,000.
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